screenings to a highly camp rowing regatta, highlight Slow principles of tradition, com-
G E T TI N G STAR TE D history walks to dance parties. munity, conviviality, respect and contem-
plation. Dinners, public talks, workshops,
BIG DAY OUT cooking demonstrations and tastings are
www.bigdayout.com held in Melbourne and across regional
Don’t think you’ll have Melbourne all to yourself. It’s a favourite destination for sports fans National rock fest comes to town at the Victoria. There’s also Feast on Film, with
and culture vultures as well as short urban breaks. Hotel prices skyrocket and rooms book out end of January. Big names are guaranteed, food-focused documentaries on show.
for any major event. Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state but it boasts an astonishing but the local Lily Pad bands often steal the
number of national parks, historic towns and stunning natural landscapes. Getting around is show. HARVEST PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
easy, by car at least, and distances between attractions are manageable enough to make com- www.harvestpicnic.com.au
bining a night on the town and a day in the country very possible. You can reach most of the Simmering sensuality and paranormal
CHINESE NEW YEAR
state within four hours drive of Melbourne. phenomena don’t get a look-in at this
Little Bourke St enormous group picnic, held at the base
WHEN TO GO ter elevates the city’s mood and a string of of the famous filmic rock. Stalls sell a wide
GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO
GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO
popular festivals and events see everyone out Melbourne has celebrated the Chinese
lunar new year since Little Bourke St be- variety of food and wine and there’s live
Notorious for its unpredictability, the state’s and about again. entertainment.
famous ‘four seasons in one day’ climate can came Chinatown in the 1860s. The time to
catch travellers unawares. Locals will suggest touch the dragon falls sometime towards
dressing in layers, so you can rug up or strip FESTIVALS the end of January or early February. Eat, HARVEST TO TABLE
off as the weather dictates, but knowing what Victoria isn’t fussy about when it gets festive. drink and dodge the fire crackers. www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org
to pack can be tricky. Winter’s chills or summer’s swelter are no Mornington Peninsula shines the glasses
excuse, with Melbournians joining like minds and cutlery for the annual series of parties,
Warm summer days and nights attract the
crowds from December to February, Victo- at outdoor festivals, in cinemas, performance February picnics and Pinot tastings in Red Hill.
ria’s busiest times for tourism. Average summer spaces or sporting venues all year round. ST KILDA FESTIVAL
highs are around 26°C, but it’s not uncommon Sporting events in particular draw incredibly www.stkildafestival.com.au; Acland & Fitzroy Sts, MOONAH GOLF CLASSIC
to find the mercury pushing past 40°C and then large crowds; the party often spills out of the St Kilda www.moonahlinks.com.au
plummeting to 19°C. December is party time stadiums and into the city. Cultural festivals This week-long festival ends in a suburb- Australasian PGA Tour and Nationwide
in the city, which can be a blessing or a curse – also have enthusiastic audiences, both for the wide street party on the final Sunday. The Tour tournament matches Australian talent
bars buzz and waits for taxis can be long. main event and the pre- and after-partying. crowds are large and laid-back, if not as against rising stars from the US. The stun-
There’s also a glut of music festivals and con- Summer is celebrated both informally and uniformly bohemian as they once were. ning links course has a natural stadium-like
certs. Victorians take to the road en masse for with festivals that have an obvious emphasis Live music is a feature, as well as the annual setting, great for spectator vantage points.
the Christmas holidays, heading for beachside on the outdoors. Regional towns don’t miss post card show at Linden Gallery.
