Winter is finally here! And just because the sun sets earlier, and the nights are colder, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. In fact, several highly-anticipated events are starting in Melbourne this month, including the magical Lightscape at Royal Botanic Gardens and Connections exhibition at The Lume. Here are our recommendations on some of the best things to do, try and eat in Melbourne and beyond this June.
1. Feel captivated by RISING festival
RISING festival is returning to Melbourne over 12 fascinating nights this June. Celebrate Melbourne’s art, culture, food and music scene underneath the winter moon. Expect a massive program of 185 events, featuring over 400 artists including 35 commissions and 12 world premieres. Then, celebrate Melbourne’s culinary scene with some incredible bites. RISING will run from Wednesday June 7 to Sunday June 18.
2. Go skating at The Rink at Rising
Go ice skating under twinkling lights at The Rink at Rising. If you can’t go during the festival, don’t worry. They’ve extended the season to include the school holidays, so that the rink will be open from June 23 until July 8. On top of the skating, there will be fun things to see and do, like art workshops and DJs. Get your tickets here.
3. Have a brie-illant time at Mould: A Cheese Festival
Say cheese! Australia’s most celebrated cheese festival is coming back to Melbourne this June. Find over 25 local producers showcasing over 100 varieties of Australian-made dairy products. Mould: A Cheese Festival will take over The Timber Yard in Port Melbourne from June 2 to 4.
4. Have a hole-some day out at the Donut Festival
The popular Donut Festival is coming back to Queen Vic Market. Expect delicious donuts of all shapes and sizes, such as vegan donuts, churros, and of course, jam donuts. Round up your crew and treat yourself on Saturday June 3 and Sunday June 4. Find out more.
5. Return to the wonderful Winter Night Market
Head over to Queen Vic Market and warm up with roaring fires, toasty street food and blazing entertainment. Winter Night Market will run from 5pm to 10pm, from June 7 to August 30.
6. Heat up with a mulled wine and hot cheese party
Welcome to Thornbury is throwing their third annual Mulled Wine and Hot Cheese Party. Embrace the start of winter and warm up at a dedicated mulled wine and hot toddy bar, then indulge in hot cheese varieties from your favourite food trucks. This party will take place on Saturday June 3, from 4pm to 9pm.
7. Find a sense of wonder at Colours of Pixar
Remember your favourite Pixar stories, moments and characters at Colours of Pixar exhibition in Collingwood. Seven local artists have created immersive displays for you to enjoy. This exhibition will open for a limited season from Wednesdays to Saturdays at Lamington Drive Gallery. It’s on from Saturday June 3 to Saturday June 24.
8. Feel a sense of Connection at The Lume
The Lume will celebrate First Peoples art and music with their immersive exhibition, Connection. Feel amazed by swirling projections around the 3,000 square metre gallery space, and check out a display of original art. Over 110 visual and musical artists will be featured, making Connection the largest representation of First Peoples art and culture ever assembled. Connection will open on Friday June 23.
9 See the most extensive Australian exhibition on Rembrandt at NGV
Head to NGV International and explore over four decades of prolific artist Rembrandt. Discover over 100 etchings and see iconic pieces loaned from public collections around the world. The exhibition will open on Friday June 2, and stay in town until Sunday September 10.
10. Check out the NGV exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi
NGV is partnering with France’s Musée d’Orsay to present their Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi. It will feature over 100 works by Bonnard, a 20th century French painter, presented within a contemporary scenography by award-winning architect and designer, India Mahdavi. The exhibition will open from June 9 to October 8.
11. Stay out late at NGV Friday Nights
The popular NGV Friday Nights is coming back this winter, in celebration of the upcoming Pierre Bonnard exhibition. Expect a massive line-up of live performances, DJ sets, bars and dining inspired by regional French cuisine. NGV Friday Nights will kick off on June 9, and continue until October 7.
12. Wander through this vivid reimagining of The Parthenon at NGV
See this gorgeous installation, complete with colourful artworks from local creators, in the Grollo Equiset Garden at NGV for free.
13. Get nice and cosy with the Raclette Igloo Experience
In a car park at Fed Square, you’ll feel transported to the French Alps thanks to the Raclette Igloo Experience. Nestle inside an igloo, and warm up with melted cheese, cured meats, mulled wine and more. It will run in Melbourne until Sunday June 11.
14. Wander through twinkling light installations at Lightscape
After a sell-out season last year, the gorgeous, after-dark experience, Lightscape, is coming back to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. Wander through the green heart of Melbourne with a new trail that stretches just over two kilometres. As you journey along the path, you’ll discover shimmering lights, large-scale sculptures and more. Lightscape will illuminate Melbourne during the winter nights, from June 16 to August 6.
