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.
Jurassic World by Brickman
Lego finds a way — with more than 50 dinosaurs, props and scenes from the movie built out of the popular plastic bricks.
When Michael Crichton put pen to paper and conjured up a modern-day dinosaur-filled amusement park, he couldn’t have known exactly what he’d done. The author easily imagined the story making its way to the big screen, because the Jurassic Park novel started as a screenplay.
He could’ve also perceived that a whole film franchise could follow and that folks would be quoting the movies for decades. And yet, we’re guessing that he didn’t predict the latest development: a recreation of Jurassic World, the fourth movie in the series, out of Lego.
Melburnians can now wander through and peer at more than 50 dinosaurs, props and scenes from the 2015 movie that have all been recreated with the popular plastic bricks. They’re on display at Jurassic World by Brickman, an exhibition displaying at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre until Monday, May 31 before touring the rest of the country.
More than six million Lego blocks have been used in the exhibition, to create the four-meter-tall park gates, the lab where the dinosaurs are genetically engineered, those instantly recognizable jeeps, a petting zoo, a heap of creatures and more.
Lego dinosaurs are the main attraction, and this event is going big. You’ll see a life-sized brachiosaurus that weighs more than two tonnes, a huge tyrannosaurus rex, two life-sized velociraptors (Blue and Delta), and everything from a stegosaurus to a triceratops, too.
And, you’ll spy some in a baby dinosaur enclosure, encounter others on the loose, and learn how to track them over the exhibition’s recreation of Isla Nublar (while using your imagination a whole heap, obviously).
If it all sounds rather sizeable, Jurassic World by Brickman will be the largest Lego experience in Australia. And if getting a closer look at Jurassic World sounds a little familiar, you might remember the non-Lego exhibition that hit Melbourne back in 2016.
Lego aficionados will also be able to get buildings while they’re there, with 2.5 million bricks to play with. Obviously, this’ll be a family-friendly affair, so expect to have plenty of small dinosaur fans for a socially distanced company.
Jurassic World by Brickman makes its world premiere in Melbourne and, after hitting up the rest of Australia, will also tour globally.
And if you’re wondering when you’ll next see a Jurassic World flick on the big screen, Jurassic World: Dominion — the followup to 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — is due to release in June 2022.
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Pinot Palooza Unplugged
Sample the best of Victoria’s top pinot regions at this trio of wine-tasting parties
Much-loved traveling wine festival Pinot Palooza is making its anticipated return this October. But since last year’s postponement left us all waiting an extra-long time between drinks, the fest’s organizers have a little surprise to tide over Australia’s pinot-lovers until spring.
The all-new Pinot Palooza Unplugged Sunday sessions are set to heat winter with a trio of chilled-out tasting parties dedicated to everyone’s favorite cool-climate red.
Taking over the Timber Yard on May 30, July 4 and July 25, each five-hour event will hero a different one of Victoria’s leading pinot-producing regions: the Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland and Geelong, respectively.
A $35 ticket gets you entry to your session of choice, a Revel wine glass to keep, and all of your day’s wine tastings. In-between sips, you’ll get to chat to the producers — think, Quealy, Pt Leo, Montalto and Red Hill Estate kicking things off for the Mornington Peninsula. And, as always, there’ll be plenty of great food and tunes to keep you entertained on the day.
She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism
Ahead of the NGV’s much-hyped French Impressionism exhibition later this year, this show dives into Australia’s connection to the 19th-century art movement
There are still a couple of months to wait before more than 100 French impressionist masterpieces arrive on our shores, on loan from Boston’s renowned Museum of Fine Arts as part of the NGV’s much-anticipated Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition series.
But in the meantime, you’ll be able to sink your teeth into an Aussie taste of this iconic 19th-century art movement, thanks to The Ian Potter Centre’s new exhibition She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism.
