4 great day trips close to Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

Melbourne’s many exciting attractions and experiences draw in 2 million international tourists every year. However, too many people tend to confine themselves to the CBD. It’s worth taking a day trip from Melbourne. Why not add on a couple of days to explore some of the treasures of country Victoria with a day trip from Melbourne? Snap up a cheap hire car deal at Melbourne Airport and give one of these day trips below a go.

Werribee Open Range Zoo (pictured)
If you’re going to visit only one zoo during your stay in Melbourne, then this is it! Werribee Open Range Zoo is just 40 minutes west of the CBD. Step inside the zoo and you’ll feel as if you’re on another continent. Zebras, Rhinos and Giraffes roam the fields. You’ll also get to hand feed kangaroos and get close to many other Australian animals. Also make sure you take up a safari tour while you’re here. You won’t be sorry you decided to visit Werribee Open Range Zoo with the family.

Yarra Valley Wineries
A trip to the stunning Yarra Valley makes for the perfect day trip with your partner or friends. The region, which is only about half an hour north east of the CBD, is most famous for its wineries. There are tours that take you to wineries of your choice. Or you can self-drive to a few wineries and take everything at your own pace. It’s a scenic area, which deserves some stopping along the way to admire the rolling green hills. Driving the area yourself also means way you can enjoy wine tastings, lunch and more for as long as you like.

Puffing Billy
The Dandenong Ranges is home to the most famous open air steam train in Victoria. Puffing Billy ventures through lush forest from Belgrave to Emerald. Many visitors choose to dine on board Puffing Billy for lunch or dinner. But if you’re looking for a different kind of experience with the family then you can simply pack your own lunch and have a picnic when you get off at Emerald Lake Park.

Phillip Island
Drive two hours east of Melbourne and you’ll find yourself at the lovely Phillip Island. It’s one of the best day trips from the city and many Melburnians make this trip every year. The surf beaches are among the best in Victoria and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal by the beach. The penguin parade is always a favourite with tourists. Watch fairy penguins catch the waves into shore and waddle up the beach to their nests. It’s also worth spending a few hours admiring the views at The Nobbies.



Seven new attractions in Melbourne in 2017

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

THERE’S a big problem when comes to visitors wanting to explore Melbourne, the world’s most liveable city. With so many diverse and big drawcard attractions, where the hell do you start and what do you see and do? For someone arriving in our state via the air, jumping in a Melbourne airport car rental, and setting forth for adventure and discovery, the good news is while there’s a plethora of old favourites to choose from perhaps a good idea is to look forward to what’s going to be new in 2017.

The Visit Victoria gang say food and wine will at the fore when the city plays host to the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards; visitors will be taken to new heights with the launch of The Eagle at Arthurs Seat and the MCG’s new zipline and roof walk; existing events will be injected with new life; and there will be more ways to experience wildlife, and more reasons to hit the water than ever before – not to mention new places to eat, drink, sleep and be merry.

Here are seven beauties to pop on your to-do list next time you’re cruising around Melbourne and surrounds.

One … Arthurs Seat Eagle
Launching just now (December 2016) just in time for the busy summer season, the much-anticipated gondola ride will allow visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the Mornington Peninsula. The Arthurs Seat Eagle will have 24 gondolas and the ride will take 15 minutes each way, reaching a summit of 314 metres.

Two … Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts

For the first time ever Melbourne will host the Asia Triennial of Performing Arts (TOPA) from 13 February to 6 March. The festival of Asian-focused performance and culture will present performing, visual, screen and literary arts programs, commissioned works and collaborations between Australian artists, and artists from the region. It will be hosted at and with Melbourne arts venues and companies including Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Federation Square, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

Three … White Night Ballarat

For the first time ever, White Night Melbourne will be joined by a regional counterpart, with the inaugural White Night Ballarat set to take place on 4 March – two weeks after the Melbourne event. White Night Ballarat will showcase the city’s heritage streetscape in a whole new light with projections on some of the city’s most historic buildings. In another first, both events will be under the artistic direction of David Atkins OAM.

Four … Food Truck Heaven

The City of Melbourne will establish five permanent food-truck precincts in March, which will house a mix of 17 permanent and rotating trucks. The sites will be on St Kilda Road (outside the NGV and Arts Centre); Peel Street (next to the Queen Victoria Market); Les Erdi Plaza on the Yarra River (near Arbory Bar & Eatery); Batman Park (opposite Crown); and the underpass on the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets.

