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Melbourne, with its old world charm, is ideal for romantic activities. So below you will find White Hat's suggestions for

50 Romantic Things to do in Melbourne

OK, the list runs to well over 50, but it's pretty hard to stop once you get started.

Breakfast at Footscray

Romantic breakfast in Footscray

For a leisurely row on the river, you can hire a rowboat from one of the two boatsheds in Studley Park.

There are also numbers of fine dining establishments around Melbourne that can produce an intimate romantic atmosphere and maybe a log fire. For a truly Melbourne romantic experience there is the Colonial Tramcar Restauant.

And if you are able to get out of town, there are many options which can be found on our pages about country Victoria. Dinner in a restaurant at a winery, an overnight stay in the Dandenongs, a romantic weekend at Queenscliffe can all be recommended.

And the next morning you can always turn up for breakfast at 6am at the Vic Market in your dinner suit and party frock. You are likely to find a few similar couples doing the same.



Sunset over St Kilda Beach


Watch the sun set over St Kilda Beach - Sit on the sand, the grass or a bench. You can wander along the beach and out onto the pier and have a glass of wine at the pier kiosk (once it is rebuilt) . There are also several restaurants and cafes on the beachfront at St Kilda which can provide a great view of the sunset.

Concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne


Enjoy champagne and a romantic picnic under the stars while listening to a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. During summer there are numbers of classical concerts as well as ballet and opera at Melbourne's iconic open air venue - and many of them are free. For a listing see The White Hat Guide to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Lygon Street Carlton (Melbourne, Australia)



If you prefer a bit more hustle and bustle, you can be in the thick of the action dining on the footpath in Lygon Street. You can find more information on Melbourne's Italian precinct at The White Hat Guide to Lygon Street.

Garden at Dame Elisabeth Murdosch's Cruden Farm



Wander through a private garden - Most weekends in Melbourne you will find that some family has thrown open to the public their lovingly tended private garden for some good cause or other. You can find a listing of current private garden openings at The White Hat Guide to Private Gardens in Melbourne.

Go cycling. Melbourne is relatively flat and if you don't have your own bicycles you can always hire them. A particularly romantic ride is from the city to Williamstown and back which involves a punt crossing across the Yarra River underneath West Gate Bridge. You may want to hire a tandem (click on link to right) but White Hat suggests that if you feel your back view is not your most attractive angle that you quickly claim the rear seat. You can find more information at The White Hat Guide to Cycling in Melbourne.
Visit a night market. On many days in Melbourne there are atmospheric night markets. During summer there is usually a night market at the Queen Victoria Market on a Wednesday, ones at Northcote Town Hall and St Kilda Beach on a Thursday and one at the Abbotsford Convent on a Friday. You can wander around hand in hand checking out the merchandise, possibly enjoy a meal on the grass and listen to a band - all with no price of admissions. You can find a comprehensive listing at The White Hat Guide to Twilight & Night Markets in Melbourne.
Afternoon Tea at The Windsor
For as long as most people can remember, afternoon tea at The Hotel Windsor has been a Melbourne institution. A full leisurely afternoon tea served in the luxurious surrounds of Melbourne's of Melbourne grand old historic hotel really calls for a lady to wear a hat and gloves. If you don't have a hat and gloves and the gentleman doesn't have a cane then White Hat urges you to at least carry yourself with a dignified air.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne


If the weather is fine, a picnic in one of the many parks and gardens with a bottle of champagne is hard to match. The Botanic Gardens in particular evokes the atmosphere of a Jane Austin novel. Keep in mind, however, that Melbourne's weather may require a Plan B.

