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The Best Things To Do In Melbourne This Weekend

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    Weekends are precious. You want to make the most of those glorious days devoid of responsibility and overflowing with possibility. Luckily, Melbourne's got plenty happening to make sure you don't spend the days indoors binge-watching Netflix and instead discovering new bars, absorbing art and feasting your way through food markets. Here are our picks of the weekend's happenings.

    yarra river ask melbourne

    Wandering Stars

    A 200 meter-long illuminated eel will make its home in the Yarra, paying homage to First Peoples' connection to the natural world.

    The debut program for Rising is set to light up and transform precincts all across Melbourne including the winding inner-city stretch of the Yarra

    From May 26–June 6, the river — also known by its traditional name, Birrarung — will play host to a 200-meter-long glowing eel skeleton, undulating atop the water. Unlike some of the more questionable things to be found between the riverbanks, this large-scale creature is a beauty, created by renowned public art crew The Lantern Company. 

    Titled Wandering Stars, the piece reflects on First People's connection to the river and nature, crafted from hundreds of community-made floating lanterns and shimmering glass eels, and emitting a mysterious soundscape as it moves.

    Your best views of the artwork will be on the water's edge at Birrarung Marr, where you'll also find yourself in a pretty good culinary company. To complement Wandering Stars' visual delights, expect riverside pop-up kitchens from Meatsmith (Andrew McConnell and Troy Wheeler's celebrated specialty butcher), delivering a soul-warming, charcoal-fuelled winter menu.

    Cozy up to the likes of slow-cooked beef short rib, fennel-glazed fried chicken sandwiches, and fancy hot chocolates with house-made clove and orange marshmallows.

    Federation Square Melbourne

    Golden Square

    In the heart of Chinatown, Rising’s multi-story pop-up art carpark is set to showcase some big, bold and wildly creative ideas.

    When the arts and culture festival Rising debuts this month, it'll see Chinatown come alive with an eclectic program of giant projections, colorful parades and other immersive artistic delights. And at the precinct's core is the elaborate Golden Square pop-up, transforming Lonsdale Street's multi-level carpark into a multi-faceted homage to creativity and big ideas.

    For the festival's duration (May 26–June 6) the building's normally stark concrete stories will be reimagined as a dynamic art gallery space, showcasing newly commissioned works by legendary Aussie artists including Reko Rennie, Lucy Bleach, Patty Chang and Parallel Park.

    Expect everything from performance art to sculptural pieces, speaking to the theme of 'inland tides' — including Rennie's large-scale, three-channel video work, which shows him cruising inner-city streets in a painted Holden Monaro, backed by an operatic score by Deborah Cheetham AO.

    On the rooftop, you'll feast your eyes on towering projections, giant murals splashed across the ground and ice sculptures crafted from frozen lake water — also from some of Australia's most celebrated contemporary artists. And while the creative juices are flowing, the drinks will be too, with top-notch libations on offer from Fancy-Free’s esteemed pop-up bar.

    Golden Square is designed to be enjoyed starting from the rooftop and spiraling your way down. It'll be open nightly from 6 pm–12 am.

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    The Australian Ballet

    Adult Ballet Classes

    Led by current and former dancers of The Australian Ballet, these after-work classes are available for all skill levels.

    Exercising in winter is a struggle — even for the most actively inclined among us. If the mere thought of shivering through your usual gym routine is making you want to crawl back into bed, we've got the perfect solution for your pain.

    Australia's leading dance company, The Australian Ballet, has announced the second series of adult ballet classes kicking off from Monday, May 17. Running until the tail-end of June, everyone from beginner to advanced dancers are invited to pirouette into the state-of-the-art Primrose Potter Ballet Centre in Southbank.

    Classes run for 75 minutes and are led by current and former dancers of The Australian Ballet — Franco Leo and Jasmin Dwyer. Those with extra left feet, or very little prior ballet experience, are encouraged to join beginner classes which allow dancers to progress while building on posture, coordination and strength.

    Intermediate classes are a space to work on technique, while advanced classes focus on incorporating musicality and developing lyricism into your ballet.

    All classes are soundtracked by live piano, so you'll feel every bit of the ballerina in the studio. Tickets are available as a package ($160 for the full series), but you can also dip your toes into the world of ballet with a casual pass.

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    sovereign hill winter google search google chr

    Sovereign Hill

    Sovereign Hill is open every day except Christmas Day.

    Sovereign Hill brings to life the excitement of Australia’s great 1850s gold rush. Named Australia’s best ‘Major Tourist Attraction’ four times, Sovereign Hill provides a uniquely Australian experience and a full day of entertainment.