Five … World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards

One of the world’s most prestigious food award ceremonies will take place at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building on 5 April. Melbourne. The annual World’s 50 Best Restaurant ranking has become the most coveted lists for the world’s best chefs. As the official host city of the 2017 event, and only the third host city in the world (after London and New York), more than 800 of the world’s culinary elite will descend on Melbourne – cementing the city’s reputation as a global food destination and trend-setter. The annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival will coincide with this major international awards program, positioning Victoria at the centre of a celebration of food and drink culture on a scale never before seen in Australia.

Six … Legoland

Australia’s first Legoland discovery centre will open at Chadstone Shopping Centre in autumn. Specifically designed for families with children aged three to 10 years old, it will include two Lego rides, five themed ‘build and play’ zones, build classes from the Legoland master model builder, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, a 4D cinema, and an exhibit designed to reflect Melbourne’s buildings, skyline, and landmarks.

Seven … MCG Zipline & Roof Walk (pictured)

Plans are currently underway to develop a new Roof Walk at the MCG. The new attraction will allow visitors to walk on the roof of the iconic MCG, taking in spectacular views of the ground itself, as well as Melbourne’s sporting precinct more broadly and the city skyline. A zipline will also be added to transport thrill-seekers from the city-end scoreboard to a landing on the opposite side of the stadium. It is anticipated the attraction will launch in 2017.

SCOTT PODMORE (with VisitVictoria)


Four museums in Melbourne you must visit

By Australia / Melbourne /

Melbourne is home to world class museums. They all offer an exciting educational experience. Instead of just reading about history and humanity’s greatest accomplishments in print, you can actually see them for yourself in person at one of these unique museums.

New exhibitions are always coming and going, which means it’s always a good time to visit. Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and pencil in a date to explore one of these venues.

Melbourne Museum (pictured)
This venue is perhaps the city’s most famous museum. Almost every Victorian child has visited the Melbourne Museum at some point. It has won many awards and is home to an extensive collection of natural and cultural artefacts. Some of the most enjoyable memories include getting close to Australia’s most famous racehorse Phar Lap or walking through an indoor rainforest. You can also watch a 3D documentary on the IMAX Theatre’s eight storey high screen.

National Gallery of Victoria
You’ll discover more than 68,000 works of art spread between NGV International’s site in Southbank and Federation Square. The artistic marvels include Australian, Indigenous, Asian and European paintings and sculptures. The art museum was founded in 1861, making it Australia’s oldest and most visited art museum.

Old Melbourne Gaol
Back in the mid-1800s when the gaol was first built, it dominated the Melbourne skyline. It stood as a symbol of authority, where the most dangerous criminals where housed alongside the homeless and mentally ill. Today, skyscrapers surround the gaol. However, it’s fascinating stories of what occurred behind these walls remain. Take a tour of the gaol to find out which infamous prisoners were held here. You can even take a night tour and see the gaol by candlelight if you’re brave enough!

National Sports Museum
Celebrate Australia’s rich sporting history at the iconic MCG. It’s home to the country’s largest collection of sporting memorabilia from some of our greatest heros. There’s something for everybody inside. There are also school holiday activities for the children and an interactive gallery. There’s also the chance to test your footy skills against some of the best AFL players and compare your strengths against elite athletes.

Also try Sink Your Teeth Into These Melbourne Food Adventures



Sink your teeth into these Melbourne food adventures

By Australia / Melbourne /

Melbourne is a food-lover’s paradise. There are plenty of food adventures for you to experience around the city.

Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and sink your teeth into one of Melbourne’s best food adventures.

Go Italian at Degraves Street (pictured)
Degraves Street is one of the most charming places in Melbourne. Bluestone cobbles cover and gorgeous cafes line the street. It’s home to some of the best desert dishes in town. You’ll find an endless array of homemade Italian dishes, such as fresh pizza and pasta. Café Andiamo or Il Tempo are some of the venues that are regularly packed with happy customers. Waffle On is always a food choice for a delicious treat afterwards.

Queenie’s Food Tours
This tour takes you to some of the best food experiences around Melbourne. Make sure you begin the day on an empty stomach. The organisers have carefully researched several locations only to pick the finest restaurants, cafes, dessert shops, chocolatiers and gourmet stores. That means you’ll be wanting to sample several different foods at every stop! If you’re a sweet tooth then you’ll love the Sweet Dreams Walking Tour. Enjoy scrumptious chocolates, cakes, macaroons, tarts… you name it!

