Things to do in Melbourne During Summer Season

You can joke about Melbourne’s weather all year round, but not during summer.

The world’s “most liveable city” can rival, if not surpass, the summer experience that other places in Australia has to offer. Melbourne’s magnificent landscape, hidden laneways, sporting grounds and pristine beaches are sure to captivate you.

Melbourne is also a great starting point for any road trip like the Great Ocean Road. Going around the city is easy, especially if you rent a motorhome or campervan that serves as your home on the road.

If you still do not have  the slightest idea what to do when you’re in Melbourne this summer, here are 10 things that will surely make your trip memorable:

1. Sip a Cup of Melbourne Coffee

Melburnians love their coffee, perhaps a bit more than everyone else. If you are a coffee lover yourself, Melbourne presents an opportunity to taste several coffee brews around the world. Simply head over to cafes like Breakfast Thieves, Chez Dre or Kettle Black to have a great breakfast with an equally great tasting cup of coffee.

Melbourne_Coffee

"Coffee time with a magic at St Ali South" by Katherine Lim available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ultrakml/10698833933 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Ful license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Katherine Lim

2. Tour the CBD via the Circle Tram

Riding Melbourne’s free tram is the most convenient way to explore the city’s business district. The tram also plays an audio commentary that discusses the details of city landmarks and its attractions like the Princess Theatre, Docklands, Melbourne Aquarium, City Museum and Parliament House. To ride in one, wait at any tram stop along the tracks and look for the City Circle sign.

3. Hang Out at the Summer Night Market

Spend your nights with tasty food and good drinks while watching splendid acts from street performers and musicians. Held every Wednesday night from November to March, the Summer Night Market gathers around 200 vendors that serve Middle Eastern, Spanish, Indian and Vietnamese food. Catch this feast of world flavours at Queen Victoria Market in Elizabeth Street.

4. Watch Films at The Moonlight Cinema

Watch a great movie under the night sky while picnicking in the grassy hillside of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Catch your favourite flicks from new releases, cult movies and even retro films. On some occasions, movie goers can also see a mass flight of bats. This year, tickets cost $14 for children and $19 for adults.

5. Catch a Game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

There is nothing like watching an exhilarating game of cricket or Australian footy. Buy a ticket for your favourite team’s game and cheer for them on the day of their match. MCG also hosts tours that introduce the stadium’s rich history and day-to-day operations. The “G” remains the largest stadium in Australia, with a seating capacity of 100,000.

Melbourne_Cricket_Ground

" CWC Aus v Eng at the MCG" by Tourism Victoria available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/visitmelbourne/16545211875 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Tourism Victoria 

6. View the City at the Top of Eureka Tower

If you want to see Melbourne in its entirety, head over to Eureka Tower. On the 88th level is a viewing deck that gives you a bird’s eye view of the city. The highest building in the southern hemisphere,  its top ten floors is also plated in  24-karat gold. Tickets are sold at $19.50 for adults and $11.00 for children 4-16 years old. Kids under 4 years are free.

7. Picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens

You don’t have to leave Melbourne to experience nature. Head over to the Royal Botanic Gardens and immerse yourself in 38 hectares of landscaped gardens with a large collection of plants from around the world. The infamous Heritage Walk tour allows you to see the  Gardens through the eyes of its traditional Aboriginal inhabitants. Many of the plant species in the garden also have displays that provide information about them.

8. Swim at St. Kilda Beach

Summer is never complete until you have spent a few days at days at the beach. Just 6 kilometres from the city centre lies St. Kilda Beach which is popular for its sweeping views of Port Phillip. St. Kilda’s serene foreshore has an extensive network of boardwalks and paths ideal for walking, cycling, jogging and inline skating.

9. Take a Selfie at the Arty Alleyways

Melbourne is home to many artists and it is not only in galleries and exhibits that you can delight yourself in visual art. Just head over to one or two laneways in the main city grid and you will stumble upon some of the best street arts in the world. A galore of colourful murals, starting from Hosier Lane in the north, gives life to the once shortcut passages of the city.

Melbourne_Street_Art

"Melbourne street art." by Andrew available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/63168233@N06/7547584298 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Andrew

10. Visit the Animals in Melbourne Zoo

Get lost  in the wilderness of Melbourne Zoo. Just less than 4 kilometres  from the heart of the city, stands this wildlife sanctuary that is home to over 250 animal species. Come and see all your favourite animals from lions, tigers, elephants, orangutans and even Victoria’s iconic little penguins and Australian fur seals.

 
These are just a few of the activities you can do in Melbourne this summer. To fully enjoy your stay in this magnificent city, travel aboard a motorhome or campervan. This option is not only cheaper than staying in a hotel, it also gives you schedule flexibility.

