Last updated on October 29th, 2018 at 09:18 pm
Call me crazy, however, I really do like these first days of cold weather. I think they bring back many memories from my adolescence spent in the chilly north of Italy. But it’s not probably the only reason.
There are so many things to do in Melbourne during winter, night markets are at the top of my list. I hardly spend a day at home during the winter season (whenever I have some spare time that is).
Do not get me wrong, I enjoy the summer too, but most of the days in Melbourne are so hot that moving around can be a challenge. And that is why you will probably find me at St Kilda beach, doing some windsurfing or making castles with my little boy.
But let’s get straight into my bucket list of must-do activities during Melbourne’s winter time.
This list includes both activities and places to see or visit, with a few of them quite unique to the winter season. Others could be done also in summer, although the high temperature may be a problem.
Some of these places and activities are indoor which make it perfect for the rainy days (more than a few in winter).
If you are looking to find fantastic Melbourne accommodation for your stay, then I suggest starting with areas like Melbourne’s CBD and St Kilda.
Let me be honest from the beginning, this is not the most modern rink in Melbourne. It’s more on the vintage side. It’s like stepping back in time and that is what makes it so interesting.
Most of the seats, as well as the changing rooms, still have a wooden design. In saying that the ice oval is perfect and, if you go with kids you can hire a friendly penguin for $5 to help in the learning process.
There are a few indoor free climbing places in Melbourne and Northside in Brunswick is one of my favourites. It has all levels of difficulty, so you can start easy and move up on more challenging walls.
Another great place, especially for kids, is Clip ‘N Climb in Richmond. Besides the walls, this place has some interesting spots to climb and jump between, to get that freefall feeling for the adrenaline seekers.
A great attraction for both kids and adults. I love Bounce in Glen Iris for its many different sections, with some dedicated to kids and others for the grownups. X-Park, is an area with obstacles and challenges that are sure to give even the fittest adults a hard time.
Go-karting in summer can be a hot and sweaty experience, driving around the track for hours racing friends with your blood pumping. When you go during winter you’ll enjoy the cooler temperatures but still, get heated up vying for first place.
Go to Auscarts Racing in Port Melbourne for the indoor experience on those horrible rainy days.
This is fun in all seasons but it becomes awesome and unique when you have mud and possibly rain, making for a slippery, slidey race track. Perfect for the average winter day.
Go to Werribee (Mount Cottrell) for a few laps at the organised rally circuit.
Driving a V8 race car is every little boy’s dream come true. Simulator Word in Docklands has one of the best simulation systems in Australia and has been a spot locals flock to during the colder days in winter.
Another absolutely unreal simulation activity is the ability to sit in a ‘real’ cockpit and fly one of the commercial aeroplanes that you see in the skies daily. You get to be the pilot for one day and practice your aviation skills.
The simulator is in Essendon Fields, just next to the airport (what a coincidence).
Starting to see a pattern that during winter a lot of the activities we like to get up to are inside!
Well, now you will be stuck inside with friends trying to solve puzzles and escape your confinements using only the available items in that room. The unique thing is that the story evolves in different directions based on the decisions you take so that you can revisit the place multiple times.
There is one in Glen Waverley, taking inspiration from ancient Egyptian times when Pharaohs ruled.
Another interesting set up is the LOST Australia Station in Carlton, with some of the toughest escape rooms in Melbourne.
I go to St Kilda sea baths on a weekly basis in winter. Swimming is certainly one of the reasons however it is not the main one.
So, why do I suggest it?
The Sea baths are right in front of the beach and they have a hot pool, for thalassotherapy, and a steam bath too. The greatest shock you can give to your body is to spend some time in the steam bath and then dive into the freezing sea. Amazing, and yes I do it regularly and I am still alive.
If you’re looking to visit this beautiful beachside suburb, book St Kilda accommodation nearby and visit the amazing sea baths as much as possible.
The cold weather is always a great incentive to spend more time in the kitchen, especially on the drizzly days.