    Adult tickets are $39, children's tickets at $20 and a family of four, five or six at $99. Bookings must be made online.

    Many loved activities such as the troopers and red coats, panning for gold in the diggings, and coach rides are available along with new, hand-on experiences like sweet-making.

    Please contact Sovereign Hill or view the website for further information. For group, tour or trade inquiries contact via email.

    Opening hours:

    Daily: 10:00am - 5:00pm

    25 Dec 2021



    • Actively welcomes people with access needs 
    • Suitable for guests who have challenges with learning, communication, understanding and behavior 
    • Suitable for guests with a hearing impairment, from mild hearing loss to profoundly deaf 
    • Suitable for guests with sufficient mobility to climb two or three steps, but would benefit from fixtures and fittings to aid balance 
    • Suitable for guests who depend on the use of a wheelchair in a seated position at all times 
    • Suitable for guests with allergies and intolerances


    • Bar 
    • Café 
    • Car park 
    • Coach parking 
    • Conference/convention facilities 
    • Kiosk 
    • Nonsmoking establishment 
    • Picnic area 
    • Public toilet 
    • Restaurant - licensed


    • COVID Ready by ATEC
    • Quality Tourism Accredited Business


    • Museums Australia 
    • Australian Tourism Export Council 
    • Meetings and Events Australia 
    • Regional Tourist/Tourism Association/Organisation 
    • Victoria Tourism Industry Council

    Melbourne Park

    Brambuk: The National Park and Cultural Centre

    The Brambuk precinct will be closed for a short period from 1 July while maintenance works are undertaken. During this time, Parks Victoria will be delivering essential park information and support services for visitors and licensed tour operators by phone, email and online, including campground bookings and trip intention processes. Contact Parks Victoria for more information.

    Brambuk - The National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap began with the building of the Brambuk Cultural Centre in 1989 to acknowledge, protect and share the cultures of the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung Peoples.

    The award-winning Cultural Centre was designed collaboratively with the Traditional Owners of Gariwerd by renowned architect, Greg Burgess, to celebrate a connection to the Country.

    In 2006, the park visitor information building was added, which now houses the Grampians park information counter, a café and a gift shop. It is a one-stop shop for park information and a must-see for people visiting the Grampians.

    Brambuk is wheelchair accessible with disabled toilets - Trailrider all-terrain wheelchair and Sherpa Volunteers are now available for park visitors.


    • Actively welcomes people with access needs 
    • Suitable for guests who have challenges with learning, communication, understanding and behavior 
    • Suitable for guests with sufficient mobility to climb two or three steps, but would benefit from fixtures and fittings to aid balance 
    • Suitable for guests who depend on the use of a wheelchair in a seated position at all times


    • Car park 
    • Public toilet


    • Birdwatching 
    • Camping 
    • Self-guided 
    • Hiking/trekking

    mt hotham

    The Winter Village 

    Go ice skating, hang out in an igloo, enjoy a snow shower and dip marshmallows in espresso martini-flavored chocolate fudge sauce.

    Across 2021's cooler months, locations around Australia will transform into winter wonderlands, celebrating the chilly season in all of its frosty glory. From May through until September, The Winter Village is returning after its debut run in Melbourne two years back — with the city's return stop taking place at Skyline Terrace at Federation Square (aka the top of the carpark) from Thursday, May 13–Sunday, August 29.

    Modeled on your typically picturesque European winter market — and giving Aussies a taste of a winter experience that we don't have otherwise — The Winter Village comes complete with an ice rink, an igloo village, daily snow showers, and a food and drink lineup. Think of it as your quaint wintery escape in the very heart of Melbourne.

    Attendees will be able to dust off their skates and hit the ice and hire a private igloo where you can wine and dine in cozy solace — either with up to five people in a smaller space or in a six-meter-wide igloo that can cater for 14.

    Folks spending their time in The Winter Village's igloos will feast on grazing plates of chips, dips, mini-pretzels, cured meats, fried chicken bites, mac 'n' cheese croquettes and more, drink their choice of wine or beer, and tuck into a chocolate ice cream sandwich for dessert.

    That's the $49 package, with the $69 option including espresso martini-flavored chocolate fudge dipping sauce, berries, brownies, marshmallows, cookies and your choice of an Aperol spritz, espresso martini, wine or beer.

    Or, get festive over brunch instead — which includes a 45-minute skate session and a meal afterward for $35. There'll also be pop-up bars and outdoor seating throughout the village, should you be keen on heading along without spending time in an igloo.

