Does anyone else get a little bit of seasonal depression in the middle of winter? When it’s cold, grey and rainy most days and dark about 5 minutes after you get home from work.
Maybe it’s just me, but I am not built for winter in Melbourne. Most of the time I absolutely hate it. I love the sunshine, warm weather and always being outside, so right in the middle of July is normally when my seasonal depression, or winter blues if you will, start to creep back in.
However this year we decided to get out and about in Melbourne, check out some of what the city has going on during the winter months and make the most of the cold weather while it’s here. Because let’s be honest, you’re still going to be cold whether you’re happy or sad!
And you know what, there are actually heaps of special events on in Melbourne to give you the ultimate winter feels! If the cold weather has been getting to you a bit lately check out some of these experiences around Melbourne that are making winter feel fun again!
Grab a meal at Igloo Wonderland
Set along the Yarra River the Wharf Hotel is offering an amazing dining experience this winter. You can book yourself into your own private igloo for a cosy dining experience that’s not to be missed.
In your igloo you can choose from a number of different sharing platters (with gluten free and vegetarian options available), offering enough food to keep you full for hours, as well as drink of your choice. To stay on theme and keep you warm through the cold months of winter, why not try the thermos of warm mulled cider!
Dining sessions at the Igloo Wonderland last for two hours and you can choose a mini igloo for 4 to 8 guests, or choose to dine in the mega igloo if you don’t mind communal dining. It costs $49 AUD per person in your group.
The Igloo Wonderland is open until the end of August at the Wharf Hotel.
Visit the Winter Village at Federation Square
Right in the middle of Federation Square a magical snow-covered winter village has popped up. Even though it’s normally very cold in Melbourne during the winter months, we don’t actually get any snow down here, so Fed Square is bringing the snow for you.
The Skyline Terrace on the roof of the Federation Square car park has been transformed into a snowy winter village complete with an ice-skating rink and a mega igloo where it snows inside every hour! Hit up the Feast Kitchen and Sip Bar to try some of their winter themed treats to keep you warm.
Open from noon to 10pm Monday to Thursday, 11am to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 11am until 11pm on Sundays, the Winter Village is free for anyone to check out.
The winter village will be at Federation Square until the 29th of September.
There are a few different places around the city where you can go ice-skating, but one of the best is at the Winter Village at Federation Square. If you’ve never been ice-skating before this is the place to try it out and see how good your balance is.
A session ticket will give you 45 minutes on the ice and are available every hour, 7 days a week and you can rent your skates and a helmet for free when you get there. Adult tickets cost $26 per session with season passes available as well.
The ice-staking rink will be at Federation Square until the 29th of September.
Check out the Winter Night Market
Every Wednesday night the Queen Victoria Market opens back up to offer the winter night market, a collection of street food vendors, roaring fires, unique shopping, random entertainment and of course, spiced mulled wine to keep you warm through the night.
There’s always new vendors to check out and dishes to try at the night market no matter how many times you visit. Once you’re done eating and shopping for the evening you can even hit the dance floor for a silent disco or some live entertainment.
The winter market is on every Wednesday night from 5pm until 10pm until the 28th of August.
Book a rich indulgence cabin on the Melbourne Star
For the ultimate winter luxury experience book a private cabin on the Melbourne Star and watch the city views while you’re indulging in a three-tiered chocolate tower. What could be more indulgent than that?!
The Rich Indulgence Cabin offers you a spread so delicious it will put you in a sugar coma, with tasty macaroons, chocolate coated strawberries and yummy truffles, as well as a warm drink to go with it.
Definitely a pricier experience but amazing if you have a large group of people, the indulgence cabin experience starts from $260 AUD for four people, or you can choose to take eight people for $280 AUD (that’s just $35 per person!). You must book online for the experience and give 4 days notice so they can build your chocolate tower!
The indulgence is available for bookings between 1pm and 5:30pm on weekdays and between 11am and 5:30pm on the weekends until the 18th of August.