Here I suggest one class called Holaconlola. This Spanish cooking class is ran by Lola in South Melbourne.
Firstly, she will take you to the local market to source all the ingredients. Then it’s time to cook delicious paella. Once ready, sit and enjoy your food with your fellow chefs. A great social experience and something you can take home and adapt upon.
The State Library Victoria is such an underrated place to visit in Melbourne, especially in winter.
Once in, go straight to the reading room, under the dome. You will be surprised by the beautiful Victorian architecture.
You have here also free unlimited internet and access to most of the Australian and international magazines and newspapers.
There are a few winter night markets in Melbourne. The one I suggest and should not be missed is the Queen Victoria Night Market. Starting June 6th through to August 29th, every Wednesday you can embrace the cold with the lovely locals and experience the great atmosphere between 5-10PM.
You can easily spend the full night here with an incredible selection of international food stalls, live music throughout the night and occasional art performances.
Of course hot chocolate and mulled wine are available, essential for those extra cold nights. You almost feel like you’re in a Europe market during Christmas time.
The Australian Football League (Aussie Rules) is the main winter sport in Victoria and possibly Australia (or is it rugby league? We’ll, it probably depends in which city you ask LOL)
Melbourne certainly lives for AFL in winter. Lots of games played across the weekend with a unique atmosphere that can only be experienced at the stadium. Try to book a ticket at the MCG, the biggest stadium in the southern hemisphere.
There is a weekly event happening in Federation Square, just check the website for more information about what’s on and coming up.
The one I like the most is the solstice celebration with the Aboriginal campfires and art installations, I highly suggest taking the time to make it to one event.
This event is usually scheduled at the end of July. The Open House Melbourne Weekend allows you to visit places otherwise usually closed to the public, like the Parliament house, the synagogue, the town hall, the underground Russell Place substation and so many more.
Unmissable in any season, but during winter it’s just perfect for avoiding those stormy days.
The kids can enjoy themselves in the kid section right after you’ve seen all the art pieces you wanted to see first.
There are so many pubs in Melbourne. Only a few have however a great selection of craft beers, a beautiful interior and a lovely warm real wood fireplace, surrounded by old leather armchairs.
Go to The Local Taphouse and enjoy this vintage atmosphere.
It gets harder and harder the colder the weather turns to remain active and fit with a nice jog outside or gym session.
Well with hot yoga there is no more excuses!
The following section is more dedicated to things to do in Melbourne during winter with kids, especially on the really horrible rainy days.
There are a lot of great indoor playgrounds around Melbourne.
I suggest however another one in Docklands called Chipmunks. It has a fantastic cafe for the parents to relax, while the kids go crazy on the playing equipment.
Moreover, they offer 2 hours parking included in the ticket which gives you enough time to do some quick shopping.
If you are after a place to get your kids physically exhausted, then Rampfest in Braybrook is the perfect destination.
It’s a huge indoor park with ramps and half-pipes which is perfect for skateboarding, scooters or BMX. Scooters and helmets can be rented on site.
The 5 x 7 foam pit section is every kid’s favourite, being able to test new tricks and dive into the deep cushion pool.
NRG Force in Thomastown is another indoor adventure great at keeping the kids busy. A large group of kids can spend all day here and still come back for round two the next day.
Two teams are organised on site and every member has a laser gun. The objective to run around the level and tag the opposing team.
Every Friday in winter you can view some beautiful fireworks in the Docklands area. They usually start at 7:30pm however food trucks and the music kicks off at 6:30pm and finishes at 8:30pm. All free and a big favourite with kids of all ages.
I hope you enjoy this detailed guide of some of the most interesting things to do in Melbourne during winter. Adults and children have plenty of activities to tick off and keep warm during the cold season.
Enjoy winter in Melbourne 🙂
Stef Ferro is the founder and editor of MEL365, a travel & photography website made to enhance the travelling experience and improve the photography work.
Stef is a professional travel photographer with past experience in the cycling and film industry.
Stef runs travel photography workshops in Melbourne and around the world.