15. Find a sense of magic in Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature at Melbourne Museum
An enchanting new exhibition is now showing at Melbourne Museum, all the way from the Natural History Museum in London and Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment. Grab your wand and get ready for Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature. This remarkable exhibition combines science, nature and fantasy, connecting the animals that roam our planet with the magical creatures from the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts film series.
16. Stay cosy in your own private igloo
The Wharf Hotel is bringing back their popular igloo experience. Journey to the Lower Wharf on the banks of the Yarra and feel transported to a winter forest. Step inside your igloo, and enjoy a selection of delicious food and drink. There’s nine igloos available. Bookings are available from Friday June 9. More info here.
17. Have a practically perfect time at the Mary Poppins musical
Everyone’s favourite nanny is has flown into Melbourne. See Mary Poppins, Bert and more beloved characters come to life in this spectacular stage adaptation by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
18. Celebrate the best in Victorian drinks at venues around Melbourne
The Drink Victorian program is taking over 100 bars, pubs and restaurants around Melbourne this June. These venues will highlight local drinks, giving you the opportunity to try some of the best wine, cider, beer and spirits from around the state. There will also be a series of special events to check out. Drink Victorian will run from June 1 to 30.
19. Find glow in the dark desserts at Dessertopia by 196below
Dessertopia by 196below is bringing glow in the dark desserts to South Melbourne this June. This special event, known as Neon Nights, will feature glowing cakes, luminous ice cream and everything in between. Bookings are available from June 1.
20. Frolic at the Festival of Magic in Kryal Castle
Feel transported to a magical world at Kryal Castle. This spectacular attraction near Ballarat will be the perfect place for you to release your inner witch or wizard. Make potions, try out spells, take part in tarot readings and see live performances. The Festival of Magic will run from Saturday June 10 to Monday June 12.
21. Do the time warp at The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show is now playing at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre for its 50th anniversary tour. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a ‘virgin’, you’ll have fun when Frank N Further, The Narrator, Brad, Janet and more come to town.
22. Feel enchanted at Midnight the musical
Loosely inspired by the classic Cinderella story, Midnight the musical features Ella, a feisty young heroine, and The Prince, who is captivated by her and finds himself in uncharted territory. Can he prove his worth, and can she ignite his desire for change? All of this must be done, in classic fairy tale fashion, before the clock strikes twelve. Midnight will play for a strictly limited season at the Comedy Theatre from June 22.
23. Feel awed by the ACMI exhibition, Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion
ACMI is paying tribute to formidable women on screen with their blockbuster exhibition, Goddess. See large-scale projections, never-before-seen costumes, cinematic treasures and more. There will also be events and interactive experiences, like curator tours and live music nights. Goddess is running in Melbourne from now until October 1.
24. Explore free art at Melbourne Now
Discover the work of over 200 Victorian artists and creatives at Melbourne Now. This free exhibition is on display at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square from now until August 20.
25. Take part in the St Kilda Film Festival
St Kilda Film Festival is coming back for its 39th year. Celebrate local short filmmakers and screen artists at Australia’s longest-running short film festival, with screenings, workshops, panels and more. The festival will run from June 1 to 12. More info here.
26. Treat yourself at the Brownie Festival
The marvellous chocolatiers from the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Great Ocean Road are bringing back their brilliant Brownie Festival. Running from June 7 to 25, you’ll be able to try 16 different brownie flavours! On top of that, there’s brownie ice cream and more brownie-inspired bites to enjoy every day of the festival.
27. Have fun at Oz Comic-Con
Whether you want to get an autographed signed, cosplay as your favourite character, buy one-of-a-kind creations, or just have a nice day out with friends, Oz Comic-Con is the perfect place to get in touch with your pop culture side. Find it at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on June 10 and 11. More info here.
28. Sip your way through the Roam Rutherglen Winery Walkabout
Australia’s longest running wine festival is returning on June 10 and 11. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Roam Rutherglen Winery Walkabout will showcase the best wineries around the region, with premium tastings, cellar door experiences and live entertainment. There’s also a hop-on, hop-off bus loop, so you don’t have to worry about driving. Find more details here.
29. Discover a Taste of Portugal at Queen Vic Market
Head to Queen Vic Market and celebrate at the Taste of Portugal festival. This cultural event unites Portuguese-speaking communities, including Brazil and East Timor. Try plenty of street food and drink, take part in cooking workshops and dance classes, dance to music and more. The festival will run from 10am to 4pm on Sunday June 11. More info here.