holiday houses, camping grounds and resorts. out, with their own calendar of cultural and PAKO FESTA
Accommodation prices rise considerably in the sporting celebrations. What follows is a selec- ST JEROME’S LANEWAY FESTIVAL
tion; check www.thatsmelbourne.com.au for www.pakofesta.com.au
popular holiday hotspots, particularly on the www.lanewayfestival.com.au Geelong celebrates the diverse back-
coast, and rooms are often booked out months comprehensive event listings. For a roundup Indie kids delight in their natural laneway grounds of its community with a slap-up
in advance. Many shops, cafés and restaurants of music festivals, see p33. Public holidays are habitat with a line up of international and street party on Packington St and other
in Melbourne will have a closed sign in the listed on p350. local acts loving the intimate atmosphere. city-wide cultural events.
window come the week between Christmas and It’s gone national now, but this is where
New Year. There’s still plenty for visitors to do
and key attractions will be pleasantly quiet. January it all began. Held at the end of February,
tickets sell out super fast. March
Autumn brings mild, still days, with the AUSTRALIAN OPEN
state’s gardens and parks bearing all the tints www.australianopen.com; Melbourne Park MELBOURNE FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
The world’s top players and huge merry-
of a European autumn. The Easter school www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au Docklands hosts public art projects along
holiday period in early April is another busy making crowds descend on the Melbourne
Market tours, wine tastings, cooking classes the waterfront from March to April.
time in the coastal regions and the Grampians, Park for Australia’s Grand Slam tennis
and presentations by celeb chefs take place
so planning and booking ahead is advised. championship. Ground passes make for a
at venues across the city in February and/or HELEN LEMPRIERE NATIONAL
June and July are the coldest months, with grand day out if you’re not desperate to
March. Chew the gastronomic fat or just SCULPTURE AWARD
average maximum temperatures nudging see a top seed, otherwise book ahead for
eat your fill. Restaurants across town offer %131 963; www.lempriereaward.com.au;
14°C. It’s a great time to do as the locals do: arena seats.
a great lunch deal that includes a glass of Werribee Park
rug up and head off to a game of Aussie rules wine – book ahead if possible.
(football), get cosy at the Melbourne Inter- MIDSUMMA FESTIVAL This is the country’s richest sculpture prize
national Film Festival or take to the slopes. and attracts Australia’s leading artists,
www.midsumma.org.au A TASTE OF SLOW
There are good snowfields within three hours’ who install their work in the grounds of
Melbourne’s annual gay and lesbian arts
drive of the city. festival features over 100 events from
www.atasteofslow.com.au Werribee Mansion. A picnic on the grass
Though Victoria’s spring weather can be A Taste of Slow counters our frantically among the contemporary art has become
mid-January to mid-February, with a Pride
wildly unpredictable, the respite from win- paced culture with a series of events that a Melbourne autumn ritual.
March finale. Expect everything from film
MOOMBA WATERFEST BENDIGO AWAKENING OF HEPBURN SPRINGS SWISS held over two weeks at various cinemas
www.thatsmelbourne.com.au; Alexandra Gardens, THE DRAGON ITALIAN FESTA across the city in July and August. (The
Birrarung Marr & Waterfront City Piazza, Docklands www.goldendragonmuseum.org www.swissitalianfesta.com music doco program is a particular treat.)
Moomba’s had something of a new millen- Join the local Chinese community in cele- The area’s unique Swiss Italian heritage is Festival passes and single session tickets
nium makeover, with the action focussed brations with lion dancing, a costume celebrated in song and food. are available.
around the Yarra and Victoria Harbour. An parade and the awakening of Sun Loong
old favourite is the wacky Birdman Rally, with over 100,000 crackers. This festival is
where competitors launch themselves into unique to Bendigo and they’ve been mak-
the drink in homemade flying machines. ing some noise since 1892. MELBOURNE JAZZ MELBOURNE ART FAIR
MELBOURNE FASHION FESTIVAL International jazz cats head to Melbourne Biennial art-star gathering, with galleries
April and join locals for gigs at venues around from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific
ANZAC DAY PARADE 25 April town including Hamer Hall, the Regent region setting up shop in the Royal Ex-
This week-long style-fest running from the
www.shrine.org.au; Shrine of Remembrance Theatre and Palms at Crown. hibition Buildings. A party atmosphere
GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO
GETTING STARTED WHEN TO GO
end of February into March features salon
shows and parades showcasing established Australians remember the WWI Austral- prevails for night openings. The next fair
designers’ ranges. Join the air-kiss set or get ian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) ST KILDA FILM FESTIVAL is in 2010.
