Go to the State Library - The State Library is like a large free theme park for the thinking person. There you will find numbers of major displays, the Stawell Gallery which has art associated with the growth of Melbourne, the Keith Murdoch Gallery with changing displays around various topics, a significant chess section where you can sit down for a game, activity areas for children and, of course, books.
Kit yourself out for wet weather - Buy a Driza Bone oilskin coat, Akubra hat and R.M. Williams moleskins and elastic sided boots (known around the world as The Australian Boot) and you'll feel warm and dry in any downpour. They're not cheap and less expensive styles are available in other brands but they do increase your options enormously on a rainy day and they're classy enough to be acceptable in most social circumstances.
Go for a walk in the rain - White Hat considers that Melbourne's historic buildings look best in the rain. The glisten on the facades of the buildings highlight details which are difficult or impossible to see on a dry day. The bluestone paved lanes and alleys take on an entirely different character in the rain and you need to drink in the sombre, formal blue-grey atmosphere of bluestone under rain if you are interested in understanding the soul of Melbourne (as we outlined in a previous White Hat Melbourne Newsletter).
Cook up a storm - You can buy wonderful fresh ingredients in Melbourne and, if you know your markets, they can be remarkably cheap. To get you started with shopping you could go to The White Hat Guide to Food Stores in Melbourne. Then for recipes you can go to The White Hat Cookbook. If you live in Melbourne you can then go home and cook up a storm including some meals for the rest of the week. If you are a visitor staying in self-contained apartments or a hostel there will usually be cooking facilities. If you are staying in a hotel there are still options to get out and cook for yourself (and maybe others). If you would like more information, contact White Hat.
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.
Visit the Melbourne Museum - The Melbourne Museum is a large museum with with exhibitions related to all manner of things - not just 'old stuff'. If you you use the Free City Circle Tram you may still need to walk 200m through the rain. The Free City Tourist Bus will leave you with a 50m walk through the rain.
Enjoy a pub lunch - smoking is now banned in Melbourne pubs. You may want to avoid those establishments dominated by poker machines unless you are addicted. Depending on the pub you choose you may be able to enjoy a leisurely lunch, read a selection of newspapers and magazines and play some board games in front of an open fire, have a game of pool or just a chat to old or newly created friends. From time to time White Hat mentions describes some recommended pubs in our newsletter.
Shop 'til you drop - The major shopping centres usually contain the same outlets that you will find in most malls around Australia. Thus White Hat suggests you search out some of the more quirky independent complexes that you can find across Melbourne.
Rug up and - go to the footy, visit friends, or head off for a mug of soup or hot chocolate at your nearest cafe.
Borrow some books, CDs and videos from City Library - joining is free and open to anyone living in Melbourne or its suburbs.
Visit an undercover market - Melbourne has half a dozen large suburban markets that are under cover. In addition there are large numbers of indoor and undercover markets in Melbourne on most days of the week. You can find a comprehensive list of markets at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Melbourne.
Go to the club - Most Melburnians belong to a club or two whether they are to do with restoring hot rods, quilting, sport, writing, charity, your profession or a whole range of other things, . Why not head down to the club rooms and get those magazines in order or fix the draft under the door.If you are a visitor, one of your clubs may well have reciprocal arrangements with the local version. Otherwise just try turning up and introducing yourself. You will generally find Melburnians very welcoming and friendly. You can find more information at The White Hat Guide to Clubs in Melbourne.
Make coffee and snacks last all afternoon - many cafes serve tapas or mezze. With a book and a couple of cups of coffee you can wile away a rainy afternoon. Some serve cakes as well but White Hat does not want to be guilty of encouraging you to eat chocolate and cakes all afternoon.
Learn something new - take a class in Tai Chi or ballroom dancing or quilting or handy person skills (some hardware stores have regular classes how to do a whole range of things and some classes also cater for children).
Visit a historic house - Melbourne has a number of impressive historic houses that are open to the public on various days of the week. Head along and spend a leisurely afternoon imagining yourself wandering around your stately 19th century home on a rainy day. More details at The White Hat Guide to Historic Houses in Melbourne.
Write a poem - When is the last time you wrote a poem? It doesn't have to be very good. Nobody else need ever see it. The act of writing a poem is one of the things that helps differentiate humans from animals and reminds us that we are an individual person rather than just a mindless cog in a consumer society. And what better time to get inspiration for a poem than gazing out the window on a rainy day. In Wales, a seven year old named Gwyneth Lewis decided to write her first poem to pass the time on a rainy day and she went on to be appointed Wales's first National Poet.
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.
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.
Visit the Old Melbourne Gaol - After you've immersed yourselves in the day to day lives of the inmates, emerging into the rain and freedom will seem a wonderful thing. Details at The White Hat Guide to Old Melbourne Gaol.
Put out a bucket - In these days of water restrictions, we need to collect as much rainwater as we can. Better still, put out a toddlers' wading pool. If you have no use for the water, your neighbours are sure to.
Build or invent something - Australians are an inventive lot and a surprising number of inventions were got started because of a rainy day. For some inspiration you could try looking at The White Hat Guide to Australian Inventions.
Explore a city building - Many people don't venture past the ground floor of many city buildings but they can be a treasure trove of artist's studios, quirky shops and galleries. You could start by exploring the Nicholas Building and then maybe making your way to Curtin House.
Go and see a film - The film might be lousy but at least the cinema will be warm and dry.
Play a game or two of chess - White Hat can recommend chess for tuning up the brain cells. If you have nobody to play with then head into the chess section of the State Library.
Volunteer - contact your local service group or neighbourhood house and find out if there are any tasks they would like some help with.
Find out about different and strange stuff - Melbourne has a range of museums covering an astonishing range of interests. If you consult The White Hat Guide to Museums in Melbourne you are sure to find a place to visit where you will come away knowing things you didn't know before.
Make a list - If you are stuck at home on a rainy day then why not help your fellow citizens by putting your own list on the internet of 50 things to do. That's what we did.
Visit a gallery - Melbourne has numbers of fine galleries such as you can find at The White Hat Guide to Galleries in Melbourne, and there is nothing like coming off a cold wet street into a warm gallery to encourage a person to take extra time in examining and thinking about the art. Many of these galleries have cafes and sometimes bookshops attached, so there is no need to venture out in a hurry.
Play some sport - find a friend and have a game of squash. Get some mates together and play some indoor cricket. You can play badminton, basketball, table tennis and whole range of sports indoors. A good starting point is the Melbourne Aquatic Centre in Albert Park who have a whole range of sporting spaces for hire.
Go for a day trip - The Dandenong Ranges can be particularly impressive in the rain and it has plenty of places to stop for a warming snack or meal.
Learn an instrument - your local music store will sell instruments ranging from just a few dollars (such as a harmonica or ocarina) through to high end classical instruments. You can get started by obtaining a teach-yourself manual or video, or you can enrol for some classes. A rainy day is an ideal time to start. You may find further inspiration at The White Hat Guide to Instruments.
Seek out one of Melbourne's hidden gems - most weeks in our free newsletter we make mention of a hidden gem of Melbourne. A rainy day can be a good time to explore one of these. You could start by visiting the Athenaeum Library (visitors are welcome) and burying yourself in a book while soaking up the unique surroundings.
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21 May, 2013
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