Australia in a Campervan – Our Guide to Melbourne

Melbourne considers itself a melting pot of fashion, food, sport and culture. There’s no denying it, Melbourne is a city which caters to a wide range of tastes. It’s also a city full of attractions and activities at all times of the day or night, all year round.

Sport

Melbourne is a mecca for sport in Australia. The city of Melbourne hosts some of the largest sporting events in Australia.  The calendar year kicks off with The Australian Open, the only Grand Slam tennis event in Australia.

Or do you have the need for speed? Well, March sees  the city fringe taken over by Formula 1.

March also marks the start of the Australian Football League (AFL) season. With 10 teams in greater Melbourne, you will never be short of a game to watch. If you are in Melbourne on April 25, try and get a ticket to the Anzac Day Test between Collingwood and Essendon. It’s the largest match (excluding the September Grand Final) of the year.  Even if you know nothing about AFL, the venue, the Melbourne Cricket Ground,  holds 100,018 spectators; this is a game to attend for its atmosphere, if for nothing else. Join the locals and grab a meat pie, a scarf from your home team, and get loud

The Melbourne Cricket Ground is also home to the National Sport Museum. It holds a number of cricketing, AFL, horse racing and Olympic memorabilia.

There’s also the National Rugby League (NRL) team, the Melbourne Storm, and Australian Rugby Union (ARU) team, the Melbourne Rebels during the autumn/ winter months (March to August).

Late September marks the start of the Spring Racing Carnival (horse racing); 114 race meetings exceeding $40 million in prize money including the world famous Melbourne Cup, which is Australia’s premier horse race that is known because it “stops a nation”.  Workplaces and homes and clubs everywhere around the nation stop to watch this one race.

Soccer/football starts in October with both the Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory attempting to win the championship.

Then there is the cricket. In December the Boxing day test match held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is an Australian icon with capacity crowds attending each year. On December 26, The Australian Test Cricket Team play an opposing national team who is touring that summer. Every 4 years this match forms a part of the all-important Ashes series (Australia vs. England).

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Culture

Art is not just confined to art galleries, and you will find it all over Melbourne. In the streets, the parks, the laneways – you can’t escape it even if you wanted to. The laneways of Melbourne are filled with outdoor artistic expressions using stencils, paste-ups and murals. Some locations for these are Hosier and Rutledge Lane (near Federation square), Union Lane off Bourke Street Mall and Flinders Lane and Cocker Alley (Bansky art – Little Diver). Keep a look out because there is always something new.

There are also a number of traditional galleries you can visit. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV Australia) features Indigenous works, ancient, modern and fine art.  The Melbourne Museum also offers aboriginal art and explores nature, culture and history in Victoria.  It features a gallery just for children (aged 3-8) along with other education programs tailored from kindergarten to grade 12. If you prefer something more modern, visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art at Southbank. It’s a spectacular building filled with spectacular work.

Melbourne Graffiti

Melbourne hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. The more popular ones include the Melbourne Writers’ Festival which runs from late August. It’s a celebration for writers, thinkers and readers and offers entertaining debates, film screenings, book launches and workshops from international and local guests. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs late March to mid April and hosts some of the hottest international and Australian comedic talent.

Melbourne is also home to the Australian Ballet which showcases both classical and contemporary pieces. Its unique style of dance is influenced by the ballet staff, guest dancers teachers and choreographers from around the world.

Adventure & fun

After you have had your fill of food, sport and culture, it’s time to get active. The Eureka Skydeck  offers an unforgettable panorama of the city both day and night from 88 floors (300metres) above the ground. Try ‘the edge’ a glass cube which slide out from the side of the building so you can view the city…between your feet.  Love the height? Visit Hard Rock Climbing. They are 37 climbing walls with a pinnacle of 17metres located right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. If you prefer to be closer to the ground, you can visit Glow in the dark minigolf; It’s 18 holes of glow in the dark fun. The Kingswood Ute hole is a favourite! If you want to see some Australian Fauna up close, then find your way to the Melbourne Zoo. They have Kangaroos, wombats and platypus along with Tigers, Orang-utans, Zebra, Elephants, etc. For more Australian wildlife, Koalas, Echidnas, Emu, Echidna’s etc, you will need to visit the Healesville Sanctuary.  St Kilda, Luna park and beach.

