The smell of spring might be in the air but there’s still time to experience the best of winter. Don’t miss out on these season highlights – they won’t be round much longer.
Winter Night Market
Live entertainment, open fires, mulled wine, Mörk hot chocolate and street food vendors as far as the eye can see. Plus 50 stalls selling lovely things to brighten your winter, including handmade candles and jewellery. Don’t miss the last few weeks of the Winter Night Market, every Wednesday until 28 August.
Melbourne International Film Festival
Get ready to hide away in darkened cinemas for days on end at the Melbourne International Film Festival. See a film or three amid The Capitol’s newly refurbished art deco glory. Hear The Film Music of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at Hamer Hall. Settle into the State Library for the Wootton Talks Musical Movie Legends sessions, from Babs to Bowie. On until 18 August.
White Night Reimagined
Put White Night Reimagined in your diary and start counting down the days. Held for first time in winter and over three consecutive nights, three of Melbourne’s iconic precincts – Carlton Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Birrarung Marr – will undergo stunning transformations, as artists from across the city and around the globe create journeys mythological, mysterious and mesmerising. Melbourne’s iconic cultural institutions, including National Gallery of Victoria and Arts Centre Melbourne, will again come alive after dark, while enticing food and music offerings, showcasing local produce and talent, will also feature. 22 – 24 August.
There are a few problems with traditional igloos like they’re really far away, they’re really cold and they aren’t great for views. The Wharf Hotel’s Igloo Wonderland, however, offers cosy, transparent igloos with views of the Yarra. This year the igloos come in two sizes. Book a little one for up to eight people, or a big one for communal dining and private functions. Then snuggle up with warming food like pork belly in chilli caramel sauce and drink options including a thermos of warm cider. Good times await until 31 August.
Sip spiked Milo and more at Melbourne’s beautiful bars
Some of the most picturesque bars around town are pairing their perfect views with warming winter drinks. There’s rum and maple syrup spiked Milo at Riverland Bar, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows for good measure. Boatbuilders Yard is bringing all the Berties cider fans to the yard with a fruity apple, ginger and rhubarb concoction. Or grab a trio of mates to try spiked coffee, mulled cider and apple crumble cocktails at Pilgrim.
Boho Luxe Market and Glamping Festival
Byron Bay’s hippy-chic brand of sunshine is coming to Melbourne at the end of winter, just when we’ll need it most. The Boho Luxe Market and Glamping Festival will fill the Royal Exhibition building with glamping tents and Kombi vans, music and market stalls. Browse the fashion and jewellery, enjoy vegan, ethically sourced food and drinks, and get into the free workshops and yoga. 30 August-1 September.
Sticking around a little longer…
These hot spots might still be around after the cool weather disappears, but some things are just done better in winter.
The Winter Village at Fed Square
Embrace the season’s good times, from ice-skating to hot chocolate and caramel apple hot toddies. All this and more await at The Winter Village at Fed Square, a winter-long hot spot filled with see-through igloos. Gather in the big dining hall igloo, or book a private one and snuggle up with cold-weather treats. Until 29 September.
Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang
This is always an exciting time for art lovers, as NGV International unveils its annual Winter Masterpieces exhibition. This year it’s the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang, which brings eight of Emperor Qin’s life-size soldiers to Melbourne. There are also scores of other ancient Chinese treasures, plus new works by contemporary Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. See if you can count the 10,000 suspended porcelain birds in his monumental installation. Until 13 October.
High Cheese at the Westin
Trade scones and jam for cognac and camembert at this very cheesy high tea affair, returning to the Westin after a sell-out season last year. Refine your cheese-eating abilities with gooey baked Normandy Camembert, before ending on a sweet note with fresh honeycomb and smoked macadamia crumble. On until 31 December.
Bonus section for art lovers…
- BlakHEART is the perfect lead in to White Night, kicking off at 11am on Saturday 24 August. Celebrate at this nine hour party of First Nations creativity including art, dance music and more.
- Refuge takes over Arts House from 24 August to 7 September, showcasing how we as a community can rally in the face of floods, heat, pandemics and displacement
- Craft Cubed Festival is on until the end of August with free exhibitions, Instagram workshops for small business owners and adorable stop motion
- The one-day Festival of Soil (18 August) is a chance for tweens to discover the planet’s tiniest organisms through art, science and storytelling.