Go sailing. Towards the end of this list you will find details for trying out sailing for free. Obviously you need to dress appropriately. However if you feel that you look at your best in a wet t-shirt then White Hat suggests you contrive an occasion to fall overboard. For those who prefer the romantic experience of sailing without all that sweaty physical exertion we have listed some options below which you may wish to check out.
Visit one of Melbourne's Hidden Gems. Most weeks in our White Hat Melbourne Newsletter we mention a hidden gem and many of these are romantic in nature.
Ride a tram - You can ride the City Circle Tram for free, but once you've done a complete circuit you probably don't want to go around a second time. On the other hand you could choose a particular tram and ride it to the end of the route and back. On the weekends, if you buy the right ticket, this will cost you next to nothing. and for visitors it can be a good way to get a flavour of Melbourne suburban living. You could for instance try the route 109 which runs through Collins Street in the city. If you are on a tight budget you could break your journey at either Victoria Street Richmond or the Box Hill terminus and enjoy a cheap warming Asian meal. If you have a little more to spend you could enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the bay at the Station Pier terminus.

© Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant


Have a meal on the tramcar restaurant - Enjoy a leisurely meal in a heated tramcar restaurant while looking through the windows at the poor mugs out there walking around in the rain. Be warned that the wine (included in the price) keeps on coming so you're sure to feel nice and warm when you return to base.
Take a romantic evening stroll along the Paris end of Collins Street then into the Treasury Gardens. You can find some background information on this area in Part 2 of our podcast of August 2008.
Take the ferry to Willy. Williamstown (or Willy as the locals call it) still has a village atmosphere and the boat trip across the bay helps put you in a romantic mood. There are numbers of cafes, restaurants and pubs along the waterfront for a romantic meal. More details at The White Hat Guide to Williamstown.
Spend a lazy afternoon in the sun at a rooftop bar such as the one on top of Curtin House.
Lie on the grass at an outdoor cinema. Popular outdoor movies in Melbourne include the Moonlight Cinema at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Cruise Ship Crystal Stmphony visiting Melbourne

The Cruise Ship Crystal Symphony visiting Melbourne.


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Gypsy Jazz on the Village Green

Come and jam to the music of Django Reinhart, or just have a listen. If you would like to come along and jam, contact Misja on carbowalker@optusnet.com.au

From 1pm, Sundays

CERES Community Environment Park -

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The Four Seasons

The Australian Chamber Orchestra with Richard Tognetti (Director & Violin), Joseph Tawadros (Oud) and James Tawadros (Percussion) perform:

  • Joseph Tawadros Selections from Permission to Evaporate, and original works exploring the crossroads of oud and string orchestra
  • Vivaldi The Four Seasons
  • Marcello Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni: Sinfonia (selections)
  • Giovanni Gabrielli Sonata con tre violini

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has undergone many reincarnations since it was first played by the talented orphans of the Ospedale della Pietà in 18th-century Venice. Now, Richard Tognetti and Joseph Tawadros bring their own blend of musical alchemy to this program, reminding us that Venice is barely a day’s sail from Cairo.

Almost 300 years after Vivaldi penned the Four Seasons, Joseph Tawadros brings the sounds of the near east to Australia with a selection of original works.

8pm Monday 9th February, QPAC Concert Hall Brisbane
8pm Tuesday 10th Feb & 7pm Wed 11th & 1.30pm Friday 13th Feb & 7pm Saturday 21st Feb, City Recital Hall Angel Place Sydney
8pm Saturday 14th February, Llewellyn Hall Canberra
2pm Sunday 15th Feb & 7pm Tuesday 17th Feb, Sydney Opera House Sydney
7.30pm Wednesday 18th February, Wollongong Town Hall Wollongong
7.30pm Thursday 19th February, Newcastle City Hall Newcastle
2.30pm Sunday 22nd & 8pm Monday 23rd February, Hamer Hall Melbourne

Our rating - 5 Hats

Hat Hat Hat Hat Hat


Purchase tickets online fron the ACO website
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Toorak Village Festival of Sculpture

For the entire month of may, Toorak Village businesses will display contemporary sculptures in their windows and bolted to the pavements along Toorak Road. Take your time surveying the sculptures as well as the shops. Please enjoy 'a decade of sculpture' and take advantage of the warm hospitality of the traders in the village. Catalogues are available from any of the shops in the village and all sculptures are for sale. Toorak Village is between Wallace Ave and Grange Rd, just east of Williams Rd. Simply catch the no 8 tram from Federation Square, along Toorak Road to stop no 35.