    The latest venture from hospitality group Australian Venue Co, the frozen oasis will be open daily and free to enter — from 11 am–10 pm Monday–Thursday, 11am–12am Friday, 10am–12am Saturday and 10am–10pm Sunday. That said, ice skating, igloo hire and a couple of winter warming beverages will come at a cost.

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    Melbourne Restaurant

    Nasi Lemak Burgers

    This Malaysian-style burger is packed with fried chicken, peanuts, sambal and an egg.

    Two years ago, Pappa Rich gave tastebuds across Australia the culinary hybrid they didn't know they were craving: a nasi lemak burger. They were originally sneakily trialed in Sydney stores in 2018, then rolled out for a limited time in 2019. Now, they're back.

    The burger takes the typical accompaniments in this Malaysian rice dish and sandwiches them all between two toasted burger buns. There are layers of crispy Malay fried chicken, spicy sambal, peanuts and anchovies, all topped with cucumber, lettuce and a fried egg. As a side? Expect Pappa Rich's deep-fried chicken skin, of course. You can also opt for chips if you prefer.

    The Malaysian hawker chain is returning the nasi lemak burger to its menu — at all of its 31 stores countrywide, but only until Sunday, May 30. If you're instantly hungry, you'll want to pop into one of Pappa Rich's outlets, which includes Chadstone, Southern Cross and QV in Melbourne.

    Melbourne Park

    The Wilds

    See Sidney Myer Music Bowl reimagined as a supernatural winter forest, complete with huge sculptures, mirrored illusions and an ice-skating rink.

    It has played host to a staggering array of gigs and been the backdrop for countless different live music memories, but we reckon you've never seen the Sidney Myer Music Bowl quite like this.

    From May 26 to June 6, the inaugural Rising festival will see the iconic precinct transformed into a multi-sensory supernatural forest, inviting punters to immerse themselves in a captivating fusion of ice, art, sound and light.

    Held nightly throughout the festival's duration, The Wilds is set to deliver an interactive feast for all the senses.

     Traipse through its bamboo forest, marvel at large-scale sculptures and video works, and trip yourself out through mazes of mirrored illusions. In a nod to winter's past, the stage itself will once again become a working ice-skating rink (yes, that was a thing), where visitors can glide around beneath the giant glowing orb that is Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon installation.

    And when the appetite's piqued, you'll find both a fine dining offering in the atrium and a menu of snacks to enjoy fireside, under the stars. 

    A pop-up restaurant and once-off culinary collaborations will also be set against The Wilds.

    Yep, it's quite the lineup — organizers are recommending you set aside at least 90 minutes to properly experience the whole thing. General entry to The Wilds will set you back $15, or you can grab a $35 ticket to include a session on the ice at Rinky Dink.

    Heide Museum of Modern Art Melbourne

    Flow State

    Get nude for this moonlit sonic bathing experience, on an island in the middle of the Yarra

    If you think you've experienced immersive art before, perhaps think again. One of the multi-sensory works set to grace the program of Melbourne's inaugural Rising festival invites audiences to (literally) submerge themselves deeper than ever before.

    The brainchild of sound artists Sara Retallick and Amanda Roff, Flow State takes the form of a sonic bathing experience, set beneath the stars against the tranquil backdrop of Herring Island — that wedge of land in the middle of the Yarra near Como Park.

    As a guest, you'll be boated to the island, where you'll slip into a private heated tub for your sonic bath, letting the curation of soundwaves and vibrations transcend your body and mind. Because of this conduction process, the work's designed to be enjoyed nude, though you'll have the option of keeping those togs on if you're a little freaked at the thought of stripping down fully.

    Of the unique project's conception, Retallick explains: "I came to this idea of making a bathtub where a solo audience member could take part in a constructed listening experience outdoors while submerged in water and sound." She and Roff then spent a lot of time visiting Herring Island and researching its troubled colonial history, to inform their artwork's deep connection to place.

    Only a handful of lucky people will be able to partake in Flow State, with two-hour bathing sessions running throughout each night from May 26–30 and again from June 2–6. This select audience will be chosen via a raffle, which is being drawn on Monday, May 17.

    Here are some popular parks open in Melbourne today:
    • Catani Gardens.
    • Flagstaff Gardens.
    • Carlton Gardens.
    • Docklands Park.
    • Fitzroy Gardens.
    • Kings Domain.
    • Queen Victoria Gardens.
    • Treasury Gardens.
    The best times to visit Melbourne are between March and May and September and November. These shoulder seasons feature moderate temperatures and tourist crowds, plus lower airfare rates.
    Get moving, meditate, have some fun. And, above all, enjoy precious moments with the people you care about most. Finally, once this lockdown is over, we mustn't go back to our old, bad habits. We can live and consume differently.
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