When Melbourne gets hot, it gets seriously hot. Having experienced some searing summers, locals really know how to embrace (or alternatively, escape) the heat and as such this is a city geared for some serious summer fun.
These are some of our favourite ways to spend a toasty day in Melbourne.
1. See some sport
Melbourne has been dubbed the “sporting capital of Australia” and there’s no denying that this city puts on a good show. Summer in Melbourne means it’s time for the Australian Open and the Boxing Day Test. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a huge fan of cricket or tennis – it’s worth going to drink up the atmosphere at these world class events. If you don’t want to shell out for tickets the Australian Open puts on some free concerts right near the arena, so you can still get in on the vibe.
2. Beers in the great outdoors
Melbourne has some of the best pubs in the country as well as some of the best beer gardens and rooftop bars in Australia. You can spend an excellent afternoon hopping between some favourites including Madame Brussels in the city, Naked for Satan in Fitzroy and the new(ish) beer garden at the Corner Hotel in Richmond. Be sure to also check out some of the al fresco bars right by the Yarra down behind Federation Square in the city.
The cascading water across the front window will instantly make you feel cooler as you make your way into this fabulous arts centre.
The NGV is actually Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum. It sprawls across two galleries, located within walking distance of one another. You’ll discover fabulous collections of both classic and contemporary art, from Australia and overseas. Entry is free to the permanent collection.
4. Spend the day on the beach in St Kilda
Sure, you’ll be surrounded by backpackers, but there’s no denying the vibe on St Kilda Beach on a summer’s day. Have a tipple at the iconic Esplanade Hotel (there might even be a decent band playing), take a ride on the Big Dipper at Luna Park and then laze around on the beach and do a spot of people watching. Before catching the tram home, of course.
Lygon Street in the suburb of Carlton is the home of Italian food in Melbourne and that means it’s the home of the city’s best gelato. Pidapipo has quickly gained a reputation as the hot spot for the cold sticky stuff. Often there’ll be queues down the street, it’s that good. Once you’ve selected your flavour (the pistachio is a winner) take a walk back towards the city and finish with a stroll around the awe-inspiring Melbourne Museum.
6. A barbecue by the Yarra
It’s sad but true. Melbourne doesn’t have Sydney’s glittering harbour. But what it does have is the undeniably brown Yarra River, which is actually a damn fine spot for a riverside barbecue with friends. Find a barbie out the front of the Botanic Gardens and settle in for an afternoon session where you can watch the rowers going through the drills down the river.
The northern suburbs of Melbourne (well, Preston to be exact) has just been blessed with a wonderland that will delight both young and old. As soon as you enter you realise this is not your average brewery. Sure, you can taste some of Moon Dog’s excellent brews (there are 72 taps at the main bar), but there’s also a jungle area, a lagoon, a hidden Tiki disco bar, an indoor waterfall and a pinball arcade. There’s also a playground for little people making this a truly family-friendly venue. You’ll also get tasty burgers, share plates and desserts from the kitchen.
Set atop what has been dubbed a “vertical laneway” at Curtin House (there’s a series of cool bars, eateries and shops to discover on every floor) is the Rooftop Cinema that runs throughout the warmer months. Surrounded by the glittering lights of the city skyscrapers, this is a spectacular night out (there are some great food offerings here as well – grab a pre-show drink and some Thai inspired cuisine from Cookie downstairs).
Approximately 20 minutes from the CBD is the Fairfield Boat Shed. Set on a peaceful spot beside the river you can either relax on the banks in the shade and enjoy tea and scones, or be more adventurous and hire a row boat, canoe or kayak for a spot of paddling.
10. Picnic in the park
Melbourne is, unfortunately, not known for its beaches. So Melburnians embrace their parks with gusto in the summer months. Whether it’s Albert Park by the lake, Princes Park up near Carlton, Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy or Fawkner Park in South Yarra, these grassy spots come alive in the balmy weather with families having picnics, apartment-dwellers catching up with friends and anyone wanting to sink their toes into the cool grass and capitalise on these lush public spaces.