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Get Your Culture Fix: The Best Of Melbourne’s Winter Calendar

The House of Dior, Open House Melbourne, Melbourne International Film Festival... need we say more?

Winter chill getting your goat? Kill it with culture.

While Melbourne’s internationally acclaimed cultural calendar is a year-round affair, the city really tends to amp up the creative flame during the shivery months. From The House Of Dior exhibition at the NGV, to the Melbourne International Film Festival, winter 2017 offers much for budding locals and out of towners to get excited about.

Check out our must-see Melbourne winter festival list and get your culture fix –the perfect antidote to the mercury plunge. 

The House Of Dior: Seventy Years Of Haute Couture – NGV

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House of Dior featured work. Photo: NGV

This year the National Gallery of Victoria will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of The House of Dior, one of the world’s most prestigious couture houses. This exclusive collaboration between Dior and NGV will showcase over 140 different garments designed by Christian Dior Couture between 1947 and 2017, exploring the house’s lineage and legacy through the works of some of its key designers, including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri. The event season will also showcase a program of talks and tours, including the NGV Friday Nights series, featuring food, drink and curated live music performances.

August 27-November 7; Ground Level, NGV International; $26


Open House Melbourne

open house melbourne

High density happiness: building pedestrian friendly cities is a talk on this year’s Open House Melbourne program. Photo: Open House Melbourne

For those who’ve never experienced it, every winter Open House Melbourne unlocks the doors to some of Melbourne’s most unique and interesting architectural gems. Growing substantially since its inception in 2008, Open House opened more doors than ever last year, showcasing over 100 different buildings including historic ballrooms, heritage-listed treasures and other architectural secrets. While the full 2017 program is yet to be unveiled, be sure to block out July 29-30 and stay on it through the website newsletter – tours of some of the more popular buildings require bookings in advance.

July 29-30; various locations around Melbourne; free.


Melbourne International Film Festival

ali's wedding melbourne international film festival

Ali’s Wedding will screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Photo: MIFF

Founded in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival remains one of the city’s most cherished cultural events, and alongside Cannes and Berlin, it’s one of the oldest festivals of its kind. MIFF is a huge deal on Melbourne’s cultural map, and throughout August this year the city will once again be privy to one of the most eclectic and respected film programs on the planet. The full list, this year titled Explore New Worlds, won’t be released until July 11, but check out a sneak peek of the goods over at MIFF HQ.

August 3-20; Various locations; costs vary but are cheaper with membership.


The Rose Street Market

rose street market

Photo: The Rose Street Market

Fitzroy’s The Rose Street Market might be a more boutique, community-driven event compared to the larger, one-off international ticket items, but every weekend it dishes up some of the city’s most exciting art and design talent (while offering sweet refuge from the elements. Expect a riveting array of homemade fashion, food, curios and sparkling conversation with some of Melbourne’s most sought after independent designers.

Every Saturday and Sunday; Rose Street, Fitzroy; Free.


Melbourne Writers Festival

Melbourne Writers Festival

Photo: Melbourne Writers Festival

Literary buffs will already be on top of this one, but for those out of the loop the Melbourne Writers Festival is set to dish up another fabulous calendar of writerly events, chats and intellectual repartee this August. As one of the world’s 20 UNESCO Cities of Literature, Melbourne is particularly proud of the MWF. Bookworms, pen wielders and people of letters unite!

August 25-September 3; CBD various; costs vary.


Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic

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Kimbra will take the stage at this year’s festival. Photo: Festival of the Ecstatic

For a short weekend burst in August this year, we get to experience the many planes of ecstasy at the Arts Centre of Victoria’s Festival of the Ecstatic. This immersive, transcendental three day contemporary performance celebration has been called “a life changer” by some pundits, with wonder, excitement, curiosity and entranced surrender all part of the festival of course. From the sound of it, Supersense could well be the cultural remedy for this year’s chill.

August 18-20; The Arts Centre of Victoria; tickets from $90-270


Indian Festival

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Pretending you’re somewhere else is one of the best ways to deny the cold weather, so why not fire up this winter with a hot cup of chai and a dose of vibrant Indian culture at the Queen Victoria Market’s annual Indian Festival? A celebration of all things sub-continent, experience Queen Street as it transforms into Delhi’s Chandni Chowk with an array of traditional food and drink stalls, henna tattoos, Bollywood dance demos and cooking classes.

July 15-16; Queen Victoria Market; free.


Craft Cubed Festival

craft festival

This popular event on the rise is delivered by Craft Victoria and showcases the diversity of Melbourne’s craft and maker communities. A dynamic craft experience featuring exhibitions, workshops, markets, and talks, Craft Cubed is for those who like to make things. Whether jewellery, ceramics, papercraft or textiles, there’s a little something for everyone here.

August 1-31; CBD (various); Free.

As you may have deduced, real Melbournians don’t hibernate – they get amongst it. There’s never any shortage of things to see and experience in Australia’s cultural capital. Load up on sweaters and get amped for an action packed cultural winter.