30. See the Children’s International Film Festival
Do you have a budding film buff? Take them to the Children’s International Film Festival! Perfect for those aged 3 to 16, this festival features a curated collection of feature length and short films. Expect a mix of non-verbal, foreign and English-language films.
In Melbourne, this festival will run at Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick, Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn and Cameo Cinemas in Belgrave. It will play until June 12. Find more info here.
31. Let it go with Frozen in Concert
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Frozen with a screening on June 17. Watch Elsa, Anna and your favourite Frozen characters on the big screen, while MSO performs the movie soundtrack live. Check it out at The Plenary at 1pm or 7pm. More info here.
32. Check out the Starry Sky exhibition at Met Art World
Visit Met Art World in Port Melbourne and feel transported to another world, with their immersive Starry Sky exhibition. Journey through mazes, enter a digital tunnel, see plenty of twinkling lights and more.
33. Feast on bottomless brunch at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters
Welcome the colder months with a comforting bottomless brunch at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters in Fed Square. Expect a seasonal menu of autumn and winter warmers, paired with bottomless Starward whisky cocktails. This new offering, known as Winter Saturday Sessions, will run every Saturday until July 29.
34. Unwind at the soothing candlelit meditation experience, Mindful Glow
Feeling stressed? Calm your mind and release tension in the body at Mindful Glow. Lose yourself in the tranquil candlelit space, and take part in mindful meditation and calming breathwork. This experience will take place at 75 Reid Street on June 17. Get your tickets here.
35. Visit this pop-up bake shop
Find a selection of divine cakes by Rosemary Andrews at the Co. Bake Space in Richmond. Find delicious cake slices, including a seven layers of heaven cake, with flavours like honey-misu and strawberry lamingtons. There will also be other baked goods and cookies. Find it on Saturday June 17, from 10am until sold out.
36. Be whisked away to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The magical story of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been reimagined as a one-part play. See a whole new generation of young wizards take the stage, with fascinating illusions, a heartfelt story and more. Return to Hogwarts at the Princess Theatre.
37. Experience a candlelit dinner at Old Melbourne Gaol
On June 23, diners will be invited to enter the foreboding gates of the infamous Old Melbourne Gaol for a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience. Trailblazers in providing unique dinners in unexpected venues globally, The Spot Experience will be your hosts at this 178-year-old jail. Get ready to enjoy a three-course dinner with a selection of Australian wines under the soft glow of candlelight. Grab your tickets here.
38. Dive in to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
Go on an immersive journey with their digital exhibition, Submerged, and see the wonder of underwater worlds. Start on a shimmering shoreline and dive below the depths into the bioluminescent unknown.
39. See the pop-tacular Shakespearean musical, & Juliet
See Shakespeare get a remix with some of the most beloved pop anthems in upcoming, Olivier-Award-winning musical, & Juliet. Find it at the Regent Theatre this month. More info here.
40. See the best of Wes Anderson every Thursday
Head to Palace Westgarth in Northcote and see a Wes Anderson movie every Thursday night in June. Explore the filmmaker’s cinematic canon before the release of Asteroid City on June 22, with films like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Fantastic Mr Fox.
41. Unleash your creativity at Chaos Lab
From the Control Room to the Science Lab, the Mirror Maze to the Ball Pit, Chaos Lab is a fun experience for all kids who want to play, explore and create. Find it at The District Docklands. Tickets are on sale now.
42. Taste your way through Sorrento in this month-long celebration
After a seven year hiatus, Taste Sorrento is coming back in June. This time, it will be a month-long festival, celebrating the best gourmet food and drink from around Sorrento. Find more info here.
43. Feel dazzled by lasers at Botanic By Night
Wilson Botanic Park will light up with a spectacular laser show over the winter school holidays. This park in Berwick will open after hours, so that you can admire this stunning display over Anniversary Lake. Around the park, there will also be plenty of creative light installations to discover. Botanic By Night will run from Friday June 23 to Sunday June 25, and Thursday June 29 to Saturday July 1.
44. Find something wonderful at this craft fair in Queen Vic Market
At CRFT*WRK, you’ll discover locally-made goods from independent creators at Queen Vic Market. Find art, ceramics, jewellery, homewares and more. This festival will run on Saturday June 24 from 9am to 4pm. See more here.
45. Go on a dining adventure at the Culinary Cinema Experience
Celebrate the film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, with a special dining experience at Village Cinemas. Enjoy three themed courses while you watch the film. This special menu is available for just three dates: Tuesday June 27, Friday June 30 and Saturday July 1.
