As the days get colder in Melbourne, we get closer to the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. 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. We’ve found some lovely winter solstice festivities happening around Melbourne, as well as further out in Victoria.
1. Docklands Firelight Festival
After delighting us last year, the Docklands Firelight Festival is coming back to celebrate the winter solstice in Melbourne. Head to Docklands and celebrate the longest night of the year with food, music and more. This year, the event will run from Friday June 30 to Sunday July 2. Stay tuned to this website for updates.
📍New Quay Promenade, Harbour Esplanade and Victoria Harbour Promenade
2. CERES Winter Solstice
Visit CERES in Brunswick and celebrate the darkness with mulled wine, fire performances and live music. Feast on winter warmers made from local produce, and have fun with family-friendly activities, like UV face painting and lantern making for the kids. Watch dance performances and check out food trucks. The night will culminate with a blazing fire finale – a ceremonial fire sculpture.
The CERES Winter Solstice event will take place on Saturday June 24, from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. Tickets cost $25 for adults. More info here.
📍 Stewart St & Roberts St, Roberts St, Brunswick East VIC 3057
3. Collingwood Children’s Farm Winter Solstice Bonfire
Collingwood Children’s Farm is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their beloved Winter Solstice Bonfire. As you can guess from the name, there will be a massive bonfire to mark the solstice, as well as live music, fire lanterns, face painting and storytelling. There’s also heaps of food and drink from local vendors to enjoy, with a sausage sizzle run by the Farm, and a variety of food trucks. Feast on donuts, churros, tacos, calamari and more. Then, head to the bar and relax with mulled wine and beer.
Tickets are sure to sell out fast, and cost $25 per adult. The Bonfire will take place on Saturday June 17.
📍18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC 3067
4. Montsalvat WinterFest
Montsalvat is celebrating the season with WinterFest. Visit the beautiful grounds and enjoy an evening of art, dance, fire twirlers, live music and poetry readings. Stay warm by the fire, and indulge in some delicious food and mulled wine. WinterFest will take place on Saturday July 8, from 5pm to 9pm. General admission tickets are $25 for adults. Find out more here.
📍7 Hillcrest Ave, Eltham VIC 3095
5. Belgrave Lantern Festival
Embrace the longest night of the year at the Belgrave Lantern Festival. Take part in a dazzling lantern parade on June 24, and journey around the community. The entire township will light up with pop-ups, with plenty of art, music, workshops, circus acts, music and firepits to discover. There will also be lantern-making workshops at Belgrave Library in the lead-up to the festival, but you’re welcome to bring your own on the night. Festivities will run from 5pm to 8pm. See more here.
📍Belgrave VIC 3160
6. Eynesbury Winter Festival
Head out to Eynesbury on Saturday July 1, and celebrate the solstice from 5pm. On top of the usual festivities, like ice skating, they’ll have a bonfire and fire performers to light up the night. There will also be African drumming and an interactive drum workshop. The night will end with fireworks from 7:45pm. Entry to the festival is free. More details here.
📍487 Eynesbury Rd, Eynesbury VIC 3338
7. The Shortest Lunch
Treat yourself to a day sipping wine around the Yarra Valley at The Shortest Lunch. Visit nine boutique and family-owned wineries, meet the makers, and pair your wine with delicious food. Take in sweeping views and heat up by roaring fires. The Shortest Lunch will take place on Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18, in celebration of the winter solstice. Daily tickets are $35 and weekend tickets are $50. See more details here.
8. East Gippsland Winter Festival
The annual East Gippsland Winter Festival is lighting up the region from June 9 to July 9. And with over 100 events to look forward to, you can bet that some of them will be celebrating the winter solstice on June 22. Start the day with a chilly sunrise swim in the waters of Gippsland Lakes, take part in a Kunda Dance class in Bairnsdale, and feel a sense of renewal with a meditation and bathing ritual at Metung Hot Springs. Explore the full program here.