Yarra Valley Winery Tour
The Yarra Valley Winery Tour takes you to four wineries in the beautiful Yarra Valley wine region. Not only do you get to enjoy gorgeous scenery one hour east of Melbourne but the boutique wineries and lunches are unforgettable. The tour is flexible and the local driver lets you choose which wineries you visit. The beauty of this is if you’re on a private group tour you can even choose to stay longer at the one location if you’re enjoying it that much.

Dine on cheese and wine
Cheese and wine is perhaps the best combination in the world. Melbourne has many hidden fromageries that are fit for a king. They’re spread across the city but there’s one little place in St Kilda that will win you over. Il Fornaio’s farmaggerio artiginale for some of the best Italian cheeses you’ll ever find. They’re homemade by two sisters whose family consists of a long history of cheese makers.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms
Established in 1892, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms have been won over millions of dessert lovers over that time. It’s located inside the Block Arcade, which offers a glimpse into the CBD’s charming history. The tea rooms continues to offer quality, old world charm and fine food in this beautiful location. It also has a fantastic menu. The organic teas are a menu favourite and are bound to catch your attention.



Don’t miss these Melbourne Cup Carnival events

By Australia / Melbourne /

Springtime in Melbourne is one of the most exciting times of the year. Fashion, fine dining and racing all combine for an exciting season, which finishes with the Melbourne Cup.

Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and make sure you don’t miss these events this racing season.

Cox Plate
October 21 at Moonee Valley Racecourse
There’s a reason the Cox Plate is known for being ‘the race where legends are made’. The Cox Plate was first run in 1922. Since then, there have only been three horses who won the Melbourne Cup and went on to win the Cox Plate – Phar Lap, Might and Power and Makybe Diva. There’s something for every racegoer, whether you want a day of fine fining or a family picnic on the lawn and you watch hours of excitement on the track unfold.

Caulfield Cup
October 15 at Caulfield Racecourse
The Caulfield Cup has become one of the country’s richest Thoroughbred horse races. The 2400m race is considered one of the great horse races on the Australian calendar. It’s also the richest turf race for that distance in the world, with prize money worth $3m.

Oaks Day
November 3 at Flemington Racecourse
Crown Oaks Day has long been known as ‘ladies’ day’. Women flock to Flemington in their most expensive and majestic pieces to indulge in glamorous fashion, fine food and racing. It’s one of the biggest days in fashion, with the highlight of the day being the Myer Fashions on the Field. Apart from the social occasion, the racing highlight is the Group 1 Crown Oaks with $1m in prize money.

Emirates Stakes Day
November 5 at Flemington Racecourse
This is known as the ‘family day’ of the Spring Racing Carnival. There’s the Emirates Stakes Day Fashions on the Field for younger racegoers along with live entertainment. There are also free activities for children of all ages. While on the track it’s a packed day of exciting action, including the $2m Group 1 Emirates Stakes.

Melbourne Cup Day
November 1 at Flemington Racecourse
The Melbourne Cup is ‘the race that stops the nation’ well and truly. People from all over the country have their eyes glued on the screen at 3pm as up to 24 horses gallop more than 3,200m to take out the prestigious title. The race has been running since 1861 and even earned the title of a public holiday in 1877, truly making it a part of Australian culture.



AFL grand final fever – five places to stay in Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

STAR footballers retiring, others being given the flick, a coach sacked and season over for 8 Australian Football League teams. Yep, it’s the end of the home and away season in the AFL and it all turns a little stir crazy as the other 8 teams are a chance in this year’s finals – it’s time to find some accommodation and snap up a bargain rental car at Melbourne Airport for that big day on October 1 when the MCG comes alive for a full day of entertainment and footy action.


Pullman on the Park

Upscale hotel right opposite the “G” and Fitzroy Gardens. If you want to be right on top of all the action for both the pre GF parade and the big game the next day then you probably need to get in quick for Pullman on the Park. Only 24km from the airport, the hotel is also smack bang in the middle of Melbourne’s sports precinct.

10 words or less: Swish hotel and everything is within walking distance.