down with the up-and-comings at one of the defeat at Gallipoli and honour all those www.stkildafilmfestival.com.au
many off-shoot happenings around town. who have served in war on 25 April with a Australia’s first and arguably best short-film MELBOURNE WRITERS’ FESTIVAL
sombre dawn service at the Shrine in King’s festival, with a great grab-bag of genres www.mwf.com.au; Federation Square
Domain and a veterans parade along St and talent on show. Opening night pulls Beginning in the last week of August, the
PORT FAIRY FOLK FESTIVAL Kilda Rd. The crowd runs the gamut from local film industry stars (dressed down
www.portfairyfolkfestival.com writers’ festival features 10 days of forums
respectful to jingoistic. for the occasion of course).
Historic Port Fairy is charming at any time and events celebrating reading, writing,
of year, but fills to the gills with music fans books and ideas. Locals star alongside
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL GRAMPIANS GRAPE ESCAPE visiting international authors.
every Labor Day long weekend. Join them
FLOWER & GARDEN SHOW FESTIVAL
for an impressive line-up of roots acts from
www.melbflowershow.com.au; Royal Exhibition www.grampiansgrapeescape.com.au
around the world. Pints of Guinness are
optional, sorting your accommodation well Bldg & Carlton Gardens Gentle gourmet fest with regional food, September
The Royal Exhibition Building and the sur- wine and petanque to ward off the autumn AFL GRAND FINAL
in advance is mandatory.
rounding Carlton Gardens are taken over chills. Held in Halls Gap. www.afl.com.au; MCG
by backyard blitzzers, DIY-ers and plenty It’s easier to get a goal from the boundary
AUSTRALIAN FORMULA ONE of dotty old ladies. The Exhibition Building NEXT WAVE FESTIVAL
GRAND PRIX than to pick up random tickets to the grand
itself hosts the flower show. www.nextwave.org.au final. But it’s not hard to get your share of
www.grandprix.com.au; Albert Park Biennial festival that lets young artists do
The 5.3km street circuit around normally finals fever anywhere in Melbourne. Pubs
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL their thing. There’s a small international put on big screens and barbecues (often
tranquil Albert Park Lake is known for its contingent, and work includes perform-
smooth, fast surface. The buzz, both on the COMEDY FESTIVAL accompanied by a spot of street kick-to-
www.comedyfestival.com.au ance, hybrid and new media and visual arts. kick at half time). For the truly devoted,
streets and in your ears, takes over Mel- Events and exhibitions take place in exist-
bourne for four fully sick days of rev-head An enormous range of local and interna- there’s also the Grand Final Parade on the
tional comic talent hits town with 3½ weeks ing arts institutions as well as those that preceding Friday.
action. challenge their very existence. The next
of stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre, street
performance, film, TV, radio and visual arts. festival is in 2010.
STAWELL GIFT Easter Monday MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL
It’s spread out across a variety of venues. www.melbournefringe.com.au
The central-west town of Stawell has held
July The Fringe takes place in September and
a race meet on Easter Monday since 1878. WARRNAMBOOL MAY RACING MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL October and showcases experimental
The main event is the prestigious 120m CARNIVAL DESIGN FESTIVAL theatre, music and visual arts.
dash. It’s the richest foot race in the coun- www.warrnamboolracing.com.au www.nationaldesigncentre.com
try, attracting up to 20,000 visitors. This is Australia’s premier regional racing Ten days of exhibitions, forums, design ROYAL MELBOURNE SHOW
carnival and includes a steeplechase event, shows, workshops and competitions posit www.royalshow.com.au; Royal Melbourne
the longest thoroughbred race in Australia. Melbourne as Australia’s design hub. The Showgrounds, Flemington
RIP CURL PRO It also has the most jumps of any worldwide. Fed Square design market is a highlight. The country comes to town in September
Held each Easter, the Rip Curl Pro is one of and October for this large agricultural fair.