1st to 14th June 2015 (tbc)

Toorak Village -

Enquiries: 0419 005 052
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Madama Butterfly

Opera Australia's production of Puccini's much-loved opera Madama Butterfly.

Cio-Cio-San - Svetla Vassileva (until 16 May), Hyesoung Kwon; Pinkerton - James Egglestone (until 16 May), Martin Buckingham; Suzuki Sian Pendry; Sharpless - Michael Honeyman; Goro Graeme Macfarlane; Kate Pinkerton - Jane Ede; The Bonze - Jud Arthur; Yamadori - Samuel Dundas; Commissioner - Jonathan McCauley; Registrar - Dean Bassett and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Guillaume Tourniaire. Directed by Moffatt Oxenbould.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 45 minutes, including one 20-minute interval.
May 4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 16(m), 22 & 30; 2015

State Theatre, Melbourne Arts Centre -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
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St Petersburg Ballet - Giselle

The internationally acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet will present their classic production of Giselle. Further details at St Petersburg Ballet.

Johannesburg: Teatro at Montecasino; 6-8 May 2015; Bookings at computicket
Perth; His Majesty's Theatre; 5-6 June 2015; bookings at Ticketek - 1300 795 012 or at the venue box office


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Don Giovanni

Opera Australia's production of Mozart's great opera Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni -Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Leporello - Shane Lowrencev, Donna Anna - Emma Matthews, Don Elvira - Nicole Car, Don Ottavio - John Longmuir, Zerlina - Taryn Fiebig, Masetto - Richard Anderson, Commendatore -  Jud Arthur  and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Anthony Legge. Directed by David McVicar.

Running time: approximately 3 hours & 15 minutes, with one 25-minute interval. Performed in Italian with English surtitles.
May 11, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28 & 30(m); 2015

State Theatre, Melbourne Arts Centre -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
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Don Carlos

Opera Australia's production of Verdi's great opera Don Carlos.

The opera is testament to Verdi's ability to create light and dark in a single moment, and to sing it, you need a huge cast of extraordinary performers. Leading the cast of seventeen principal singers is Ferruccio Furlanetto, the most famous Philip II of our time, who recently sang the role in New York, London, and Vienna. With nearly 200 performers, this will be Opera Australia's biggest production since The Ring Cycle.

Elisabeth de Valois - Victoria Yastrebova, Princess Eboli - Milijana Nikolic, Don Carlos - Diego Torre, Rodrigo Count of Posa - José Carbó, Philip II - Giacomo Prestia, Grand Inquisitor - Daniel Sumegi, Frate - David Parkin, Tebaldo = Anna Dowsley, Voice from Heaven - Julie Lea Goodwin,  Lerma - Jonathan Abernethy, Herald - Simon Kim, Deputies - Pelham Andrews, Luke Gabbedy, Richard Anderson, Adrian Tamburini, Andrew Moran, Graeme Macfarlane  and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Andrea Licata. Directed by Elijah Moshinsky.

Running time: approximately 4 hours & 20 minutes, including two 20-minute intervals. Performed in Italian with English surtitles.
May 20, 23(m), 25, 27 & 29: 2015

State Theatre, Arts Centre, Melbourne -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
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Anything Goes

Opera Australia and John Frost present Cole Porter's smash-hit musical comedy, Anything Goes. Winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival and Choreography during its most recent Broadway revival, Anything Goes is a stunning nautical favourite. Now a brand new Australian production sets sail for Melbourne.

When the ocean liner embarks from New York to London, etiquette and convention get tossed out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love... proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail.

Reno Sweeney - Caroline O'Connor, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh - Todd McKenney, Moonface Martin = Wayne Scott Kermond, Billy Crocker - Alex Rathgeber, Hope Harcourt - Claire Lyon, Evangeline Harcourt - Carmen Duncan, Erma - Debora Krizak, Captain - Alan Jones

Tue to Sun, 30th May to 19th July 2015

Princess Theatre -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
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The Australian Ballet - The Dream

This triple bill presented by The Australian Ballet with Orchestra Victoria celebrates Frederick Ashton, one of the greatest influences on 20th-century ballet and the epitome of the English classical style.

