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Free things to do (online) in Melbourne right now

Hanging out at home? Here’s how to stay connected to Melbourne from the couch, free of charge.

Learn something new the Melbourne Knowledge Week online

Skill up in recycling Reducing Household Waste, get creative with leftovers and make your fresh produce last longer with Zero-Waste cooking, or rediscover the joy of the simple bread with Damper Making with Native Ingredients. Gamers can get some top tier recommendations from the pros in Rituals of Play in a Global Pandemic. Got a startup? Connect with the community for tips and tricks at the Startup Summit. Be it a big creative project, or just clearing your inbox learn how to supercharge your morning routine with Momentum Mornings.

Laptop with Zoom meeting and coffee mug

Supercharge your morning routine with Momentum Mornings workshop for Melbourne Knowledge Week.

Puppy Carer information sessions

In need of some extra company? Vision Australia is looking for loving carers for their adorable seeing eye dogs in training. And you can now join their free, monthly information sessions online! Your new best mate could be just around the (digital) corner.

A cute, fluffy puppy running down the street.

If you need a little extra company right now, maybe it’s time to become a puppy carer. Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash.

At Home with Australian Ballet TV

Tune in for fabulous full-length performances with the Australian Ballet’s free cinema-quality digital season to escape your lounge room to fairy tale forests and castles.

Live fish TV at Sea Life Aquarium

Watch the gentoo and king penguins play in their icy home and tune in for feeding time. Download penguin activities to keep the kids entertained. Live stream clam as the mesmerizing jellyfish pulse through the Ocean Invaders exhibit. Or sign up for the virtual VIP tour under the sea. Check in for future live streaming to catch shark feeding time, tropical fish or turtle cam.

Jellyfish floating

Meditate with the mesmerizing jellyfish at Sea Life Aquarium

Get into a good book

Need a recommendation? Mary Martin Books have hand picked write ups from their qualified bookworm staff. Whether you’re after a new release, a classic or a kids read, check out the books we love section.

Find some more page-turners with our guide to independent bookstores offering online delivery.

Live stream the Zoo’s cutest residents

Penguins, giraffes, baby snow leopards. No matter where you are right now, you can get constant cuteness from Melbourne Zoo’s Animal House. Work-from-home hack: switch on the TV, play the stream in the background and you’ve got yourself a whole new cast of colleagues.

A night the opera

Tune in every Wednesday night for never-before-seen Virtual Victorian Opera from the archives. Plus premiere performances and interviews from artists in isolation.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra free concerts

Bach at home for a while? The MSO invites music lovers to keep the music going with concerts on their YouTube channel. They’re also hosting an online 6-hour marathon on Monday 8 June. No crowds, plenty of chords. Keep an eye on the MSO’s website and YouTube channel for more concert updates.

Follow the Royal Botanic Gardens from home

The Royal Botanic Gardens are currently closed to the public, but their gorgeous greenery can still be enjoyed online. Explore the virtual garden when you need a bit of peace in these often turbulent times. The team will be sharing wellness tips, pics of their endless living collection, updates from staff working on site and more. We can feel the serenity already.

Ariel image of the Royal Botanic Gardens

Guilfoyle’s Volcano in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Get geeky with Games Laboratory

If you’re not quite ready to lower yourself to Tik Tok for entertainment, dip your toe in the waters of Youth Culture and try out Twitch. Games Laboratory usually hosts IRL gaming events (think Magic the Gathering and D&D), but for now the team is entertaining fans online. Stream away your lunch hour with Games Lab on Twitch: play chess, paint mini figurines and more. Who knows, you might come out on the other side of isolation with a niche new hobby.

Virtually redecorate with Flinders Lane Gallery

Sick of your walls? Virtually revamp with Flinders Lane Gallery. Just snap a pic of your wall in need and email art@flg.com.au. Choose a piece to try, or leave it to the experts. Don’t forget the wall measurements and any styles, colours or influences. Then sit back and wait for pics of your art-filled dream home to hit your inbox.

Craft Sustainable Zines

Bust out the textas for an online zine demo with artist Ashley Ronning. Use sustainable materials to make an eight-page zine. Dive into a range of materials to create your own unique mini mag. Great for all ages, especially young adults.

Tour The Johnston Collection at home

Take a virtual wander through the decadent interiors of The Johnston Collection’s historic East Melbourne townhouse, Fairhall. See the treasure trove of English Georgian, Regency, and Louis XV fine and decorative arts up close. Need a unique gift? Shop perfect prints, soaps, books and botanicals.

Melbourne Museum at home

If the kids are going around the bend, go behind the scenes at one of Melbourne’s most important cultural institutions. Explore a growing list of virtual tours, from Phar Lap to forest secrets. Get nostalgic about the city with the Marvellous Melbourne exhibition. Or challenge your mates to find the weirdest thing in the museum’s item collection. Our pick is this fancy crepe toilet paper from the 1940s. See other treats from the Museum at Home collection.

Three rolls of retro toilet paper on a white background

Times are tough, but we still wouldn’t use this ancient TP. Pic thanks to the Museums Victoria Collections.

Visit the NGV – for free!

From Hokusai’s great wave to herbarium couture by Christian Dior, most of the NGV International collection has been digitized for your online viewing pleasure. Search easily to see works by your favourite artists and creators, or just click around and discover something new. Like William Wegman’s curious canine pics – you’re welcome.

If your little mates have earnt some online time, take them to the NGV. There’s interactive activities, a stop motion animation iPad app and a series of online drawing classes. Older kids can access Top Arts resources, including an online tour guided by David Menzies, or see how science and art collide with the Digital Creatives series. Teachers and school staff, listen up: you can book a virtual NGV excursion online.

A dog in a blonde wig. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1992 © William Wegman This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of the Bowness Family Foundation

Louis, by William Wegman. Accessed through the National Gallery of Victoria online collection.

Browse online Objects of Love

Take a virtual tour of Craft Victoria’s Objects of Love exhibition. From a ceremonial Thai wedding conch shell to jewellery carved from date stones to an 89 metre long crystallised strand of hair. Explore artworks that symbolise and reflect love across cultures, the way we exchange it and of love and the strength and fragility of our bonds.

Please note that due to current circumstances, businesses may close or alter their offerings at short notice. Check with individual stores for more information.