the world’s great surfing championships. It APOLLO BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL Carnival rides and junk-filled showbags
attracts big crowds as surfers get together www.apollobaymusicfestival.com FILM FESTIVAL face off against the traditional exhibits.
for one last tilt at summer. The event is usu- Ocean views, a laid-back atmosphere and a www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au Where else do you get to see the
ally held at Bells Beach, but moves to neigh- diverse range of acts make this one of the Midwinter movie love-in brings out black- woodchop?
bouring beaches depending on the breaks. nicest festivals on the calendar. skivvy-wearing cinephiles in droves. It’s
October BEECHWORTH CELTIC FESTIVAL
www.beechworthcelticfestival.com.au ADVANCE PLANNING
You’ll get a warm fáilte romhaibh (wel-
ARTS FESTIVAL come) at this celebration of the area’s Celtic Three months before you go Book accommodation, especially if your visit coincides with any major events; book a
www.melbournefestival.com.au heritage. Lots of old-school events includ- table at Vue du Monde (p128) or the Flower Drum (p129).
Held at various venues around the city, the ing pipe bands. Three weeks before you go Nab a table at other fine dining restaurants (p124) or if pizza is more appealing,
festival features an always thought-pro- make your reservation at Ladro (p136); look out for what’s on at the Arts Centre (p64), Malthouse (p164) or one of
voking program of Australian and interna- Melbourne’s many live music venues and book your tickets.
tional theatre, opera, dance, visual art and December One week before you go Read this week’s Three Thousand (www.threethousand.com.au) missive, sign up to
music. The Famous Spiegeltent, which is BOXING DAY TEST
pitched in the Arts Centre forecourt, lends Michigirl (michigirl.com.au) and see what sales Missy Confidential (missyconfidential.com.au) has discovered; check
www.mcg.org.au; MCG Ticketmaster for AFL fixtures; browse the Age (www.theage.com.au) for new bar and restaurant openings, check the
the Festival some old-world charm and Day one of the Boxing Day Test draws out
irresistible late-night glamour. week’s weather and pack accordingly; don’t forget sunblock, even in winter.
the cricket fans. Crowds are huge and excit-
One day to go Make sure you return restaurant confirmation calls; check you’ve packed a couple of extra pieces of
able; expect some shenanigans from Bay 13.
GETTING STARTED COSTS & MONEY
GETTING STARTED INTERNET RESOURCES
LYGON STREET FESTA clothing – a scarf, a singlet, and a cardie – in case of unexpected hot or cold snaps; stock up on vitamin B for stamina.
Lygon St, Carlton MELBOURNE TO HOBART
Italian community festival with music, soc- YACHT RACE Of course, your holiday can be as cheap or Lost and Found (www.visitvictoria.com/lostandfound)
cer matches, a food stall and the famous www.orcv.org.au; 27 December as luxurious as your tastes demand. A mid- An email newsletter with a focus on creative spaces and
waiters’ race. Although it’s called Melbourne to Hobart, range traveller who plans to hire a car, see the events from Visit Victoria, plus a FaceBook page with
this exciting race actually starts from sights, stay in midrange B&Bs or hotels, and regular updates.
SPRING RACING CARNIVAL Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula. It eat well at restaurants, should expect to spend Missy Confidential (www.missyconfidential.com.au)
www.springracingcarnival.com.au; Flemington takes the west coast of Tasmania, while about $150 to $180 per day. Up-to-date details of all the retail sales.