Airport Tourist Village Melbourne

Let’s face it, if you’re flying into Melbourne from interstate, sometimes it’s easy to park your wheels somewhere close for when you arrive and when you depart. While ATVM is a budget option for a stay in Melbourne, it’s convenience with a capital C and “just plane handy”, as the ATVM say. It’s a mixed bag of studio units, executive apartments, deluxe or standard cabins. Simplicity, clean and tidy, and undercover BBQ facilities. modern park, centrally located just minutes from Melbourne’s domestic and international airports, and an easy trip by car or public transport from Melbourne’s CBD.

10 words or less: Super close to the airport, simple, tidy, close to CBD.


Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Another one right near the footy action. It’s also a five minute walk to Federation Square, 15 minute walk to the National Gallery of Victoria and all the other attractions Melbourne’s CBD has to offer. Throw in the fact the facilities are five star magic, stunning floor to ceiling windows, service of the highest standard and you’ll be sleeping like a king or queen when you’re not screaming support for your favourite footy club.

10 words or less: sheer luxury in the heart of the city.


The Olsen Hotel

Adorned with beautiful artworks from artist John Olsen, close proximity to trendy Chapel Street and less than 3km from the MCG – the Olsen is a special kind of place to experience unique accommodation in the heart of Melbourne.

10 words or less: Quirky, quality, trendy and THE best bed and pillow combo around.


Crown Towers

Lavishly appointed guest rooms, suites and villas in beautiful Crown Towers in Southbank. Just a kilometre from historic Flinders Street Station, it’s a hive of activity right near the Yarra River, which snakes its way with accompanying walking tracks up to the mighty MCG where the two best teams in the AFL will battle it out for the big one. An ideal hotel for those looking for all the magic of Crown casino.

10 words or less: glitz and glam by the riverside in beautiful Southbank.

Also try Spring Sensations In Melbourne or  What’s Hot on the Melbourne Food Scene







Spring sensations in Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

Spring is one of the most sensational times to visit Melbourne. Not only are the flowers across the city’s gardens in full bloom, but the sun starts to come out after a long, cold winter. Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and explore one of these events.

AFL Grand Final (pictured)
After a season of suspense, every footy fan in Australia has their sights set on the AFL Grand Final. The big game is full of excitement and drama, with the two top teams battling it out in front of a packed area. Be one of the 100,000 screaming fans watching the game unfold inside the MGG.

Royal Melbourne Show
The show is perhaps Victoria’s most iconic event. There are colourful lights, exhibits, rides and 450,000 people who pack the Melbourne Showgrounds for eleven days in September. There are exiting activities, plenty of competition and pop up restaurants of some of the city’s finest eateries. Of course, no visit to the show is complete without walking away with a show bag.

Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Melbourne Cup is one of Australia’s (and the world’s) most prestigious horse races. The first Tuesday of November sees people from all over flock to Flemington Racecourse for not only one of the world’s best horse races, but also the fashion. Colourful designer frocks light up the field. This event is also steeped in history, with the first race dating back to 1861.

Melbourne Festival
The Melbourne Festival is one of the country’s leading international arts festivals. Every year in Spring it lives up to its reputation as showcasing the latest and most creative in the arts. From theatre, music and dance to visual arts and multimedia, the festival showcases innovation and vision. The event runs for 17 days every October.

Melbourne Marathon Festival
The Melbourne Marathon kicks off at the perfect time of year. It has a full marathon, half marathon, and also a few smaller races. The Melbourne Marathon has been going every year since 1978. These days, thousands of people participate in the marathon.



Six ways to enjoy an escape to Sorrento

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

HOLIDAYS hot spots in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula don’t get much more glam than stylish Sorrento, about an hour and a half drive in your Melbourne rental car from Melbourne’s CBD and wedged in between Portsea and Rye.

But you don’t have to be a high flyer to live it up in Sorrento, a beachside haven with cosmopolitan cafes, shopping strip and beautiful boulevard to explore. Here are six ways to make it all happen.

STAY: And the winner is Sorrento Holiday Accommodation at where you have a choice of two absolute gems – The Erlandsen Entertainer sleeping 16 and the Sorrento Avenue option sleeping 12. Both have the aim of suiting two families who can share a holiday together. The bigger option is a classic 5 star Sorrento beachhouse (100m from the beach!) sleeping up to 16 adults and additional trundles for two children. There are three living zones – this is a whole lot of house focussed on a great entertaining courtyard with a mid sized pool to cool off in with solar heating. There is stunning outdoor furniture to watch pool swimmers have fun. Dine on the outdoor table after cooking on the gas Webber. For other options think about Hotel Sorrento in Hotham Road for anything from around $190 a night or a luxury BnB like Eastcliff Cottage in the historical district and only minutes from the local golf club.

