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March Right Into Autumn

14 Feb 2019

It signals the start of autumn, but March also heralds a series of major events across Melbourne that showcase Australia’s fashion and sporting capital.

The Bold and The Beautiful

Dedicated followers of fashion will have their eyes focused on the latest looks being showcased at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) from 1 to 10 March. Much of the runway action will take place inside the historic Royal Exhibition Building [9 Nicholson Street, Carlton], while The Plaza will host the block party, pop-up food and drink venues, runway shows, beauty bar and retail therapy.

For the uninitiated, two runway shows are held each night at 7pm and 8.30pm featuring a selection of Australian designers, including Carla Zampatti and Camilla and Marc, and up-and-coming talent in the National Graduate Showcase. Dress to impress and you may find yourself being snapped by VAMFF’s Street Style photographers. The 10-day event also encompasses independent events, exhibitions, industry workshops, talks, film screenings and art experiences.

Situated in the picturesque Carlton Gardens [1-111 Carlton Street],a short walk from the northern edge of the CBD, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building can be reached by tram (86, 96 and the free City Circle Tram), and bus (250, 251 and 402 to Rathdowne Street).
Evening parking at Melbourne Museumcan be booked for $5. Virgin Australia is also offering exclusive travel experiences for interstate visitors.

Football’s the Winner

Across town, fans of Australian rules football will be a making a sartorial statement of their own as they head to the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or Marvel Stadium at the Docklands proudly draped in their team’s colours. The beanies and scarves may not yet be out in full force for the 18-team Australian Football League (AFL) when the season starts on Thursday 21 March, but nothing’s guaranteed when it comes to Melbourne’s famous ‘four seasons in one day’ climate.

Carlton and Richmond get proceedings underway on Thursday 21 March at the MCG, while last year’s bridesmaids, Collingwood, take on Geelong the following night, also at the MCG.

The AFLW has its final three rounds of matches of the expanded 10-team competition starting on 2, 9 and 15 March before the top two play off in the decider.

Just when too much sport seemed barely enough, the A-League soccer season will be nearing its winner-takes-all 2018/19 final series,with several matches at AAMI Park that could lead to automatic qualification for the Asian Champions League.

Start Your Engines for Formula One

If your passion involves substantially more horsepower, the Formula One circus heads to town for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix from 14 to 17 March.

This year’s event kicks off a week earlier than usual at the picturesque Albert Park Lake circuit. The four-day program includes racing in the Supercars Melbourne 400, Australian GT Championship and Australian Formula Ford Championship.

But it’s the F1 cars travelling at speeds of more than 300 kilometres an hour that take centre stage, with local hero Daniel Ricciardo hoping to receive the chequered flag in his debut with the Renault team. But five-time world champion driver Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to pilot his Mercedes AMG Petronas to his third Australian GP win.

Off the track, there’s a chance to rub shoulders with your motorsport hero at the F1 Fan Zone, Kids Corner (free entry to those aged 14 and under) has something for the smaller rev heads, and food trucks, entertainment and live music concerts can all be found at M-Lane.

Due to limited parking, the circuit is best accessed on a tram (including the 12, 96 and 112). Various travel packages are also available so you can enjoy the big race.

If you miss the race, Albert Park is still a great spot to visit. Popular activities include picnics, golf, dog walking, jogging around its five-kilometre walking and running track, cycling, sailing and rowing.

In The Market For Fun?

The cooler temperatures of autumn allow for more time in the great outdoors. Devote some of it to Melbourne’s markets. Besides the well-known Queen Victoria Market on the northern edge of the city, smaller markets attract a loyal following.

Fresh food and quality produce is also in abundance at Camberwell Fresh Food Market [519–525 Riversdale Road). It opens at 7am, Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday. Highlighting gourmet products that can’t be sourced elsewhere, the market offers seafood outlets, organic fruit and vegetables, numerous cafes and takeaways, delicatessens, butchers, florists, poultry, shoe repairs and nut shop.

Nearby, the Camberwell Sunday Market transforms the car park into a vibrant space in which vintage memorabilia sits next to antiques, record collections and retro fashion each Sunday from 6.30am to 12.30pm. Entry is by gold-coin donation and allocated to Balwyn Rotary for charitable causes.

Every Sunday, weather permitting, Coburg Trash & Treasure Market [155 Newlands Road] offers more than 200 stalls of second-hand goods, crafts, antiques and new goods at the Coburg Drive-In Theatre. Entry costs $1 and there’s good on-site parking.

getting around

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The Planner will find the easiest way for you to get where you want to go, plus give you easy-to-follow instructions on how to get there.

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