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)