Running until Sunday, August 22, the large-scale show features an impressive 270 artworks by Australia’s most celebrated impressionists, as sourced from collections all over the country. Paintings from legendary artists like Frederick McCubbin, Jane Sutherland, Tom Roberts, Clara Southern and John Russell are on display, starring alongside lesser-known pieces by the likes of Iso Rae, Jane Price and May Vale.
You’ll see visions of familiar Aussie landscapes, homesteads and sheep shearers while gaining insight into how place, people and global influences shaped the impressionist movement Down Under.
A series of paintings on cigar box lids features works first shown way back in 1889’s 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, while Frederick McCubbin’s 1904 creation The pioneer provides a glimpse into one of the great art mysteries of recent times.
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Wine and Cheese Sundays
Wrap up the weekend with vino and free cheese.
With yet another Monday looming large, Sunday afternoons can sometimes feel like a bit of a bummer — but not for much longer. We’ve found a surefire mood-booster to help you end your weekend on a high note, involving free (and delicious) cheese.
From Sunday, April 11, Richmond’s Ugly Duckling is kicking off the latest round of its ever-popular Wine and Cheese Sundays sessions, and inviting you to squash those inevitable Sunday blues with a good old-fashioned grazing session. Pop in between 3–7 pm each weekend, and you’ll also score a complimentary cheese plate when you purchase any bottle of wine.
Cheese-wise, you can choose between quality creations like a Spanish manchego, Le Delice des Premier, the Colston Bassett stilton blue or Castel Regio taleggio — each served with classic accompaniments including fig paste, lavosh biscuits and fresh apple slices.
Of course, if you fancy amping up the indulgence factor, there’s always the option to add on extra serves of cheese. Plus, there’s a cracking cocktail list for those who’d like to linger even longer.
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Watch Little Penguins dash home across the sand at dusk at Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Penguin Parade. Explore boardwalks after dark to see, smell and hear these penguins in the colony, greeting neighbors, partners and their chicks. While you wander, keep an eye out for resident wildlife including Swamp Wallabies, Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Cape Barren Geese and Short-tailed Shearwaters.
Every visit to the Penguin Parade protects nature for wildlife. Visitors support Phillip Island Nature Parks vital research, education and conservation projects that ensure Phillip Island’s native habitats thrive into the future for both wildlife and us to enjoy.
Book a tour to have a private ranger guide sharing conservation stories and penguin information with you, or opt for the self-guided viewing and enjoy the free interactives inside the visitor center.
- 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
- Suitable for guests with high support needs who uses a hoist and always travel with a carer
- Car park
- Coach parking
- Conference/convention facilities
- COVID Clean Practicing Business
- ECO Certified (Advanced Ecotourism) by Ecotourism Australia
- Australian Tourism Export Council
- National Trust
- Victoria Tourism Industry Council
Read more about this topic at https://www.visitvictoria.com/
Puffing Billy Railway
Step into a timeless world of wonder with Australia’s favorite steam train, Puffing Billy, located in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges and only one hour east of Melbourne.
Built-in 1900 to serve the local communities that lived in the hills, carrying anything from passengers to timber, livestock, potatoes and plants, the Railway is now a major tourist attraction that invites visitors to come and experience a century-old tradition every day of the year, except Christmas Day, thanks to the tireless efforts of more than 600 volunteers.
Take in the magic of steam train travel from the moment you arrive, with the sight of the historic locomotives being prepared for departure, the smell of steam billowing out of the vessel’s chimney and the evocative sound of the train’s whistle.
Before long, jump on board the open side carriages for a serene ride over the hills, across the iconic timber trestle bridges, down the valley and into the forest on the original mountain track between Belgrave and Lakeside.
In addition to the excursion train experience, guests also have the choice of booking Private Carriage Hire and pre-purchased Picnic and Lunch packs.
Slow Moving Waters
TarraWarra Museum of Art’s Biennial exhibition is all about taking it slow
For many, it felt like 2020 was the year that time stood still. So, you won’t have any trouble relating to the works showcased in the TarraWarra Biennial 2021 exhibition, Slow Moving Waters. Running from Saturday, March 27, to Sunday, July 11, the show centers on ideas of slowness and drift, and the way these concepts are mirrored in the winding Yarra River, which curves its way near the museum’s grounds.