46. Go ice skating and more at the Eynesbury Winter Festival
Eynesbury is transforming into a delightful winter wonderland for two weeks. Travel 40 minutes to Melbourne’s west for magic shows, ice skating, workshops and more. The Eynesbury Winter Festival will take place over the school holidays, from Friday June 23 to Sunday July 9.
47. Feel swept away by the Melbourne Magic Festival
See the largest magic festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, right here in Melbourne. This year, feel enchanted by over 130 performances of 30 different shows. Some of the guests this year have even fooled Penn & Teller! The Melbourne Magic Festival will run from June 26 to July 8. More info here.
48. Skate your way over to Disney on Ice
Explore a whole new world of magic and enchantment when Disney On Ice returns to Melbourne this June. Watch your favourite characters come to life, while performing high-flying acrobatics, surprising stunts and of course, world-class ice skating. The event this year will be celebrated as Disney on Ice presents 100 Years of Wonder, so you can expect the show to feel truly special. Find it at Rod Laver Arena from June 28 to July 2.
49. Celebrate the winter solstice
Embrace the darkness and the winter chill with celebrations and festivities around Melbourne. Warm up by roaring fires, feast on hearty winter meals and welcome new beginnings with the promise of sunlight and springtime. This year, the winter solstice will take place on Thursday June 22. See what’s happening here.
50. Experience the magic of a Candlelight Concert
The candlelit performances have taken place at venues like The Athenaeum and The Astor Theatre as well as at The Timber Yard, the Meat Market and Fed Square. With more venues being added to the growing list, there’s a Candlelight concert around every corner.
Candlelight concerts in June feature tributes to Queen, Joe Hisaishi, Taylor Swift and more. See what’s coming up here.
51. Get lit at Firelight Festival in Docklands
This fiery winter festival is returning to Docklands. Feel dazzled by fire sculptures, fire twirlers and more free entertainment, like live music, roving mythical creatures and African drumming. Then, feast on wintery food. Firelight Festival will run from June 30 to July 2.
52. Hop aboard the Train of Lights by Puffing Billy
Rug up this winter for an unforgettable moving light show. Journey through the Dandenong Ranges at night in an illuminated steam train, and see bright projections, hypnotic patterns and more. This experience starts on June 23 and ends on July 9.
53. Have fun at Adventure Park’s Winter Glow
Adventure Park is bringing back their dazzling Winter Glow experience this year. Escape to their delightful winter wonderland, and frolic in the snow, go on the rides, and marvel at the fire twirling and ice sculpting displays. This event will kick off on June 16, and run on select days until July 16.
54. Lose yourself in a mirror maze at Kaleidoscope
Enter a world of shifting illusions in this mesmerising installation made of glass, steel, mirrors and moving prisms. Find it on the forecourt of Geelong’s Johnstone Park. It will stay there until June 18.
55. Celebrate the winter solstice with small-batch wines at The Shortest Lunch
The Shortest Lunch is coming back to the Yarra Valley. Treat yourself over one wintery weekend, and sample tasty drops from small-batch wine producers. There’s nine wonderful wineries to choose from. Meet the makers at their cellar doors and enjoy handcrafted wines and tasty bites in front of a warm fire. The Shortest Lunch will take place on Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18.
56. Escape to the Woodend Winter Arts Festival
Looking for something to do over the King’s Birthday long weekend? Venture out to Macedon Ranges for the Woodend Winter Arts Festival. Enjoy classical music, projected art, fireworks and more. The festival will run from June 9 to 12. See the program here.
57. Head out of town for the Ballarat Winter Festival
Get into the winter spirit in Ballarat, with heaps of fun experiences. Gaze at the Winter Wonderlights in Sovereign Hill, go ice skating and more! The Ballarat Winter Festival starts on June 24 and ends on July 16. Find more information here.
58. Bundle up and explore the East Gippsland Winter Festival
The annual East Gippsland Winter Festival is returning for the third time, celebrating art, food, culture and nature over one glorious month. With over 100 events to look forward to, there’s a lot of reasons for you to drive out of Melbourne and explore the region this June. Expect a series of free activities, family-friendly events, picturesque locations and more. The East Gippsland Festival will start on Friday June 9 and end on Sunday July 9.
59. Escape to the snow this winter
Snow season is almost here! Discover the amazing alpine regions of Victoria, hit the slopes, build a snowman and more. Find out where to see snow in Victoria here. Get ideas about where to stay here.
60. See the Murray River illuminated with the beauty of Moama Lights
Moama Lights is returning and it’s bigger and brighter than ever. Taking over the NSW town of Moama and its twin Echuca across the water in Victoria, the festival is totally worth the drive out of town. Check it out at Horseshoe Lagoon from June 30 to July 23.