Your cold weather guide to keeping spirits up

It may be grey, damp and cold, but there are still reasons to be cheerful. ‘Tis the season for buying beautiful winter woollies and treating yourself to a next-level manicure or hot chocolate. For indulging in warming, rejuvenating spa treatments and curling up with a book. All that and more await in Melbourne this winter.

Discover the Royal Botanic Gardens’ new Wellbeing Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens’ natural sights, sounds and scents have long made it one of the city’s best places for instant renewal. Now more than ever, as three special, meditative spaces have recently been unveiled in the fern gully. These Wellness Gardens tap into the concept of forest bathing, or forest therapy – immersing yourself in nature for physical and mental health. Two-hour guided experiences are offered at 10am Sunday 2, 16 and 30 June, 14 and 28 July, and 11 and 25 August. $30, bookings essential.

Discover more secret quiet places in the city.

A human sized metal bird's nest seat with a person sitting in it, set amongst a leafy green garden

The ‘Birdnest’ in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Stretch out at Estuary Yoga

Take a deep breath and get your mind, body and spirit back in balance at Estuary Yoga. Start or end the day with a session that meets your needs and goals, like Vinyasa flow or Yin yoga plus meditation.

Try Miss Fox Melbourne’s ritual bath

Beauty salon, day spa and holistic health and wellbeing clinic in one, Miss Fox Melbourne has everything you need to feel better. Upscale any in-room spa treatment at this luxurious self-care sanctuary with a ritual bath – for one or two people. Options include the organic bubble bath and mineral detox bath. Bliss!

Pause for a cup of tea

A nice cup of tea doesn’t just warm you up – it’s good for your health and mood too. Enjoy a whole pot, ideally accompanied by a few scrumptious bites, at Oriental Tea House. Shanghai-born Melbourne tea expert David Zhou oversees the selection, which includes Silver Needles white tea, Jasmine Green and house-blended Happy Tea.

You might need a cup of tea and a lie down after pondering your purchases at Lupicia Fresh Tea. This shop offers more than 200 varieties of high quality tea, as well as an extensive range of tea-making accessories.

An aerial shot of two clear tea pots filled with tea

Tea time at Oriental Teahouse

Explore The Paperback Bookshop’s shelves

This little independent bookshop on Bourke Street is an icon of our UNESCO City of Literature. Escape the cold and while away some time browsing the shelves for that perfect book to curl up with at home. The Paperback Bookshop is open late so you can pop in after a comforting meal at nearby Grossi Florentino or Ombra. Then maybe get started on that book over coffee at Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar or a cocktail at Romeo Lane.

Discover more bookshops with our book lover’s guide to Melbourne.

A brightly lit shop window displaying shelves of books

The Paperback Bookshop

Be pampered at a day spa

Get a facial to rejuvenate skin battered by icy winds and drying heaters. Get a massage that makes you feel warm and relaxed all over. Basically, get yourself to one of Melbourne’s many day spas.

Can’t decide which one? Consider Chuan Spa At The Langham. Book a treatment and you also get a complimentary tri-bathing ritual in the hotel’s bathing facilities. It starts in a saltwater jacuzzi with Flinders Street Station views. Or try Park Hyatt Melbourne’s spa high tea. Begin with a relaxation massage in the day spa, then segue to the hotel’s tea lounge for delicious indulgence including French Champagne.

Treat yourself to a manicure at Q & H Nails

Beautiful, colourful nails can brighten up your day, so why not try a next-level manicure at Q & H Nails? They use organic gel – a completely different and we’d say better experience than manicures with regular gel or shellac. For starters it dries instantly, and is kinder to nails. While you’re there, you may as well get a pedicure too!

Indulge in Hash’s mile-high fairyfloss hot chocolate

They may be primarily about giving java junkies a quality fix, but Hash Specialty Coffee And Roasters also have amazing hot chocolate. Take some photos before pouring the science lab beaker of 85% Mörk hot chocolate into the cup of milk-flavoured fairy floss. The #HashHotChocolate is Instagram gold, and a real cold-weather pleasure.

A woman pours a container of chocolate ganache over a mountain of fairy floss

Hash

Get cosy at Willows & Wine

This cute North Melbourne bar is your home away from home, with pre-loved books, board games, wine and snacks including cheese boards. You can really settle in at Willows & Wine by ordering a full-on meal in from elsewhere (yes, they’re cool with that!). Eventually you’ll have to go home, so the good news is you can buy that book you’re only part way through.

Buy beautiful winter woollies at Clementine’s

Gorgeous Degraves Street gift shop Clementine’s has a passion for things created in Victoria, including uimi’s made-in-Melbourne woollen delights. Step out in their stylish merino jumpers, cardies, ponchos, beanies and scarves. Then snuggle up at home with their woollen blankets and cushion covers. They make the cutest kids clothes too.

Brightly coloured scarves and gloves on display in a shop

Winter woollies at Clementine’s