Festivals & Events

Your Taste Buds Will Love the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (27 FEB to 15 MAR)


Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC Immersery: Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden
Copyright: Tourism Australia
Photographer: Ellenor Argyropoulos

It all started quite humbly 22 years ago (with a program of only a dozen events) as the brainchild of advertising veteran, Peter Clemenger, who had recognised that Melbourne was in dire need of reinvigoration. Fast forward and those events have grown exponentially in festival history to over 200 annually.

The well regarded and much anticipated Melbourne Food and Wine Festival draws in thousands of enthusiasts eager to partake and indulge in hosted experiences throughout the city and sprawling out into regional Victoria. One-off events is the mainstay of the program and offers diversity making the festival unique and extremely appealing. It’s a joyful celebration and festival go-ers are encouraged to be adventurous in their palate and spirit.


 Bank of Melbourne World's Longest Lunch, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC

Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC
Copyright: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Photographer: Daniel Mahon

Bank of Melbourne ‘World’s Longest Lunch’ will launch the celebration on 27 February at Fitzroy Gardens. Last year the festival set a record in its history with this event hosting 1,504 diners on a 530m long table situated along the banks of the scenic Yarra River. What a sight it was!

What we love about this festival is the genius creativity born from the collaboration of world renowned international chefs with our very own leading local chefs. The festival has been fortunate to have hosted the who’s who of the culinary world such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthall and Anthony Bourdain.

A bonus is that not all events require you to purchase a ticket. There’s at least a dozen celebrations that are hosted complimentary … so why not check out the Festival Artisan Bakery & Bar, Open Kitchen and Crown’s Alfresco Kitchen at Southbank or Fed Square Harvest at Federation Square and Grazing by the River held at South Wharf. Paid events range in price to cater for those on a tight budget to those who can afford a little more depending on the experience and exclusivity of the event. Whatever your budget, there will be a hosted food and wine experience waiting for you!

 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne, VIC Immersery: Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden with Dan Wilson
Copyright: Tourism Australia
Photographer: Ellenor Argyropoulos

If you’re a local, the festival is a premier event to attend, offering gastronomic delights that you’ll not be able to experience any other time of year. And if you’re an international visitor, the festival is guaranteed to heighten the fun factor of your Melbourne stay.

There’s only a couple of weeks til the festival kicks off. Don’t miss this exceptionally enjoyable culinary exploration for your taste buds and get amongst it … there’s 316 events for you to choose from, explore and experience!

Romantic Ideas in and around Melbourne

Zios Restaurant

Valentine’s Day dining at Zio’s Restaurant

Hang on; Valentine’s Day is this Friday!?  For those not romantically inclined, this popular day for celebrating love can seem to creep up way too soon after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  With limited time to sort something out or for those who need ideas for next time, here are some suggestions on what to do together on Valentine’s Day in Australia’s city of love: Melbourne.

Melbourne is bursting at the seams with new food and drink hangouts amongst old favourites.  Enjoy afternoon cocktails at Naked in the Sky; the rooftop bar is very popular due to its massive range of infused vodkas and fancy cocktails, trendy atmosphere and spectacular unspoilt views of the city.  Afterwards there are plenty of eateries along Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, for something not too fancy but still absolutely delicious, try the oriental delights at Rice Queen. However, Valentine’s Day is a day to spoil your loved one somewhere small, intimate, quiet, special and has exceptional food and wine.  You then can’t go past Zio’s Restaurant in East Melbourne, set in a small terraced building; Zio’s has a range of food to cater for all tastes in the perfect setting for a romantic dinner, if it’s cold there’s even a few wooden fireplaces.  There’s no better way to spoil the one you love than to get them Zio’s famous chocolate soufflé for dessert, it’s heavenly.

Valentine’s Day luckily falls on a Friday, so why not spread the romance over the rest of the weekend!  If the weather is nice, Melbourne is scattered with many parks and gardens to explore. The Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, around an hour out of the city is a huge park showcasing Australia’s large variety of beautiful native plants; the park is perfect as a lunch spot and a walk.  Your traditionally romantic English-style gardens such as the Fitzroy Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens provide stunning settings for picnics, there are plenty of paths to walk around and the lush green grass is perfect to lie on for a bit of relaxation.