The Dream (1964) Choreography Frederick Ashton; Music Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream orchestrated by John Lanchbery

Monotones II (1965) Choreography Frederick Ashton; Music Erik Satie orchestrated by Claude Debussy and Alexis Roland-Manuel

Symphonic Variations (1946) Choreography Frederick Ashton; Directed, supervised and staged by Wendy Ellis Somes and Malin Thoors; Music César Franck Symphonic Variations

June 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 &13; 2015

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre -

Book tickets from The Australian Ballet

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Swan Lake - St Petersburg Ballet

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is one of the best loved ballets in the repetoire with its unrivalled “white acts”, its spectacular and dramatic ballroom scene, sublime music and deeply moving story Following their sold out Paris season, the internationally acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet will present their full-length classic production of of this wonderful work. The 55 member company of St Petersburg Ballet continues to collect rave reviews around the world and thrill audiences with breathtaking scenery and magnificent costumes. This is a full-length, fully-sytaged production but since the publicity makes no mention of an orchestra, White Hat assumes that it is performed to recorded music. We will update this page if we find otherwise. Further details at St Petersburg Ballet.
20 – 22 June 2015

Plenary - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre -

Bookings at Ticketmaster - 136 100
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Open House Melbourne

An annual event where many of Melbourne's heritage buildings are thrown open to the public. You can find details at Open House Melbourne.

25th & 26th July 2015

Various buildings in central and inner Melbourne -

Free entry at most venues
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Australian Ballet - 2015 20:21

Experience the physical extremes of modern ballet The best of the 20th century, the freshest of the 21st: this electrifying triple bill showcases two giants of the New York dance scene and The Australian Ballet's newest resident choreographer. George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements is inspired by the revolutionary music of Igor Stravinsky, his friend and muse. This provocative piece kicks off with a line of chic dancers haughtily tossing their ponytails and blends the rigour of ballet with the vigour of jazz. Twyla Tharp’s pulse-pounding In the Upper Room sets the stage alight with scarlet pointe shoes and sneakers, the driving music of Philip Glass and a bracing blend of classical and contemporary technique. It’s described by Tharp as “the only piece I’ve done that generates a standing ovation at almost every performance”. Be there for the unveiling of Resident Choreographer Tim Harbour’s newest ballet – a stripped-down work set to a contemporary electronic score, featuring set designs by cutting-edge architect Kelvin Ho. With Orchestra Victoria

Symphony In Three Movements (1946); Choreography George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust; Music Igor Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements

In The Upper Room (1986); Choreography Twyla Tharp, Music Philip Glass

New Work (2015); Choreography Tim Harbour; Set design Kelvin Ho, Akin Creative

Mon to Sat, 27th Aug to 5th Sept 2015

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre -

Book tickets from The Australian Ballet

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Australian Ballet - The Sleeping Beauty

Fairies, bluebirds, a gilded court and a spell-shattering kiss: the world’s most extravagant ballet is awakened to new life by The Australian Ballet's Artistic Director David McAllister. The Sleeping Beauty, with its Rose Adage, its grand pas de deux, its charming variations and its enchanting Tchaikovsky score, is the zenith of ballet’s golden age. Keeping true to the spirit of the traditional Beauty, David McAllister will direct a production that gives thrilling rein to the talents of the entire company. Lavish sets and costumes by Gabriela Tylesova, whose work for ballet, opera and theatre includes the much-lauded designs for Love Never Dies, will evoke the splendour of the Imperial court and the magic of fairies, nymphs and visions. With Orchestra Victoria

Mon to Sat, Sept 15th to 26th 2015

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre -

Book tickets from The Australian Ballet

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The Marriage of Figaro

Opera Australia's production of Mozart' s opera The Marriage of Figaro.

Mozart's classic comedy has been entertaining crowds for centuries, and between the witty, fast-moving libretto and the melodic, charming ensemble writing, it's not hard to understand why. David McVicar won acclaim for his Covent Garden production of The Marriage of Figaro, so we look forward to his new production for Australia.

