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Explore a City of Many Cultures

23 Nov 2018

Melbourne’s melting pot of nationalities ensures an exciting mix of art, fashion, food and celebrations. Immerse yourself in its cultural offerings.


Art takes many forms in Melbourne, from the prestigious collections displayed at premier galleries and museums to street art found in almost every pocket of the CBD.

Recently launched at NGV International [180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne] is NGV Triennial. This free exhibition comprises works by more than a hundred artists and designers from across the globe and at various stages of their artistic careers. Explore this diverse collection that features pieces ranging from animation to architecture, fashion to robotics.

If you’d rather observe art in the laneways of Melbourne, head to Presgrave Place. You won’t find the large-scale murals you might expect; instead, it features kitschy picture frames filled with intricate drawings and cartoons, mini versions of childhood toys and mice hidden in the crevices of walls. This installation is largely the work of Melbourne artist Kranky, whose style is reminiscent of Banksy’s but is intricately executed with Barbies, rodents and dark themes. While you’re here, look up to see more quirky works. Of course, if you also want to check out Melbourne’s quintessential street art scene, head to Hosier or ACDC Lane — even if you’ve been before, new works appear seemingly overnight, so there’s always something new to view.

During Winter White Night comes to town, lighting up the city for 12 hours. Stay out late — or wake up early — to experience installations, exhibitions, films, projections, music and performance. Check the program ahead of time to ensure you tick off all of your must-dos, or roll the dice and explore with no set plans. We recommend sticking to one or two precincts though, as getting around can be a little tricky in the crowds. Either way, White Night is sure to keep you amused for as long as you plan to stay.


Get a feel for Melbourne’s multicultural history at the Immigration Museum [400 Flinders Street, Melbourne]. Uncover the stories of people who’ve come from all over the world to Victoria to build a life in our state. These experiences range from happy to profound, but all played an important part in shaping present-day Victoria.

Immerse yourself in Indigenous history at The Koorie Heritage Trust [The Yarra Building, Federation Square, Flinders & Swanston Streets] where a rotating calendar of exhibitions examines the past and future. Take a Wominjeka (Welcome) Tour of the Trust to hear about its history and the collections, or head off on the Birrarung Wilam Walk to learn about the Aboriginal history of the Birrarung Marr area. Alternatively, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne [Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra] offers the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. An Indigenous guide will teach you about the traditional use of the flora within the gardens and conduct an Aboriginal smoke ceremony.

Coming to town in February is the Chinese New Year Festival, welcoming the Year of the Pig. Melbourne’s Chinatown precinct will come to life with dragons dancing through its streets while the excitement spreads through different corners of the city. There’ll be food, entertainment and activities to take part in while enjoying the festivities.


Get a taste of the music scene before those international guests transcend on Melbourne. Northcote Social Club [301 High Street, Northcote] hosts a mix of international and local acts across all the popular genres and is a favourite haunt for live music lovers.

For a fancier affair, see who’s on the bill at Bird’s Basement [11 Singers Lane, Melbourne] and book for dinner and show. This month will see jazz talents, including Grammy Award nominee Karrin Allison and talented Australian drummer and producer Virgil Donati, on the line-up.

Cherry Bar [AC/DC Lane, Melbourne] is another legendary Melbourne music venue. Appropriately situated on ACDC Lane, this little bar the holds 200 and is big on rock ’n’ roll and personality, confidently claiming itself the best rock ’n’ roll bar in the world. It’s the place the big names in music go to after their shows and a must-do if you want to rock out.