Racecourse the Sydney-to-Hobart-race lads head At the low-cost end, if you camp or stay
in hostels, cook your own meals, avoid big Three Thousand (www.threethousand.com.au) Weekly
Culminating in the prestigious Melbourne down the east.
nights out in the pub and catch public trans- newsletter with the very hottest tips on music, fashion,
Cup, these race-meets are as much social
port everywhere, you could probably manage bars and other goings on around the city, though you’ll
events as sporting ones. The Cup, held on NEW YEAR’S EVE 31 December
on $60 per day; for a budget that realistically need to cut through the sass.
the first Tuesday in November, is a public www.thatsmelbourne.com.au
holiday in Melbourne. enables you to have a good time, set aside $80. Parks Victoria (www.parkweb.vic.gov.au) Excellent site,
Fireworks light up the Yarra at 9pm and Of course, these low-cost figures don’t factor with extensive profiles on all of Victoria’s national and
midnight. in sampling the things Melbourne is so good marine parks.
WANGARATTA FESTIVAL OF JAZZ at: food, fashion and bars.
www.wangaratta-jazz.org.au That’s Melbourne (www.thatsmelbourne.com.au) Easy to
This northeastern town hosts over 350
national and international artists each year
COSTSis& MONEY to visit. Visi-
Melbourne not a cheap place
Most accommodation options have cheaper
rates for stays of longer than a week and many
use and not overly hyped guide for travellers care of the
offer self-catering rooms. Shopping at Mel-
at Australia’s most important jazz festival. tors from the US are particularly surprised by bourne’s markets and cooking a few meals can Tourism Victoria (www.visitvictoria.com) Official state
The lineup is often stellar; New York greats restaurant and bar prices, especially at the cur- help cut down on food costs and you’ll have tourism site, with excellent sections on festivals and
make regular appearances. Not to be rent exchange rates. Those carrying sterling or the added bonus of feeling like a local. events, accommodation, restaurants, tours and attractions.
missed by those that like inventive playing euros will find it a little more affordable, but the Currency exchange rates are on the inside Stencil Revolution (www.stencilrevolution.com) Good re-
and a hothouse atmosphere. Book accom- standard of living is generally high. That said, front cover. See also Directory, p352. source for anyone looking for information on Melbourne’s
modation well ahead. Melbourne does boast some good midlevel often elusive (though always in your face) stencil art scene.
accommodation and its more casual dining
options can be great value for money. INTERNET RESOURCES
Melbourne is well-documented online.
Victorian Government (www.vic.gov.au) Official website
of the state government of Victoria, and gateway to
information and services in the state.
www.motogp.com.au ABC Melbourne Podtours (www.abc.net.au/melbourne
Phillip Island’s Grand Prix circuit attracts the HOW MUCH? /podtours/default.htm) Great little series of podcasts that
world’s best bike-riders for this three-day
Two-hour Metcard $3.50
Short taxi ride $10
get under Melbourne’s skin.
The Age (www.theage.com.au) Not just the daily news:
Pot of Carlton Draft $3.50
Bottle of drinkable Mornington pinot gris $18
Melbourne’s broadsheet likes to keep up with what’s
going on in the way of entertainment too. Extraordinarily
MELBOURNE at the very bottom
Given Melbourne’s location
Well-made martini $16 comprehensive bar and restaurant reviews are a feature. of the world, there’s not a lot a traveller can do
QUEENSCLIFF MUSIC FESTIVAL
www.qmf.net.au Litre of bottled water $1.75 Art Almanac (www.art-almanac.com.au) Stalwart art to lessen the impact of air travel. A new age
An out-of-town festival that’s possible in Café latte $3 listings magazine which covers both public and commercial of passenger liners might be upon us, but not
a day trip, but the great range of local Bowl of pasta $16 galleries. quite yet. Travelling between Australian cit-
acts will make you want to stay for the Souvenir t-shirt you’re in the wrong town Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov ies also involves vast distances, and there are
weekend. .au/weather/vic) The BOM do up-to-the-minute informa- no rapid train services that make rail such an
Unreserved admission to the MCG $20.30
tion on Victorian weather and warnings. attractive alternative in Europe.