Count Almaviva - Shane Lowrencev, Countess - Jane Ede (until 19 Nov) & Nicole Car, Susanna - Taryn Fiebig, Figaro -  Andrew Jones, Cherubino - Sian Pendry, Marcellina - Dominica Matthews, Bartolo - Richard Anderson, Don Basilio - Benjamin Rasheed, Don Curzio - Graeme Macfarlane, Barbarina - Eva Kong, Antonio - Adrian Tamburini, Bridesmaids - Annabelle Chaffey & Anna Yun and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Anthony Legge. Directed by David McVicar.

Running time: approximately 3 hours & 20 minutes, including one 20 minute interval Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

November 12, 14(m), 17, 19, 20, 23, 25, 28

State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
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The Elixir of Love

Opera Australia's production of Donizetti's opera The Elixir of Love.

Simon Phillip's much-loved production of The Elixir of Love is set in an Australian country town circa 1915.

"If you're doing a comic opera it's useful to get it as close to a contemporary world as you legitimately can," he says, "because that affords you the possibility of laughs of recognition as well as situation."

So how does the story of Elixir pan out down under? There's Adina, the squatter's daughter who wants to play the field before settling down. There's Nemorino, the lovestruck labourer who loves reading romantic poetry in his spare time. There's Belcore, the English officer who fancies having a fine young lady on his arm. Then there's the travelling larrikin, Dulcamara, who offers to solve everyone's problems with a drop of the good stuff.

As Phillips points out, the regiment of soldiers and all the talk of conscription mean that a modern adaptation would have jarred, but setting the story in Australia in 1915 provides a rich vein of comic material to add to the mix. It also inspired set designer Michael Scott-Mitchell and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova to come up with one of Opera Australia's favourite entrances when our heroine, Adina, rides into town on a corrugated iron horse.

Best of all, a knockout cast — Rachelle Durkin, Aldo Di Toro, Andrew Jones and Conal Coad — means that Donizetti's music shines as brightly as ever under the Antipodean skies.

Cast: Adina - Rachelle Durkin, Nemorino - Aldo Di Toro, Belcore - Andrew Jones (until 26 Nov) & Christopher Hillier, Dulcamara -Conal Coad, Giannetta - Eva Kong and Orchestra Victoria with Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Benjamin Northey.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 20 minutes, including one 20-minute interval. Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Nov 21, 24, 26, 28(m) 2015

State Theatre -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
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The Piers Festival

The Piers Festival is a celebration of cultural diversity that reflects the rich history of Melbourne's ports precinct. From the goldrush to wartime, from post-war migration to cruise shipping, Station & Princes Piers have played a pivotal role in Victoria's growth and offered a gateway to the diversity of cultures that enrich our community.

  • 2 - 5pm: SONGS & STORIES STAGE Hosted by Vasili (from Vasili's Garden)
noon to 9.30pm, Sunday 24th January 2016 (tbc)

Princes Pier & Station Pier -

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Australia Day Races

The popular annual horse racing event.

26 January 2016

Hanging Rock -

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Government House Open Day

As part of Australia Day, citizens and visitors are invited to visit Government House, inspect many rooms not normally open to the public and enjoy a picnic on the lawns. Music and entertainment throughout the day.

Our rating - 5 Hats

Hat Hat Hat Hat Hat
10am to 4pm, 26th January 2016

Government House -

Free entry Enquiries: (03) 9655 4211
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Moomba Fireworks

The annual Moomba Fireworks running over three nights.

9.30pm, 12th to 14th March 2016

Yarra River near Federation Square -

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Rooftop Cinema - Curtin House

Relax in a deckchair on the rooftop of a city building, Curtin House, and take in a movie in atmospheric surroundings. Tickets range from $20 ($18 conc) to $30 plus booking fee


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Eureka Skydeck + 'The Edge' - Adult
Eureka Skydeck
& 'The Edge' - Adult


Rippon Lea Renaissance Dancers

Classes in East Kew on most Wednesday evenings during the year. Newcomers welcome. Advanced dancers are invited to join costumed performing team. Phone (03) 9699 8417 for brochure. Information at Early Arts Guild of Victoria

Romantic Lingerie for men and women

See also Christmas Lights in Melbourne.


You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.