I will be in Melbourne during the holidays and not sure what holiday activities there are (though top of my list is building a sandman instead of a snowman!). I know it will be summer there, so I'm curious, what do the locals do during the holiday season? Are there any stores, events, neighborhoods, etc, that I should check out?
We don't really have festivals here during the Holiday season. Our biggest is in March, which is called 'Moomba' - and there's fairground attractions, a parade through the city etc. If you'll be in Melbourne for NYE, you might like to head to the Yarra River to get a vantage point to watch the fireworks. They're not as spectacular as Sydney but a good fun night. If you're travelling with young children there are designated areas for families with additional entertainment and an earlier fireworks display (i.e., well before midnight). If you're looking for something festive, the windows in the Myer Melbourne store are worth checking out. They're a bit of a Melbourne holiday institution.
In terms of neighbourhoods, it depends what you're into. I'd recommend you head down to St Kilda (on our waterfront which you can access by jumping on a tram). It's a great spot to walk, there are weekend markets and you're spoiled for choice for places to eat and drink. It's particularly nice to watch the sun go down there on a nice night.
St Kilda is one of the Bay beaches and will give you the opportunity to build a sandman but the best beaches are a considerable drive from Melbourne, which sits at the point of the bay. If you have transport (and love beaches) I'd suggest driving down past Geelong to Queenscliff and taking the ferry across to Sorrento - there are some great beaches, local markets, shopping and food and wine. Be aware that the weather down here can be a bit unpredictable. Most of the time it's quite hot at Christmas but we have had years where it's not exactly beach weather!
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Perhaps surprisingly, many families do Northern Hemisphere Christmas celebrations, with some variations. The Turkey is optional!
Of course, barbecues are common at this time of year (BTW, we call them "prawns", not "shrimps") , and there are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants with outdoor areas all around Melbourne.
The best known Christmas display in Melbourne is the Myer store window on Bourke Street Mall.
If you have access to a car, or someone who can drive you, The Blvd in Ivanhoe is a suburban street well known for its Christmas lights.
Not sure what Christmas is like in California, but if its anything like the depictions of New York Christmases we see in the movies, frankly you'll probably be a bit underwhelmed by anything we have to offer.
Australia is known for a "laid back" culture, and holidays are no exception. We don't like to make too much of a fuss!
Hope that helps :-)
Hi Rosie, Melbourne is one big Event through the summer, it depends on if your sporty or arty there is so much going on Here are a few info-sites that will give you an idea Federation Square and City Square Motel are the meeting areas.
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