A Guide to Summer in Melbourne

Beach

Summer time and the living is easy. More importantly the weather is warm, the drinks are cold and we have a little more time.

If you’re anything like us you’ll happily fill your days and nights with music, movies, ice cream, cocktails and catching up with friends. We find some of the best things to do, see, and eat this summer.

Melbourne, summer looks good on you. 

ICE CREAM 

Icecream

A must eat for the summer season, here are our picks, take home and eat in.

Gundowring

When it comes to store bought ice cream, Gundowring is one of the best. Flavours like coconut and raspberry make for excellent eating. For summer this year, however, they’ve released a range of 10th Anniversary flavours. A nod to the past – Cumquat, and a nod to the future – Poppy Seed. Get spooning.

Kohu Road

Kohu Road, hailing from New Zealand is another freezer filler worth buying. Hand crafted and free from any artificial ingredients, you won’t see bright yellow ‘banana’ flavour, but goodness – that banana flavour is tasty. Pair it with the dark chocolate for a real treat.   

Gelato Messina

When it comes to a gelataria, you can’t go past the newly opened Gelato Messina on Smith Street in Fitzroy. Wonderfully rich gelato comes in flavours like Apple Pie, Chocolate Fondant and Hazelnut, among about 35 others. Specials can be weird and wonderful, so you’ll always have something new to try. Brace yourselves for lines, or go late.

Pidapipo Gelato Test Bar and Store

Another new comer to the gelato scene, Pidapipo is from the Lavazza family and is bringing traditional gelato to Carlton. Fresh fruit and raw natural ingredients come together to create flavours like hazelnut, fior di latte or even pinacolada. 

EVENTS 

Events

When you don’t want to do the planning, these are some of the events we’re loving this summer.

So Frenchy So Chic

For one day a year, Werribee Mansion becomes a French paradise. So Frenchy So Chic, in its 10th year, is a garden party like no other. French music, French food, French wine, and face painting to keep the little ones entertained. This year the smooth sounds will come from Lou Doillon, Lilly Wood & the Prick Fete and Babylon Circus.

Night Markets

Melbourne loves to shop, eat and socialise all at once, and the night markets across town are the perfect place to do this. Thursdays you can head to St Kilda where the markets take place on the seaside with Luna Park watching over you. Wednesday nights, head to Queen Victoria Markets where the live music is said to be worth it alone. South Melbourne market will come alive for one night this summer, December 19. So head over for some good shopping and a Dim Sim, or two.  

Peninsula Summer Music Festival

Artists love to defy genres and that is exactly what the Peninsula Summer Music Festival does. Theatre, vocals and dance come together with wonderful effect at the seventh annual event under the artistic direction of Julia Fredersdorff. Dido and Aeneas, named a ‘choreographic opera’ is set to be a highlight while Sasha Waltz and her dance troupe will rework Henry Purcell’s Baroque opera about the ill-fated love between the Queen of Carthage and her warrior-lover Aeneas, it even includes an underwater dance number. 

 

OUTDOOR CINEMAS

 

Outdoor Cinemas

Popcorn on the couch is fun, but when the heat is rising, grass and a wine or two takes the lead with movie watching. 

Rooftop Cinema

One of the originals, Rooftop Cinema in Curtain House on Swanston Street in the city is where you’ll find cult classics and new releases alike. Served up with beverages and a burger kitchen, there’s not much to complain about, except the limited seats. For the first year, Speakeasy Cinema will be taking the reigns on Tuesday nights showing a different range of films.

Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema, St Kilda

Short love affairs can be the best kind of love affairs, so we’re thinking St Kilda’s openair cinema can get away with their short program. Closing on December 22 catch old and new movies, with the seaside breeze through your hair. Ben & Jerry’s is optional (good luck skipping it).

The Shadow Electric at Abbotsford Convent

In the beautiful grounds of Abbotsford Convent, Shadow Electric plays a mixed bag of films from Bad Santa, to Top Gun. Studio releases, cult films and documentaries will fill up the program. Food from Mr Burger and other vendors will keep you full while the bar keeps your drinks cold and the ping pong table warm.

Moonlight Cinema 

Found in the Royal Botanic Gardens, this is a pretty one. Beanbags and bats keep you company as you watch advanced screenings, new releases, cult and classic films. A candy bar and a burger and fish and chips section means food is of the greasy variety. They do serve booze though, so we’re not complaining.

BBQ & PICNIC SPOTS  

Picnics

Picnics in the park are the quintessential summer activity in Melbourne. Here is where you should be eating your mini sandwiches. 

Edinburgh Gardens

Edinburgh Gardens is the place for northsiders to picnic. Australia Day sees portable radios and many a craft brew while any sunny day will see groups of picnic goers, food trucks and always a beverage or two. The North Fitzroy Bowls Club is next door, perfect for a barefoot session in the sun. Meet you at the Rotunda.

Royal Botanic Gardens

If you live in Melbourne, it’s likely you’ve had some cheese and crackers here once or twice. Or ran around the tan. These gardens are vast and beautiful. Getting lost is likely. Ponds and swans make for pretty viewing.

Ripponlea House and Garden

Ripponlea House and Garden are the fancy gardens of Melbourne. The beautiful mansion building and the heritage listed grounds are a great spot for a sophisticated afternoon. BBQs and booze is not on the guest list, but if you’re ok with that, these gardens are a must visit. 

BEACHES

Beach 2

While Melbourne isn’t known for its local beaches, we try our best to get a few rays. These spots can be found within 17km from the CBD.  

St Kilda Beach

St Kilda beach is the place you’ll find tourists, rollerblade wearers and joggers. The boardwalk is lined with palm trees and the pier offers restaurants and a fisherman or two. Cafes and shops are nearby for when the heat gets too much. Luna Park is also a stone’s throw away.

Williamstown Beach

This one is a small but beautiful beach. It’s a popular spot for the swimmers, sunbakers and view chasers. Gem Pier offers a stunning view of the city skyline and is just as good day or night.  

Brighton Beach

Just like the pictures, Brighton beach is home to eighty-two bathing boxes in all their coloured glory. When the winds come to the party, there are some decent waves. Surfers rejoice. It’s also a short walk to the town of Brighton where you’ll find nice restaurants and cafes, in the rather upmarket town.

EASY DRINKING

For when you’re at home, at a friend’s place, or packing that BBQ you’ll need a beverage or two.

Over the summer period, we’ll be drinking Craft brews, Prosecco and a cocktail or two. When it comes to the beer drinking you would be good to try the new Quiet Deeds Kolsch, which offers a bright and refreshing finish and the Monteith’s Summer Ale. Prosecco drinkers can sip on the Brown Brothers wine or the Dal Zotto pucino prosecco, celebrating the local drops.  

If cocktails are your go-to, you can’t go past the Australian-owned spirits making their way around our best bars. Tequila Tromba, 666 Vodka and The West Winds Gin. Cheers to that.

About the author

Yoga teacher, writer, blogger, and marketing whiz – it’s safe to say Amy Collins is a busy little lady. Her idea of a stellar evening is yoga class followed by a glass of wine. Her favourite quote: “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

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