PLAY: Speaking of golf clubs, Sorrento Golf Club is a beauty with its rolling hills. One problem is if you’re a visitor (not a member) you’ll have to fork out $120 for a round of 18. Other activities to enjoy are the beautiful beach walks (and FREE) on the front beach and stunning back beach for splendid sunsets and plenty of rock pools. Sorrento Museum is worth an hour or so to check out the history of the area which includes shipwrecks, horse-drawn carts and the old steam train that roared through town. Manyung Gallery is always chock-full of terrific work by local artists.

EAT: For breakfast, lunch or dinner head for an authentic Italian experience at where the accents are thick and the food sensational – cured meats, Italian cheeses, great pizza, salsas, gnocci, calzone, ravioli … yum. Oh yes, the coffee is the best in town, too. For Asian, try Chopstix Asian Bar (which has home delivery, by the way) in the main street with great munchies like Shanghai dumplings and chicken satay bites, while mains include noodle dishes like pad thai, Singapore noodles, as well as rice dishes, soups, salads and great numbers for “little people” such as Teriyaki noodles with hicekn and colourful veggies.

WATCH: With a feel of yesteryear and great mod cons for quality movie watching, Peninsula Cinemas is a great way to spend a night after a bite out on the town. This one’s a long-running picture house screening new releases, plus recordings of opera and theatre productions.

RIDE: Get your motor running and your adrenalin pumping with a scenic ride from the back of a late model solo or sidecar Harley Davidson as you are chauffeured around the Mornington Peninsula with Andy’s Harley Rides.

SWIM: Beautiful beaches means Sorrento swimming and lazing in the sun is a breeze. But go a step further, take the plunge and do something different like swimming with dolphins. Moonraker Seal and Dolphin Swim Tours is a snorkel adventure like no other. Bottlenose dolphins and naughty Australian Fur Seals join in the action for what is an unforgettable experience.


Also try One Hour From Melbourne: 5 Amazing Things To Do or Dive Into Heavenly Hot Springs


What’s hot on the Melbourne food scene

By Australia / Melbourne /

Food brings friends together for memorable experiences. True foodies know exactly where to head on Melbourne’s food scene to uncover some of the city’s most delicious treats. Hire a car from Melbourne Airport and add these five tasty experiences to your list.

Flower Drum (pictured)
This Chinese restaurant oozes fine dining and Cantonese cuisine. Situated in Market Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, the restaurant’s executive chef Anthony Lui ensures fresh ingredients are purchased daily from the nearby market. They’re then skilfully served onto your plate. Make sure you try the signature dish, the Peking Duck. It’s a delicious combination of plum sauce, spring onion, cucumber and tender pieces of roast duck.

Republica is seaside dining at its best. This casual restaurant sits on the waterfront in the St Kilda Baths and boasts central open fireplaces. Enjoy modern Australian cuisine while admiring views of Port Phillip Bay. There are many flavorsome entrees to choose from. We’d highly recommend the chilli tiger prawns or the grilled Victorian lamb for the main course.

Piggery café
Shannon Bennett’s Piggery Café draws people from all over Melbourne. Some of the café-bakery;s best offers include charcoal barbecue chicken, Wagyu burgers and zesty salads. Grab some delicious breads and pastries from the adjoining Burnham Bakery. Sit inside this rustic venue and enjoy flavours from around the world. Only then will you wonder why you didn’t discover this place sooner.

Italian Wine and Food Festival
Flavours of Italy will fill the Royal Exhibition Building for one day only in May. This Italian feast is like heaven! Choose from creamy pastas and gourmet pizzas to homemade meatballs that melt in your mouth. There are also little treats, including gelati. But wine-lovers unit! There are more than 250 wines to sample and there’s even a wine masterclass.

Good Food and Wine Show
Make the most of the Good Food and Wine Show this year. It’ll run from June 3-5 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Purchase a general admission ticket and you’ll be able to browse hundreds of local and international exhibitors. Famous culinary experts will also take the stage. Watch closely as they share tips and cook delicious dishes live.



Snuggle up at these five cosy B&Bs in the Yarra Valley this Autumn

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

The Yarra Valley region makes for a relaxing weekend away at any time of year. Pick up a rental car from Melbourne Airport ( and drive only 60 minutes to explore everything the Yarra Valley has to offer.

