Melbourne and the state of Victoria is never shy when it comes to hosting events. With Melbourne being the home of Australian sport, teamed with the local region’s beaches and the ever so famous Grampians, it’s safe to say Victoria will never leave you feeling unsatisfied. So when you have ventured to the land down under, make the most of it with Melbourne’s activity calendar.
JANUARY – FESTIVAL OF SAILS, MELBOURNE TO GEELONG
Thousands of spectators descend on Melbourne for the start of the Festival of Sails. Starting from Melbourne it heads to Geelong Passage, and is followed by the three day event from Geelong to Corio Bay. 450 yachts and over 4,500 sailors compete in this annual event. Held over Australia Day weekend, it’s a popular event for sailing fans, families and locals. While the sailing is in full swing, there are plenty of activities to get involved in, live entertainment, performers, gourmet food and wine, art and craft markets. You also get to try your hand at sailing with the ‘Come and Try’ sports zone. The event concludes with an impressive fireworks display, something the Aussies know how to do best.
MARCH – RIP CURL PRO, BELLS BEACH
As Easter Sunday approaches, it can only mean one thing in the sporting world – it’s time to descend on Bells Beach. The Rip Curl Pro is the only professional sporting event to be held in Australia on Easter Sunday, so there is no better place for sporting fans to flock.
The best male and female surfers from all over the world gather for this prestigious event, and after 52 years it’s become one of THE titles to win (and we are for any cause that demands us to grace the sands). But there can only be one deserving winner and everyone waits to see who will get to ring the prized bell on the final day of competition. As well as watching the surfers battling it out, there is plenty for the fans and surfers alike to do, as there are activities on the beach and local pubs dotted about – all of which host legendary parties around the town.
MARCH TO APRIL – MELBOURNE’S INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL, MELBOURNE
For just over three weeks the laughs keep rolling when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival arrives. And 2013 is set to be a big year. Big names and small prices are pleasing for everyone, and so is the array of acts. Laughs are dished out by the most popular local comics as well as international guests, from stand-up to theatre, music, film and visual art.
There is something to make even the stoniest faced punter leak a giggle. Majority of tickets can be brought on the day, and with numerous venues dotted around the city you can go from show to show as the play all day, even till the early hours for those that can’t resist.
MAY – RUN THE GAP, GRAMPIANS
Halls Gap is in the heart of the majestic Grampians National Park, one of Victoria’s most stunning natural landmarks. And in 2013 it will play host to Run the Gap event. You choose the distance to run or walk of either 6km or go the full distance of 11km, which includes running along the wall of Lake Bellfield. Furry faces can be seen along your journey; kangaroos skip along as well as emus, echidnas and wallabies all living within the natural surroundings.
All profits go towards extending walk and bike tracks around the area, making it much more accessible for visitors and locals alike. But what charity event wouldn’t be complete without an Aussie BBQ at the finish line? Halls Gap Village put another shrimp on the barbie, so you can bask in the sunshine and take in the views of Mt. William and the spectacular Sierra Ranges.
SEPTEMBER – TESSELAAR TULIP FESTIVAL, SILVAN
Just an hour’s drive out of the hustle and bustle of Melbourne and you’ll be surrounded by over half a million tulips of more than 100 different varieties. Now into its 60th year, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in the stunning Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges region promises to be something even more remarkable.
It’s a sensory overload for the eyes and nose; stunning colours mixed together, with a fragrance that perfumes the air. And for a souvenir wander to the ‘pick-your-own patch’ and select your favourite flowers for your own personal bouquet. Food and wine aplenty is available every day or if you prefer bring a picnic, throw a rug on the lawns and enjoy the general ambience of the festival and daily entertainment. The most popular weekends are the ‘Food, Wine and Jazz’ and the ‘Irish Weekend’.
OCTOBER – MELBOURNE FESTIVAL, MELBOURNE
Two weeks see the display of the cream of Australian and international theatre, dance, visual arts, opera and music culminate into the Melbourne Festival. It’s a celebration of art and culture from around the world, which seems only right to be celebrated in the most cultured and art forward city in Australia.
Indoor and outdoor events continue throughout the whole two weeks, and Melbourne exclusively debuts the finest calibre of acts. The festival is a buzz all over the city centre with having as many people as possible involved. A wide range of tickets are available for numerous venues, plus countless freebies are up for grabs. It’s an amazing time of the year to be in the city, as it completely comes alive, celebrating the spectacle that is Melbourne City.
DECEMBER – VODAFONE BOXING DAY TEST MCG, MELBOURNE
For the Aussie’s cricket is kind of a big deal. And nothing shows their competitive nature more than an English invasion. So come Boxing Day the world of cricket tune into the AUSvENG Test hosted by the ever-so enviable Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). With the Ashes already in full swing, to win at the MCG will be glorious. It’s the most prestigious cricket ground in the world and can hold 100,000 cheering fans. To put it straight the Australian’s would be devastated to be defeated, and the English team would become heroes.
For the routing fans that can’t make it into the stadium, then have no fear. The Outfield precinct provides interactive displays at Yarra Park and Federation Square is swarmed with spectators all watching eagerly on the big screens. Oh – and being a test match means it goes on for five days, that being we don’t bowl the Aussies out with an innings spare.