In Travel

From Pop-Ups To Hot Springs: How To Make The Most Of Winter In Melbourne

Winter in Melbourne needn’t be the dreaded. It’s simply a matter of knowing how to do it right, and the proof is in the (winter) pudding. Embrace the season, and you’ll see how easily it can be to fall in love with the chilly, mid-year months.

The season is a wonderland, and knowing exactly how best to experience Melbourne winter will make it all the more magical.

Drop by The Winter Village & Gertrude Street Projection Festival

A hub of igloos, hot treats, dinner and drinks has emerged in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. It’s a pop-up that comes to life from midday to midnight, and lets you ice skate, warm yourself with a hot chocolate, or chill with friends in the igloo zone. Entry to the 2019 Winter Village is free – just ask for directions at the square.

The annual Gertrude Street Projection Festival runs from July 26 through August 3. Presented by the Centre for Projection Art (CPA), this arts festival brings the streets of Melbourne’s inner north to colourful life. More than 35 building sites and spaces along the Gertrude Street strip are abuzz with light shows, installations, and performances from local artists big and small. This is a free event over several days.

Visit Winter Night Market

The Melbourne Winter Night Market has been charging through Wednesday nights from June to August, keeping hearts warm and limbs warmer. The well-loved Queen Victoria Markets are located at the mouth of North Melbourne and with over 30 food and retail stores peddling their goods, the markets are a familiar haven for the winter months.

On top of being a culinary feast, the Winter Night Market is a gathering of Melbourne’s local musicians and designers. Shows and performances will light up the night as you sip on hot mulled cider, munch on Belgium frites, or dance at the silent disco.

Christmas really will come early as ‘Christmas in July’ brings all the treats to the market that a white Christmas would. So, whether you’re dancing under a snow machine or devouring the Melted Cheese Bar, the Winter Night Market is a luxurious ritual. Enjoyed by Melburnians and travellers alike, it gives those cold nights a bright warm glow.

Attend a talk or show at MIFF or MWF

Two of the best festivals of the year fall during the winter months: The Melbourne International Film Festival and The Melbourne Writers Festival.

MIFF (August 1-18) has all the buzz of a US election. Some of the most unforgettable screen experiences are showcased throughout the two and a half weeks of this festival and the good news is you can buy passes in bulk. This year Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Nick Cave & Warren Ellis will be in conversation about film scores they’ve created. Further calendar details will be revealed in the not too distant future.

Melbourne Writers Festival is a feat all its own, running a few weeks after MIFF, from August 30 to September 8. It’s the second year of creative direction from Australian writer Marieke Hardy and passes are already on sale, though the full line up will be revealed in July. The festival unites the brightest minds, thoughts and ideas in the country and showcases them in a celebration of all things literature.

Feast on pub pies and drink hot apple cider

melbourne winter

Image: The Napier / Facebook

Melbourne is renowned for its culinary delights and when you find the best places to get cosy in, you’ll never look at winter the same. Businesses need to know how to thrive in the colder months, so they’re working hard to bring the best hot ciders, mulled wines, and winter pies you’ve ever tasted.

Check out The Napier, The Fox or The Standard Hotel for some inner-city-north pub meals. For the old-world experience, visit the Mitre tavern in the heart of the CBD. This historic Melbourne building is the quintessential idea of old pub dining and is perfect for a winter afternoon or a quiet beer.

Some of the best art and design shows and pop up shops and restaurants emerge at this time of year, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest releases. You’ll be wishing for the return of winter before the summer has even begun.

Day trip to Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs

melbourne winter

Image: Peninsula Hot Springs / Olympus Visionary Melbourne Photographer

On the skirts of Melbourne are the famous Peninsula Hot Springs. For those not in the know, the hot springs are an oasis of thermal mineral pools situated amongst a dreamy Australian landscape. The higher you climb, the hotter the pool – top temperatures get up to around 40 degrees.

Choose your own adventure with this dream escape: head to the regular bathhouse, or step it up a notch with the spa dreaming centre or private bathing. Get your fill of the beautiful Turkish steam room, private massage, or maybe just lounge in the dipping pool. This is a perfect winter getaway, and it’s not too far to get away to.

(Lead image: Peninsula Hot Springs / Olympus Visionary Melbourne Photographer)

Published 28 June, 2019