Melbourne is only a few hours’ drive to the rolling green pastures of the Yarra Valley, an area synonymous with romance.  A day in the Yarra Valley region can easily be done by car and at your own pace.  To impress your loved one on Valentine’s Day you can’t go past tasting fine wines at the Dominique Portet cellar door set in a romantic French style building. The Yarra Valley Dairy cannot be missed for their award winning marinated fetta, perhaps take a cheese platter and sit out on their deck taking in the serene views of the valley.  A few hours can also easily be spent at Hedgend Maze, hidden down a dirt track; this delightful hedge maze is great fun. You are given a list of clues and you need to match the clues with various objects you find in the maze to be able to solve the mystery.  There’s also mini golf, Frisbee golf or relax in the beautifully manicured gardens with an ice cream.

Chinese New Year in Melbourne

Building the Dockland’s Dragon ready for it’s launch!

After an intense sporting period in Melbourne with the MCG playing host to the Boxing Day Test of Australia versus England and the Australian Tennis Open which was played out to large crowds things have returned to a steady summer buzz.

Chinese New Year celebrations took place on many of the streets of Melbourne over the weekend but if you missed out then you can still catch the ‘Docklands Dragon’, a 100m long illuminated Chinese dragon in Melbourne’s Docklands starting today until the Sunday 16th February. In conjunction with this there is also nightly entertainment between 6.30 – 7.30pm including Chinese music and dance, street theatre and stalls. More details can be found on the Destination Docklands website.

If the heat of thecity is too much then why not head down to the Mornington Peninsula located about 1 hour out of Melbourne. It’s a great place to explore stunning bay side beaches, excellent farm gate experiences, a wide selection of boutique wineries or to indulge in a hot springs experience at Peninsula Hot Springs or make the most of summer with some strawberry picking at Sunnyridge Strawberry Farm.

The Unique Cultural Experience of the Adelaide Festival

South Australia justifiably owns the tag of ‘The Festival State’. Home to some of the world’s best and most respected festivals, South Australia – and more particularly Adelaide – is a brilliant place to be when the city is alive with festival action.

The Adelaide Festival is one of the world’s premier cultural festivals. It is the largest multi-arts festival held in Australia and, this year, will take place between the 1st and 17th of March.

Adelaide is the perfect city for festivals. As so many delighted tourists discover by taking an Adelaide tour, the city is the ideal size and has the perfect urban landscape for hosting an extensive range of events that showcase creativity and breed infectious excitement.

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Booking Early for Big Australian Festivals

When travelling to see a festival in Australia it is important that you book well in advance. Not only will the tickets sell out, but so too will the hotels and the flights. To get a reasonable price you will need to be well organized, plan ahead and be prepared to have the best time of your life. Herein we consider how to ensure the best spots at the biggest Aussie festivals.

Adelaide Festival of Arts

The Adelaide Festival of Arts is arguably the biggest and best cultural festival in the world. With everything from opera and dance to new media and theatre, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The festival runs in March each year and it is sensible to book flights and hotels up to a year in advance for this trip. Whilst the program will not be announced until later in the year, it will save you a great deal of cash to book these elements before the prices shoot up. Arriving slightly in advance of the event is also wise so that you can take some Adelaide tours before it gets too busy, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the location.

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International Events Guide for Australian Cities

Australia is home to a great range of high-profile and respected international events. For visitors planning a trip to Australia, coordinating your time away to coincide with a number of these occasions is a great idea, as you are sure to enjoy the electric atmosphere and be impressed by the quality of these events.

The international events that take place in Australia are indeed exciting and varied and include a Grand Slam tennis tournament, amazing fireworks displays for New Year’s Eve and artistic and cultural festivals. No matter your interests or passions, there is bound to be an event of international note and significance in Australia to appeal to you.

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A Short Guide to Partying in Australia

If nightlife and partying are right up your alley, you will love Australia! In a word, the nightlife in Australia is ‘happening’ and there is an extensive range of options from which to choose, including parties, shows and events. No matter whether you want to rock on for the whole night or stay out for just an hour or two, you will find some great ways to party in Australia.

The great thing about travelling to and partying in Australia is that it is so easy to combine sightseeing and tourist type activities with party fun. For example, if you are in Victoria, it is highly recommended that you take an organised tour (such as a Great Ocean Road tour or a Melbourne tour that shows you some fabulous parts of the amazing and diverse city of Melbourne) by day and explore the party scene by night. Consult credible, easy-to-navigate websites and ask locals and other travellers for recommendations of great tours and fun ways to party.

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Biggest Australian Festivals to Enjoy in 2012

Australia is well respected as a location that hosts some of the world’s best festivals. Many visitors to Australia coordinate the timing of their travels around the festival calendar, while others delight in finding that the Melbourne tour or Great Ocean Road tour that they have booked (or their organised trip to one of Australia’s many other fabulous locations) coincides with an incredible Australian festival.

In 2012, a number of great Australian festivals are on the calendar:

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