Here, 25 Australian artists present new works embracing slowness, bucking against the accelerated rush that can be all too present in today’s modern world. Among them, you’ll spy pieces embracing the scale of time, or exploring the idea of idleness, with many works designed to change and evolve over the course of the exhibition.
You’ll catch a live art installation by Quandamooka artist Megan Cope featuring slowly melting plant extracts, and an ever-moving sculpture work by Robert Andrew, which pens the same word over and over again in cursive script. Needlepoint designs by Louisa Bufardeci show some of the ways that a place can stick to us, while Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones shares the story of how the Birrarung (Yarra River) came to be, using a series of sound recordings and installations spread throughout the whole exhibition.
Windsor Art Club
Flex your creative skills at this free weekly arts and crafts gathering held at the pub.
For the average punter, the local pub is usually a go-to for budget-friendly steak nights, weekend beers and maybe the odd trivia sesh. But one southside boozer is adding to that list, with a new weekly event designed to get your creative juices flowing just as freely as the tap brews.
The Windsor Castle Hotel has kicked off a new series of Saturday arvo sessions, dubbed the Windsor Art Club, inviting you to indulge your arty side in the beer garden from 1–3pm each weekend. It’s free to join in, with all your art and craft materials provided, and a different creative pursuit on the agenda each Saturday.
Past sessions have seen folks dabbling in watercolors, having a crack at college and even getting messy with a grown-up riff on finger painting.
What’s more, the participant whose masterpiece has deemed the favorite each week will score themselves a $50 tab to spend in the pub’s restaurant or at the bar. How’s that for a little extra incentive to let your inner Picasso shine?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Break out the butterbeer — the acclaimed play has brought its magic back to the stage
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows dropped its last terrible three words on us at the close of the book, all was not well. It would never be well without Harry, Ron, Hermione fighting the Dark Lord in a series of fantastical and wholly engrossing scenarios.
But, little did we know, this would not be the end of the Age of Harry Potter. Thanks to the internet and the sheer demand for all things HP, Harry has lived on through new books, fan website Pottermore, the Fantastic Beasts film spinoff series and all manner of events dedicated to the franchise.
One of the biggest things to come of the post-Harry Potter era has been Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, of course — aka the West End play that’s essentially the eighth book in the series. It first arrived in Australia in February 2019, hitting up Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, and proved unsurprisingly popular.
Now, after closing down during the Victorian capital’s 2020 lockdowns, the production is back in 2021.
Muggles, rejoice. Harry Potter fandom aside, this is also something that all theatre-goers can get excited about. Since debuting in London in July 2016, the production has won a swathe of awards and has proven a repeated sell-out — in the West End, on Broadway and in San Francisco, too.
Melburnians — and other Australian Harry Potter and/or theatre aficionados — probably already marked Thursday, February 25, 2021, in their diaries, as that’s when the magic returned. The show resumed after a 49-week hiatus, and it’s sticking around all year.
Originally due to wrap up in August, it’ll now stay until Sunday, December 12, with tickets for the later dates available from 9am on Thursday, April 29.
So what exactly is The Cursed Child about? Well, it picks up 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and that abominably cheery epilogue on Platform 9 3/4. Harry is now an overworked Ministry of Magic employee, and the play focuses on both him and his youngest son Albus Severus Potter as they grapple with the past and future.
The production is presented in two parts, so you’ll have to book into two performances, either on the same day (matinee and evening) or on consecutive evenings.
If you’ve balked at the astronomical price of the blockbuster play about everyone’s favorite boy wizard, you wouldn’t be alone — especially given that you need to pay for two sets of tickets if you want to see the whole show.
Throw your pointy hat in The Friday Forty ring instead and you just might win the chance to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for under a hundred bucks. The digital lottery is open from Monday to Friday each week, with the winners notified between 1–5pm every Friday.