If you’re not venturing out of the city, you cutting down on shower times and ensuring
won’t need a rental car – the city’s public trans- taps aren’t left running (while brushing your
port system can get you everywhere you’ll want teeth for instance) can make a real difference.
to go and save you on the hassle of parking. Make sure you take the half-flush option when
Consider hiring a bike (p171) to explore park- you flush the loo and rehang your towels in
land, the bay or the banks of the Yarra. your hotel bathroom so the house cleaning
The drought that has gripped the southeast- staff don’t wash them after every use.
ern states of Australia is an ongoing concern. Other things that will score green points are
Even if substantial rains fall, the problems saying no to plastic bags (you’ll notice locals use
with the city and the state’s water supply look violently green reusable bags sold by supermar-
like they are here to stay. Mandatory water kets for a token amount), using refillable water
restrictions are in place for residents, who bottles for drinking and making sure all your
are forbidden to use hoses or sprinklers to litter, including cigarette butts, goes in the bin
water their gardens or wash their cars. Do (the correct bin too – recycling bins are often an
GETTING STARTED SUSTAINABLE MELBOURNE
your bit by being conscious of your water option). If you stamp butts out in the street, it’s
usage while in the city. Simple measures like an odds-on bet they’ll end up in the bay.
TH E AUTH O R S
Donna Wheeler ing backgrounds. When she’s not writing
she’s playing with the grandkids (the number
Born in Sydney, and keeps increasing) or doing word puzzles and
brought up a fishing sudokus.
rod’s flick from the
harbour, Donna knew
her Darlinghurst days
were numbered when
Cath has lived in
she first set eyes upon East Gippsland for
a fog-clad St Kilda the past eight years
Pier as a teenage art and explores Gipps-
student. There have land's national parks,
been stints in New beaches and coastal
York, London and rural Ireland, but Mel-
towns as often as she
bourne’s art scene, bands, bars, coffee and
can with her partner
wry sense of self has held her wandering eye
and two children.
for almost two decades.
Cath also lived in
Donna has commissioned food guides and
online features for Lonely Planet and has South Gippsland for
worked as a digital producer, content strate- three years, where she worked as a journalist
gist and art director. She has studied visual on a local newspaper.
arts, English literature and is a graduate of
RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing pro- Rowan McKinnon
gram. She now devotes her time to freelance Rowan is a freelance
writing and editing. This is her second book writer and musician,
for Lonely Planet. and a native Melbur-
nian. He knows that
Jocelyn Harewood his home town is
Jocelyn lives in Mel- Australia's greatest
bourne but regional city and one of the
Victoria is her holi- world's great places
day destination. From to live. He grew up
snow-skiing to water- on the outer bayside
skiing, bush-camp- suburban fringe in
ing to lazing by a the 1970s, but now lives in the inner south-
river, wine touring east with his partner and children and a
to gourmet retreats, mortgage on a modest weatherboard house.
she always heads Rowan's worked on many Lonely Planet
north a way. She even books including three Australian titles, but
sets her teenage-fiction books in Victoria’s mostly works in the islands of the South
towns because they provide such interest- Pacific.
LONELY PLANET AUTHORS
Why is our travel information the best in the world? It’s simple: our authors are passionate, dedicated travellers. They
don’t take freebies in exchange for positive coverage so you can be sure the advice you’re given is impartial. They travel
widely to all the popular spots, and off the beaten track. They don’t research using just the internet or phone. They
discover new places not included in any other guidebook. They personally visit thousands of hotels, restaurants, palaces,
trails, galleries, temples and more. They speak with dozens of locals every day to make sure you get the kind of insider
knowledge only a local could tell you. They take pride in getting all the details right, and in telling it how it is. Think
you can do it? Find out how at lonelyplanet.com.