Melbourne  Central Tower

Shopping

You are bound to find just about anything in Melbourne. From contemporary to classic. The Bourke Street Mall and its surrounding streets offer a large selection of shops.  The Melbourne GPO  building houses boutiques from Australian and International designers within a gorgeous neo-renaissance style building. Melbourne Central is the largest shopping centre in the Melbourne CBD; shopaholics will love the choices available from 300 stores. Harbour Town at Docklands specialises in outlet shopping and specialty stores in docklands. Bridge Road at Richmond is lined with outline stores of your favourite stores with a number of quirky shops thrown in for good measure. One of the renowned fashion precincts is Chapel Street – arty, vintage, contemporary, classic, stylish; you will find everything  fashionable you need on this street and it surrounds (Commercial road & Greville street). You can catch a free ‘Fashion’ bus from Federation Square to Chadstone, a shopping centre with 530 stores! Chadstone is known as the Fashion Capital but also contains cinemas, ten pin bowling and food.

Melbourne_yarra_twilight

Food

Speaking of food, Melbourne is a rich tapestry of cultural delights.  There are a number of pockets around the CBD that specialise in ethnic food. The truth is, you don’t need a list of places to eat as you will find something that catches your eye as you wander the streets. Feel like Italian? Head to Lygon street. Want some Greek?  Go to the corner of Russell and Lonsdale Street. Craving asian? Stroll on over to Chinatown.  But here are some anyway. Chin Chin is one of the few places where  walk-ins are preferred , they are open every day of the year except Christmas day and serve south east asian cuisine. Vue De Monde  offers classical fine dining from the 55th level of the Railto Building. it’s food is impeccible as is it’s view.  Little Cupcakes as the name suggests sells little cupcakes, but also normal sized along with something to wash them down with. That is all. Super cute and super tasty, get in early or you’ll be left with the leftovers. If you want something cosy and informal, try Cafe Vue. It’s a french inspired bistro with beautiful deco and delicious meals. Love meat? Visit Rockpool. Overlooking the Yarra River, the view and the food are impeccable.

 

Australia in a Campervan – Our Guide to Festivals in Australia

Music gathers people, and that is one of the main reasons we love festivals. Festivals are a great place to meet up with like-minded individuals from around the country and the world. There are many festivals of all kinds, sizes and music and lifestyle directions in Australia year-round, so there will always be something to suit you.

This isn’t your normal “Top Ten” list with the best festivals held in Australia, simply because there are too many festivals in too many places. So we have ordered them into categories.

Big Day Out Sydney

Modern Sounds
If you are looking for a lot of young people, beer, sun and current popular artists, it won’t be hard to find a festival that suits you.

Some festivals in Australia are held in different places at the same time, such as the Big Day Out and Stereosonic, which are good examples of this kind of national festival.

Big Day Out is held in January simultaneously in Sydney, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. The line-up features some of Australia’s best live rock bands as well as top international artists. The headline acts for 2014 are Snoop Dogg and Major Lazer.

Stereosonic focuses on House and Techno sounds and is held in December in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Here you’ll find some of the biggest DJ’s from all around the world, especially from Great Britain and The Netherlands, like Armin van Buren and Calvin Harris. Talking about Dutch music, one of the biggest festivals in The Netherlands has also come to Australia since 2009. Defqon 1, founded by the Dutch powerhouse Q-Dance is one of the biggest festivals of its kind featuring House and Hardstyle music and it grows in size every year.

Some other festivals of popular current music that are worth considering are:

  • Field Day – Sydney Festival (January)
  • Homebake (December)
  • Bass in the Grass, Darwin (May)
  • Soundwave in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth (February).

Jazz, Blues and Classical
If those hard bass sounds aren’t really your thing, try one of the Jazz and/or Blues festivals. Combine some of the best nature in Australia with delightful music and enjoy a day out with a music adventure. Probably the best known of its kind is the Melbourne International Jazz Festival in June. With more than 300 Australian and international musicians and a rich program with club gigs, film screenings, master classes and evening sound walks, this is a festival for families, youth and even seniors.

The Byron Bay Bluefest is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. That means 2014’s Eastern Weekend will be very special this year at Tyagarah Tee Tree Farm with over 200 performances on 7 stages. The Bluefest welcomes international artists like Jack  Johnson, John Mayer, Passenger and Dave Matthews Band.

For Opera you should definitely visit ‘Opera in the Paddock’ and ‘Opera in the Vineyards’. These festivals are organised respectively in March and October and bring the best of opera to stunning outdoor locations so you can bask in world class music while enjoying some great scenery.

Womad Adelaide

Folk and Country
Experience country music like it should be. With a number of festivals organised year round in Australia we’re quite sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.

The Gympie Muster is held over 4 action-packed days and nights in Queensland’s most beautiful and normally peaceful National State Parks: Amamoor Creek State. Here you’ll find the true spirit of Country in Australia during the end of August each year.

