The 8 Best Things To Do In Melbourne Over The Christmas Break
Found yourself ‘stuck’ in Melbourne over the Christmas break? Lucky for you, it could be a whole lot worse. You might be bracing for the same family standoff as the rest of us, but at least you’ll be in one of the world’s best cities for around-the-clock distractions.
It’s true that those tumbleweed-y days around Christmas and New Year’s aren’t Melbourne’s finest time of year. But while you’re not exactly spoiled for choice, you’ve definitely got choice. Whether it’s partying in a laneway with other Chrissie orphans, checking out a mind-expanding exhibition or jumping in a car for a nearby hike, there’s something worthy of your anticipation in the topsy-turvy days ahead.
Party hats up: these are the eight best things to do in Melbourne over the Christmas break.
Soak Up ‘8 Days of Xmas’ at Section 8
Melbourne’s long-running container bar Section 8 is keeping the lights on over the Christmas period. The venue’s ‘8 Days Of Xmas’ marathon is currently underway, featuring over 40 musicians and DJs right up until Christmas Day itself.
Wednesday, December 25 is dedicated to an ‘Orphans’ Christmas’ party featuring DJ sets and a free barbeque for anyone who’s family-commitment-free. Over the eight days, Section 8 is donating a portion of bar proceeds to Black Rainbow, a non-for-profit doing vital work for LGBTIQ+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. Oh, and don’t miss the laneway basketball shootout on Monday, December 23.
Experience Love Actually With a Live Orchestra
Sure, it’s not without WTF moments, but you can’t hate on Love Actually. (Do so at risk of murder from its many believers.) True to its Christmas classic status, the rom-com comes to Hamer Hall for two screenings on Sunday, December 22.
So, how’s that any different from your couch plans? Unlike your living room, this event features a live orchestra performing the hit soundtrack as the movie plays on a giant screen. Who’s chopping onions in here, etc.
Hustle For Tickets to Courtney Barnett’s Christmas Shows
It’s time to make a new friend, call in a favour or turn on your Facebook notifications, because Courtney Barnett is in town for Christmas.
The hometown hero hits Northcote Social Club on Sunday, December 22 for two Milk! Records Xmas shows – and tickets are very much sold out. Milk! Records is of course the label Barnett founded in 2012, and she has invited the likes of Hachiku, Loose Tooth and Jade Imagine to warm the stage. There’s an all-ages matinee and an 18+ show at night, and you’re doing damn well to get into either.
Get Back to Nature at Toorongo Falls Reserve
We get it: you’ve had one too many seasonal politics chats with your uncle. It’s time to get out of the city and stare into a waterfall.
You’ll find exactly the remedy you seek at Toorongo Falls Reserve. Just two hours out of Melbourne, the falls are perfect for a day visit. From the carpark, you enter a 750m track through dense native bush that takes you to the ‘gram-ready destination. Afterwards, you can swing by the Alpine Trout Farm (call to make sure it’s open!) for a superior lunch without the awkward chitchat.
View this post on Instagram
Watch Edward Scissorhands For Free at Fed Square
We get it, Christmas is an expensive time of year and you’ve somehow already spent $100 on a night out to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Freebie to the rescue!
On Monday, December 23, you can watch Tim Burton’s kinda-Christmas-movie Edward Scissorhands on the big screen in Fed Square. It won’t cost you anything, but the deckchairs are first come, first served. You could also punish yourself on Christmas Eve with Arnie’s Christmas flick Jingle All The Way, if that’s your thing.
Take The Air on the Bushrangers Bay Walking Track
Drive 90-odd minutes out of the Melbourne city centre and you’ll come upon a very different scene.
The Bushrangers Bay Walking Track is a rugged slice of coastal Victoria, with up-close wildlife, thrashing sea swells and the occasional serene ocean pool. You’ll also see Cape Schanck and its handsome lighthouse. Swimming is not recommended, as the beaches aren’t patrolled, but there’s more than enough along the way to keep you charmed.
View this post on Instagram
We have a great time looking at our home state of Victoria through the lense of Places We Swim. It’s the perfect excuse to explore swims that we don’t normally get to. It is also a way of looking at familiar coastlines without the complications of surf forecasting. What a relief. This is one of our all time favourites – Bushrangers Bay on the Mornington Peninsula near Cape Schanck. A 2km walk in brings you to a series of deep, crystal clear rockpools at one end of the beach. No surf, lots of swimming. #bushrangersbay #placesweswimVIC
Pay Respects to Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat
Opening earlier this month, the National Gallery of Victoria’s exclusive new exhibition is a must-see.
Titled Keith Haring / Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines, the collection reveals the connections between two towering artists who ruled the ‘80s. You’ll see early works from both Haring and Basquiat, plus iconic pieces and political statements. To be kind of crass, this one has great gift shop potential.
View this post on Instagram
“It’s a series of images about life and things which threaten life,” Haring told local media. “Maybe it’s a kind of play on good and evil, but I prefer people to read it however they want to.” – Keith Haring on the meaning behind his 1984 Waterwall mural. #NGVCrossingLines • Keith Haring preparing an artwork on the water window. Photography: Geoffrey Burke
Feel Your Cold Heart Warmed By Come From Away
Come From Away is the kind of feelgood show you need at Christmas. After a sell-out run across North America, the production has landed at the Comedy Theatre until March.
Come From Away tells the true story of what happened when when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small Canadian town of Gander after the September 11 attacks. At a dark time for the world, Gander’s acceptance of 7000 strangers was a rare sign of hope.
The show is funny, insightful and, crucially, it’s showing right after Christmas to warm your blackened heart.
(Lead Image: Edward Scissorhands / 20th Century Fox)