What to do before winter is over

Remember when winter was coming? Well now it’s almost over. So get your skates on and get into these experiences, from warming cocktails to a free botanical walk.

Mont Plonk at Melbourne Public

You don’t need to go to Mount Hotham let alone Europe for Alpine-themed après-ski good times. From fire pits and furry blankets to alcoholic hot chocolate and Bratwurst, Mont Plonk at Melbourne Public ticks all the boxes. Whether you want to do Ski Shots (that’s shots attached to skis!) with your mates or snuggle quietly among the sheepskins, hurry up! This urban ski lodge calls last drinks on 26 August.

Four people in ski hats holding a long thin board, using it as a drinking vessel.

Mont Plonk

Winter Night Market

Free live entertainment and roaming performers. Open fires and pretty party lights. Warm cider, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Oodles of street-food vendors, offering everything from Nepalese curry and paella to Taiwanese pancakes and comforting fruit crumble. Fifty more stalls selling lovely things to brighten your winter, like handmade candles and jewellery. The pleasures of the Winter Night Market await, but only until 29 August.

An outdoor market, people sitting on chairs beneath hanging lights.

The Night Market

The District Docklands’ Winter Experience

A must for kids and the young at heart, The District Docklands’ Winter Experience makes cold weekends fun. Take selfies with the woolly mammoth or gather round the giant snowglobe for a family photo. Make snow angels and snowmen in the real snow zone. Try the Snow Slinger and watch ice carvers in action. Most amazing of all, this winter wonderland is free.

While you’re in the neighbourhood, check out The District Makers Market’s creative, ever-changing stalls. Both events end on 26 August, so get planning.

Arbory Bar and Eatery

One of the best things about winter are those warm, seasonal cocktails that pop up in Melbourne’s finer establishments. Arbory Bar and Eatery has a bunch of them, so choosing your winter pick-me-up can be tough. We love the Peppermint Paddy, a boozy hot-chocolatey combo of peppermint schnapps, yellow Chartreuse, Koko Deluxe chocolate and milk. Then again, we also love the Spiked Chai mix of Johnnie Walker Black, Frangelico, chai powder, cinnamon and milk. Decisions, decisions!

A milky liquor being poured out of a brown bottle into a clear glass.

Arbory Bar

A Night in the Alps

Combining some of the best things in life, licensed fromagerie Milk The Cow is a delicious escape when it’s cold and wet. Especially during their Night in the Alps winter fondue series, which is equal parts cooking class and good times. Actually, between sipping glühwein (that’s German for mulled wine) and dipping into warm, gooey melted Alpine cheeses, good times might win out. Especially when the accordionist gets going! Hurry, because the last one is on 21 August.

Winter Discovery Tour

One of Melbourne’s greatest treasures is all natural and all free, including twice-daily guided walking tours that celebrate the seasons. The Royal Botanic Gardens’ Winter Discovery Tour reveals the native and exotic plants that bring colour and life to this dreary season. With a little luck, your guide will be able to point out some fauna too.

A wide shot showing tall green trees in a grassy garden. A small group of people can be seen in the distance.

Winter discovery tour at Royal Botanic Gardens. Image courtesy of Royal Botanic Gardens.

Bonus! These events end in early spring …

Central Beer District

Like beer? Love craft beer? Then the next few weekends are sorted, at Queen Victoria Market’s Central Beer District pop-up. There’s free entry and live music, but crack open the piggy bank if you want to taste the good things on offer. Seasonal and experimental refreshments by Brick Lane Brewing Co and rotating guest microbreweries, plus beer-friendly street food, await!

Igloo Wonderland

There are a few problems with igloos, like they’re really far away, really cold and aren’t great for views. The Wharf Hotel solves all that, and really ups the food and beverage situation, with cosy, transparent igloos by the Yarra. Their Igloo Wonderland experience is for small groups to snuggle up with platters of finger lickin’ snacks and a bottle or jug.

An outdoor beer garden with two clear imitation igloos. People are inside the igloos.

Igloos at the Wharf Hotel

Fire Garden

The Common Man’s Yarra-side Astroturf lawn has been transformed into the Fire Garden during these colder months. Think fires, blankets, mulled wine and cider, a menu themed around smokers and rotisserie cooking, plus live music to get you moving.

Wonderland

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image jumped down the rabbit hole with Alice for this year’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Wonderland. It reveals the world’s enduring fascination with Lewis Carroll’s tales through a century of cinematic interpretations. It gets curiouser and curiouser with the monthly Wonderland Late Nights.

MoMA at NGV

Fire up your imagination with MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. From Van Gogh to Pollock, Dali to Kahlo, there are 200+ amazing artworks waiting for you. Upsize this cultural experience at NGV Friday Nights.