This year the Tamworth Country Music Festival will be opened by two of Australian superstars in Country Music, namely Adam Harvey and Troy Cassar-Daley, that and lots of other performances makes the 42nd Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth in January 2014 one that absolutely cannot be missed.

A great festival for the whole family is National Folk Festival in Canberra, hundreds of the world’s best musicians are showing their best music tracks during this five-day festival in March and April.

WOMAD
WOMADelaide is the Worldof Music, Arts and Dance, founded by musician Peter Gabriel in 1982. Over the last two decades it has grown into one of the biggest outdoor festivals in Australia and is held over four days in Adelaide. Participants can experience world class music performances as well as workshops, cooking programs and dancers.

A popular way to enjoy festivals is in a motorhome. Most festivals offer powered sites and a camper with your own bed, kitchen facilities and even shower and toilet are a very comfortable way to enjoy a stay at a festival campground. But do make sure you book early, because we get a lot of people booking well in advance to secure their campervan for a festival.

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Try the Australia Tourism website.

Counting down to 2014, the best places to watch Australian fireworks

There are only a few weeks left till 2014; time to start making some New Year’s resolutions, career change plans, holiday plans, but first of all: celebrate New Year’s Eve. Some essential elements are, of course; champagne, friends, family, counting down the last seconds of 2013 and then … fireworks. If you want to see the best fireworks in Australia this year, where are the best places to go?

Here is a breakdown of your top options:

Sydney Fireworks

Sydney
With over 1.6 million spectators, Sydney is quite possibly the New Year’s Eve capital of the world. Bcause the new year starts 10 hours earlier in Sydney compared with most European major cities and even 15 hours before New York, the fireworks in Sydney are televised all over the world. So not justthe 1.6 million local spectators see the fireworks, over 1 billion watch it globally.

Every year Sydney creates a new theme for the fireworks. This year the theme is ‘Shine’. So pack your stuff and shine during New Years Eve to watch the 7 tonnes of fireworks sparkle and glow over Sydney’s night sky! But whatever you do, plan ahead – as 1.6 million is quite a large number, even for Sydney. Why not consider a campervan hire, when the crowd becomes a little too much for you, just drive away from the city and relax on  the first day of the New Year in NSW.

Opera Sydney NYE

Melbourne
Melbourne is Australia’s second most populous city and it’s a similar story on New Years Eve. The first fireworks are to be seen at 9.30 pm when Lord Mayor Doyle will set off the family fireworks at Yarra Park. Later on that evening the Mayor will also set off the fireworks over the city. With fireworks launching from the beautiful Melbourne skyline you can watch the fireworks from many vantage points around the city, just look up and enjoy. If you do want some entertainment during the show the best places to go are Treasury Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens and Docklands.

Surfers Paradise
One of the best party places in Australia during NYE will be Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Gather your friends and family together and watch the fireworks from the beach. The fireworks will be synchronised to the most popular music from 2013.

Brisbane
Then there’s Brisbane of course, the capital of Queensland. Not the number one place in Australia to watch NYE fireworks but still a great place for an unforgettable start to the New Year. To watch the fireworks the best places to go are South Bank and Eagle Street Pier, as all the fireworks will be launched from a barge on the Brisbane River. If you’re just looking for an amazing night – and probably a huge hangover the next day – Fortitude Valley is no doubt the place to go!

Perth
Known as the most geographically isolated major city in the world,Perth is not the first place that comes to mind when making plans for New Years Eve. And though the best fireworks in Perth are seen on Australia Day, it still offers a great place for a perfect start to the New Year. “The George” is known for its stunning New Years Eve parties.

Adelaide
Planning to be in South Australia during New Years Eve? Then Adelaide is the place to be. For the best fireworks go to Elder Park where Adelaide City Council offers a great free event. Here you can view the city’s best fireworks combined with a music concert and the New Year’s Eve Beer Garden.

Canberra
The New Years Eve in Canberra is probably one of the best places in Australia to welcome in 2014 with your family. The non-alcohol and no-glass concert in Civic Square displays a spectacular firework show at 9pm and again at midnight while there are a number of national headline acts playing supported by local artists.

Hobart
Yes, even in Tasmania there’s a firework show to start the New Year, and a good one too! Superb festivals, many exhibitions and a number of exciting shows can be found, most of them on the Pier at the Hobart Function Centre. So come to Tasmania, Australian largest island and have an awesome New Years Eve celebration!

Darwin
Last but certainly not least in this list is Darwin. Find a spot with a view at Darwin’s Waterfront and enjoy the Darwin city fireworks.  The family fun starts here early at 5.30pm and the fireworks will be launched at 9pm. This all will be supported with a free outdoor concert at a sensational location.