Looking to escape the mounting heat in Malaysia that is expected to last for the next few months? Chill out in Melbourne and beyond.
The winter fun in Melbourne knows no boundaries. There’s something to see, do and visit at every corner! In a melting pot of culture like Melbourne and regional Victoria, you won’t expect any less.
Whether you are looking at sharpening your snow sports’ skills, relishing in the destination’s abundant selection of cuisines and palatable wintry delights, or visiting dazzling art installations and galleries – there is something for everyone to have tremendous fun and an even better time.
So, don your best winter boots, knitted scarf, layers of winter wear and a warm jacket, because your cool escape adventures in Melbourne and regional Victoria are about to begin! Here are some highlights you mustn’t miss this winter season:
RISING Melbourne (7-18 June 2023)
RISING is Melbourne’s flagship festival of eclectic arts and culture scene. Expect a winter wonderland on the banks of the Yarra, with ice skating, art installations and outdoor dining providing the first glimpse at this year’s RISING festival.
The Rink at RISING offers a fun ice-skating experience for all ages. For those donning skates for the first time, beginners can try out a lesson with professional coaches. The Rink is just one highlight of this year’s RISING festival.
RISING offers a packed program of music, food, visual art, dance, performance and more. Melbourne landmarks including St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne Town Hall and Fed Square will host RISING events, with thousands expected to rug up and experience the city’s must-do winter festival.
Flinders St station’s historic top floor will present Shadow Spirit, the largest exhibition of First Peoples art in Victoria; Melbourne Town Hall will be transformed by the immersive cinema experience, Euphoria and St Paul’s Cathedral car park will be this year’s RISING festival hub complete with a food market, art installations and performances.
Winter Night Market (7 June – 30 August 2023, every Wednesday from 5pm)
Melbourne’s unmissable winter event the Winter Night Market is back at Queen Victoria Market for a spectacular 13-week season, every Wednesday evening from 7 June to 30 August 2023.
The Winter Night Market brings together Melbourne’s best street food traders, brewers, distillers, artisans and entertainment for the perfect midweek winter experience. Rug up in your winter woollies and head to the Market to enjoy delicious street food, hot bevvies like warm butter beer and mulled wine, roaring open fires, great shopping at artisanal stalls, roving performers and musicians, and fun at the silent disco.
With free entry, the only prerequisites are to come hungry and ready for a good time.
Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi (9 June – 8 October 2023)
The blockbuster Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibition will feature more than 100 works by Pierre Bonnard, a leading 20th century French painter celebrated for his iridescent palette – presented within a contemporary scenography by award-winning architect and designer, India Mahdavi.
The paintings of Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) depict intimate domestic interiors, natural landscapes and urban scenes with subtlety, wit and a sensuous approach to colour and light.
To create the exhibition’s scenography, the NGV has commissioned the celebrated Paris-based architect and designer India Mahdavi.
Described by The New Yorker as a ‘virtuoso of colour’ and ‘possessor of perfect chromatic pitch’, and winner of Designer of the Year at the 2023 Wallpaper* Design Awards, Mahdavi will envelop Pierre Bonnard’s works in an environment that complements Bonnard’s distinct use of colour and texture, and evokes the wistful domestic intimacy for which his paintings are renowned.
Lightscape (16 June – 6 August 2023)
Lightscape, an extraordinary, after-dark experience at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, is back with a brand-new trail.
Following enormous successes in the UK and US, Lightscape, created in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, made its debut in Melbourne earlier in 2022 and was an overwhelming success, quickly becoming a highlight of Melbourne’s winter activities.
These include a floating eight metre sphere filled with over 20,000 moving LEDs along with new colour-changing installations, large-scale illuminated sculptures and surprises along the way in this all-new experience featuring over 100,000 tiny lights.
Since its inception, it has been showcased at botanic gardens, National Trust and UNESCO World Heritage sites across the UK and US to great acclaim.
Winter Wonderlights (23 June – 17 July 2023)
By day Sovereign Hill delights, but when the sun goes down, that’s when it really shines. Throughout the day, visitors can wander the streets as ‘snow’ falls, enjoy pantomimes and theatre shows, Christmas-themed arts and crafts, the chance to share a photo with St Nick, and wonderful wintry treats.
As the sun goes down, ever-changing projections bring Sovereign Hill’s streetscape to dazzling life, as a spectacular light show illuminates the much-loved museum.
Only a short drive from Melbourne, Winter Wonderlights produces a unique Christmas in July like no other.
Hot Chocolate Festival (1 – 31 August 2023)
Enjoy 31 new delicious and exotic hot chocolate flavours in August!
A selection of eight flavours will be available throughout the festival with each one served with an extra shot of hot couverture chocolate plus a handcrafted giant marshmallow.
Hot chocolate tasting sessions are also on offer on the weekends throughout the festival. During the 45-minute hands-on class, sip and sample a selection of eight amazing flavours.
What’s more, choose from over 50 ingredients to make three different chocolate flavoured spoons, then just add to hot milk at home and create your own personalised, decadent hot chocolates.
Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion (until 1 October 2023)
From the swagger of Mae West and glamour of Anna May Wong to the powerful punch of Pam Grier, this ACMI-curated exhibition salutes the groundbreaking achievements and impact of the screen’s revolutionary leading women.
Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion features never-before-seen costumes, original sketches, interactive experiences and cinematic treasures, including iconic outfits worn by Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Geena Davis, Goddess honours the women who challenged narratives, defied expectations and transcended existing tropes.
Skiing and fun (All winter long, various locations in Victoria Snowfields)
If there’s one thing you need to do in winter, it is to visit Victoria’s majestic alpine region. The ski season officially begins from 10 June onwards right up to August, or as long as snow lasts, so bundle and gear up for the ultimate snow and ski adventure!
With slopes for all skill levels and also classes for beginners, let your snow sports spirit shine through exciting activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snow tobogganing or even snowshoeing while you course through the picturesque alps!
There’s really nothing like admiring the frosty weather and the views of snow-capped mountains and trees, with a line-up of pocket events that will further enhance your visit in a place so majestic.
So, take a break from the heat and escape to the cooling weather in Melbourne and regional Victoria as you plan your next holiday destination. As you traverse the streets, you will definitely be filled with awe and wonder of the city and towns alike.