Christmas in Melbourne

Nov 24th, 2004, 08:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 16
Christmas in Melbourne

My husband and I will be in Melbourne for Christmas. Any suggestions of what we should do that day? I assume everything will be closed. Am I right?
jen120978 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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I suggest a walk allong the banks of the Yarra on the Southbank side and then up through the Botanic gardens. There'll be lots of families having picnics and barbeques by the river. The shops will all be closed but many of the restaurants do Christmas lunch (which you'll need to book ahead for).
maryk is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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While most tourist attractions are closed on Christmas Day, I am pleasantly surprised to find that Healesville Nature Sanctuary is open. It's a good place to see Australian native animals. I hope the usual "Meet the Keeper" sessions would still run on Christmas Day. They are explanations of the habits of specific animals. The most popular of these is the Birds of Prey demonstration. You need a car to get to Healesville.

The Queen Victoria Market will be closed on Christmas Day, the Puffing Billy steam train will not be operating, and even the Royal Botanic Gardens' website says it will be closed.

It would be nice to walk along the banks of the Yarra River, as Maryk says. You also could walk along the Esplanade at St. Kilda.

More follows ......
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 12:19 PM
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Another nice place to go would be Warrandyte, which is an outer suburb of Melbourne, 30 km from the city centre.

Alfred's Homestead Restaurant's website says it offers Christmas lunch, but the website also says it's usually fully booked by the end of September.

Another pleasant spot, overlooking a lovely wooded ravine, with gazillions of rainbow lorikeets and sulphur crested cockatoos flying around, is the Potters Cottage (if it's open on Christmas Day).

If you can find a place to eat in Warrandyte, you can follow that with a bushwalk along the banks of the Yarra River in Warrandyte State Park. Take the trouble to look up into the trees regularly. I've always seen koalas whenever I've been there.

Warrandyte is another place that you pretty much need a car to reach.

More ......
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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The Dandenong Ranges to the east of Melbourne are very scenic. There are a number of restaurants there. Here's a website that lists some of them:

The Cuckoo Restaurant in the Dandenongs offers a buffet lunch, accompanied by a Bavarian-style "oompapa" band. If you get a window seat, you can look out over the forest and the rainbow lorikeets. It looks as if they’re open on Christmas Day.

These suggestions regarding the Dandenongs also rely on a car.

As far as downtown Melbourne is concerned, I might be inclined to treat myself to lunch at the Windsor Hotel, the grand old lady of Melbourne hotels.

Wherever you eat on Christmas Day, get ready for sticker shock. Australian workers earn serious overtime pay on public holidays, and that will drive up the cost of your meal.

More ......
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 12:22 PM
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Not Christmas itself, but immediately before and after ......

On some previous Christmas Eves there have been Carols by Candlelight at the outdoor Sidney Meyer Music Bowl. I think it's worth asking around to find out if it's taking place again in 2004. Carols by Candlelight is a simple southern hemisphere tradition in which people gather in a local park some evening near Christmas and, as the name suggests, sing carols by candlelight.

The Sidney Meyr Music Bowl is in King's Domain, a public park area on the other side of St. Kilda Road from the National Gallery of Victoria. If I was going there, I would walk from downtown or Southbank, but one also could catch a tram down St. Kilda Road.

The free City Circle Tram is a great way to tour downtown Melbourne. Unfortunately it doesn't run on Christmas Day. However, from November 19th through Christmas Eve, the tram is decorated for Christmas and, from December 1st until Christmas Eve, Santa is on board.

Perhaps you know that Boxing Day, December 26th, also is a public holiday in Australia. The Queen Victoria Market will be closed. However, other attractions (Puffing Billy, Royal Botanic Gardens, etc.) will be open.

By the way, if you want to immerse yourself in Australian culture, you could go to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). The Boxing Day cricket match at the MCG is a venerated institution. I'm sure the Aussies sitting next to you would be more than willing to explain the arcane rules.

Have fun.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 10:53 PM
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Most of the city hotels will be serving Christmas lunch and dinner but it would be best to make your booking now. If your hotel restaurant is not open on Christmas Day, ask for a recommendation from them for another hotel.
If you prefer a casual lunch, buy some goodies on Christmas Eve and have a picnic in one of the parks around town. David Jones (one of our department stores) has a great food hall in the basement of their men's wear store in the Bourke Street Mall.
While you are in town, make sure you have a look at the window display in the Myer department store in the Bourke Street Mall - they are usually spectacular.
The post-Christmas sales are usually pretty good if you are looking for bargains to take home.
marg is offline  
Nov 25th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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Judy in Calgary mentioning Healesville Sanctuary being opened reminded me that the Melbourne Zoo is also open on Christmas Day - it's fabulous and is close to the city and easily accessible either by taxi or tram.

I thnk it's very unlikely you'd get into Christmas luch at the Windsor now as it's usually very heavily booked, but it is fabulous.

The Boxing Day test at the MCG is a wonderful day out - however - the ground is currently being renovated in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in March 2006 and due to a couple of weeks of very heavy rain last month they're running very behind schedule. There was talk last week that the test may need to be moved to another venue. No decision has been made yet, but if you're planning on being in Melbourne for the cricket you might be best to keep an eye on the news over the next few weeks.
maryk is offline  
Nov 27th, 2004, 12:47 AM
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If you want to combine the zoo and a picnic, you can buy some great things either at Queen Victoria Market or David Jones department store and take lunch with you to the zoo, which is a short tram ride from the city. There are some grassy lawns and shady trees to sit under.
St Kilda beach is also not far by tram from the city and has some to-die-for cake shops (Acland St), restaurants, cafes, fish & chips etc but not sure what will be open.

A couple of helpful websites:
KayF is offline  
Nov 27th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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If you are interested in Carols by Candlelight at the Sydney Myer Bowl on Christmas Eve they are certainly on. This is a Melbourne tradition, having been held every year for over 50 years. Literally thousands of people turn up for it and it can look quite spectacular with all the candles waving around in the dark. These days you must book for the event beforehand. The website for the carols is
I know that the reserved seating sold out within 10 minutes of the bookings opening but I assume that you can still get general admission which means that you front up with everyone else and find a spot on the grass wherever you can.
shandy is offline  

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