When you arrive, pick from one of these five cosy B&Bs to stay. It’s the best in Yarra Valley accommodation.
Bonza View
The owners proudly say Bonza View bed and breakfast apartment offer the best views in the Dandenongs. During the day you have a sweeping scene of the Port Phillip Bay to Mount Macedon and the Warburton Ranges, even the Lilydale Lake. At night you have a spectacular 180 degree view of the city lights. Your private, undercover deck also has a bubbling hot tub – perfect on those chilly nights.

Valley Guest House
Experience country living at its best. At Valley Guest House, you’ll wake up to a beautiful sunrise and the sound of native birds. You’re also surrounded by lush gardens with neat gardens full of roses, camellias and wisterias. Natural light fills your studio, which has tall, wide windows and a private balcony. Or you can opt for the Honeymoon suite, which has its own private courtyard, heated spa and fireplace.

Yering Gorge Cottages
Not only does this property offer incredible views of the Yarra Valley from your bedroom window, but it also treats you to plenty of luxuries, such as free Wi-Fi, your own private spa bath and a beauty centre. Yering Gorge Cottages are also located close to popular fishing spots and cycling trails. Perfect for a romantic weekend away!

Dalblair Bed and Breakfast
Ever dreamed of your own luxurious suite with a large veranda, spacious living area and pool? Then Dalblair Bed and Breakfast is the right kind of place for you. It’s set of 30 acres of colourful gardens with picturesque views of the surrounding Warburton Ranges and vineyards. Dalblair makes for the idea location for a peaceful getaway.

Sanctuary Park Cottages
Hire out one of these rustic cottages for a romantic weekend away. They’re perfect for any time of year – in the warmer months you can relax by the lake, while in the cooler months you can admire the changing colour of the landscape or relax in the hot spa. Majestic mountains surround the property, which you’ll never want to leave.




5 great foodie events to look forward to in Melbourne

By Australia / Melbourne /

Melbourne is arguable one of the best cities in the world for foodies! With a bustling restaurant and café culture with chefs cooking up delights from all over the world, it’s not surprising at all to learn that the city hosts dozens of exciting food festivals each year.

Here are five great Melbourne foodie events to look forward to.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
One of Melbourne’s biggest events of the year is the Food and Wine Festival, attracting thousands of people to the Australia’s culinary capital. The 2016 festival runs for 10 days in March, when people will gather at various venues to sample provincial flavours. There are also cooking masterclasses, wine tastings at some of the state’s best vineyards and free entertainment.

Night Noodle Market
The Night Noodle Market, held in November, is just getting bigger and better (and tastier!) each year! Pop up food stalls light up the banks of the Yarra River at Birrarung Marr, as thousands gather to sample noodle and dumpling dishes from all over the world. The flavours on offer are interesting and unique – make sure you get in early to avoid queues if you want to try them all!

International Street Food Festival
Between March 19-20 at the Catani Gardens on the St Kilda Foreshore is one of Australia’s most exciting international food festivals. This joyful and multicultural celebration has 45 different world cuisines to sample, meaning you’ll be able to pick up everything from pasta, to churros to stir-fry and anything else you can imagine!

The Natural and Organic Supershow
This event is all about natural, pure and healthy ingredients. It’s Australia’s only natural and organic supershow, and is held over the Labour Day long weekend each year. Sample and take home products that are full of goodness, taste and are often environmentally friendly. It’s the ultimate food event for any vegan or vegetarian.

Johnston Street Festival
Head to Fitzroy in November to witness Melbourne’s Hispanic community take over Johnston Street. The two-day festival celebrates one-thousand years of Spanish food and culture. Roads are blocked off to make way for food stalls selling jugs of sangria, sizzling pans of paella and hot churros. The festival is brought to life with Spanish dancing and entertainment all afternoon and into the night.



8 great things to do in Melbourne this March

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

The Visit Victoria gang tells us it’s well worth thinking about a whopping March in Melbourne for 31 days of fashion, flowers, food, fast cars and world class festivities as the city plays host to multiple major events.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Now in its 24th year, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (4 – 13 March) offers a smorgasbord of culinary events. From masterclasses and workshops with the pros, to food trails for the curious and the ever-popular World’s Longest Lunch (which this year will be held on the 2016 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix track), there is an experience for novices and gastronomists alike. The festival hub, at Southbank’s Queensbridge Square, will take the shape of an Urban Dairy, where a selection of the world’s finest cheese, yoghurt and ice-cream makers will produce their signature items. This is just one of many events that will form part of River Graze, with a plethora of culinary delights, free entertainment and regional flavours along the banks of the Yarra River – all feeding into the overall theme, ‘Sense of Place’.

Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival
Australia’s largest and longest running public fashion event, the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF, 7 – 13 March) is set to rock the socks off fashionistas all over town when it returns for its 20th incarnation. The festival will showcase more than 100 established and emerging designers within the grandeur of its new location – the heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building – where, in another VAMFF first, three runway shows will be staged on one night. A true feast for the senses, the festival presents stylish, week-long entertainment including world-class runway shows, beauty workshops, industry seminars, forums and live entertainment. Upping the ante on its always-outstanding fashion offer, this year the festival presents a month-long Cultural Program of more than 70 free and ticketed activities and events (13 February – 13 March) across Melbourne, regional Victoria and online. Highlights of the program include 200 Years of Australian Fashion at the National Gallery of Victoria (5 March – 31 July 16) and Bendigo Art Gallery and Twentieth Century Fox present Marilyn Monroe 5 March – 10 July).

Matilda The Musical
Matilda The Musical (previews commence 13 March) is the award-winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the children’s book Matilda written by Roald Dahl. With original songs by Tim Minchin, it will be performed at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre. Witty dialogue, catchy songs, quirky characters and a spectacular stage design ensure Matilda The Musical will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (16 – 20 March) is the biggest annual flower and garden show in the Southern Hemisphere and is set to return with an explosion of colour for its 20th year. Australia’s top floral and landscape designers unite to create stunning floral displays in the world-heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens and share their new and innovative garden ideas. An extensive array of garden and floral retail products will be available, including rare and unusual plants, alongside a selection of food and entertainment.

2016 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix
The Albert Park Lake circuit will celebrate 21 years of high-octane thrills in Melbourne when it plays host to the 2016 Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix (17 – 20 March). The fastest cars, hottest celebrities and latest technology from around the globe make Melbourne home for four days of breathtaking action, on and off the track. As well as watching the world’s best drivers zoom around the circuit, the crowd can enjoy live music, stunt performances, street art and a dedicated kids’ corner. Entry to General Admission areas is free for kids aged 12 and under, making for a good-value family day out. With St Kilda and the city both just minutes away, motorsports fans can keep the festivities going at any number of bars, eateries and live music venues.

Jurassic World Prehistoric dinosaurs will be brought to life at Melbourne Museum for the world premiere of Jurassic World: The Exhibition (19 March – 9 October). Based on Universal Pictures’ blockbuster film, this immersive exhibition offers encounters with realistic, life-sized animatronic dinosaurs inspired by the film and created in close collaboration with renowned palaeontologist Jack Horner. The exhibition is infused with interactive educational elements, drawn from the real-world science of dinosaur DNA including ‘The Hammond Creation Lab’. Visitors can come face-to-face with a life-like Pachyrhinosaurus, be amazed by a towering Brachiosaurus and take a close-up look at the most vicious dinosaur of them all, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (23 March – 17 April) celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016 with a rip-roaring and diverse line up of international and Australian comedy, cabaret, street performances, theatre and visual arts. With a hilarious line-up of world class acts, visitors are invited to see for themselves why Melbourne has become one of the world’s three biggest comedy festivals (with Edinburgh and Montreal). Artists set to tickle collective funny bones around the city include David O’Doherty, Arj Barker, Celia Pacquola, Hannah Gadsby, Judith Lucy, Tommy Little, Tripod, Ali McGregor, Charlie Pickering and Fiona O’Loughlin. To celebrate 30 years, the Melbourne Comedy Festival in conjunction with Arts Centre Melbourne, is presenting a major exhibition showcasing the life of the festival, from the 1987 launch with Peter Cook and Sir Les Patterson through to Deadly Funny – the only dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy program.

Rip Curl Pro Australia’s surfing capital, Torquay (located at the start of the Great Ocean Road), will again welcome the world’s best surfers to its famous breaks at Bells Beach when the 55th Rip Curl Pro (25 March – 5 April) hits town. Surf’s up for the World Surf League’s top ranked surfers who carve up the waves and compete for the prized Bell – one of the most sought after trophies in surfing. Along with the action in the water, there will be plenty happening on land for fans, visitors and surfers alike, between the famous Bells contest site, the local pubs and legendary parties around town.