Book now: A ride on the Melbourne Star
Catch an AFL match
The most loved sport in Victoria is absolutely AFL and the iconic Aussie Rules season runs throughout the coldest months of the year. Definitely a unique game to watch if you’re new to Australia or haven’t seen a game before, AFL is a great sport to get involved in and the atmosphere at the games can’t be beaten.
For an iconic AFL experience try to catch a game at the infamous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), however if you’re nervous about the weather and really don’t want to be that cold, choose a game to Marvel Stadium in the Docklands where the roof will probably be closed.
The AFL home and away season this year runs until the 28th of August and then the finals series will run throughout September.
Have a staycation
Book yourself in to a fancy hotel in the city and indulge in a staycation. Sometimes even just a little bit of a change of scenery can be enough to change your mood and pull you out of a bout of seasonal depression.
Melbourne has lots of fancy hotel options, where you can indulge in spa treatments and fancy meals without even leaving the hotel complex and having to brave the weather outside.
Visit one of the chocolate festivals
All across Victoria, through the Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula chocolateries, August is the month of chocolate festivals, where you can try 31 new limited-edition flavours of hot chocolate.
There are some very unique flavours and drinks on the line up this year, including the Girl’s Best Friend – made from ruby coverture chocolate and rosé champagne, the Green Goddess – a hot chocolate made from kale and coconut, and even a Hot Shoey which you drink out of a chocolate shoe!
If you want to try a few of the different flavours in one sitting you can book in for a tasting session when you can try eight different flavours and create three hot chocolate spoons for $20 AUD.
The hot chocolate festival is on every day of August and entry to the chocolateries is free.
Take a trip out to the snow
Get out of the city of Melbourne and head to the snow for an actual winter wonderland experience. Some of the best ski fields in Australia can be found just a road trip away from Melbourne and it’s a great way to spend a weekend.
For the ultimate snow experience, head to Mount Hotham and rent a house for you and a group of friends at Dinner Plain, where you can literally wake up to snow at your doorstep. Some of the other popular mountains around Victoria include Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Baw Baw.
Check out the Melbourne International Film Festival
If you like movies, this one is definitely for you. In August the International Film Festival hits Melbourne with a range of indie, anime, documentary and Australian films that are sure to be unique and quite different to anything you’re expecting.
This year at the festival you can even catch the debut of Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood starring some huge names including Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. You can check it out at the Astor Theatre during the festival’s opening weekend.
The Melbourne International Film Festival is on from the 1st to the 18th of August.
Try a hot gin cocktail
Gin distiller Sipsmith has also joined the winter village at Federation Square on Friday and Saturday nights to bring you some very unique hot gin cocktails. Some of the favourites of the cocktail bar, that can be found in the mega igloo, is the hot gin & tonic or the bee’s hot knees!
The hot gin pop-up cocktail bar is upen from 5pm to 9pm while the winter village is open.
Watch the city light up at White Night
White Night has long been a favourite event of the city since it began about 7 years ago, but this year it’s getting bigger and better than ever with White Night Reimagined, stretching over three nights at the end of August.
The main areas of the city to check out the White Night festival include Treasury Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Birrarung Marr, and each location have their own unique theme –
- Birrarung Marr will be home to the ‘physical realm’ featuring acrobats, aerialists, singers and actors
- Carlton Gardens will be home to the ‘spiritual realm’ with stories about Indigenous Australia and a ten-metre long lion called ‘The Guardian’ roaming around the gardens
- Treasury Gardens will be home to the ‘sensory realm’ and aims to engage all five senses with light and sound interactions, interactive artwork and projection art.
White Night is running from the 22nd to 24th of August, starting at 7pm on the Thursday night and ending at 2am on the Sunday morning.
Getting out and checking out some of these cute winter pop-ups around the city has definitely made me feel less gloomy about the winter weather this year. It’s a great way to shake up the usual routine. Let us know if you try any of them and what you think!
What’s your favourite thing to do in winter?
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