For locals, or for those experiencing Christmas in Victoria for the first time, there are many ways to do so around Melbourne and regional Victoria. From markets to the Myer windows, Christmas light projections and opportunities to meet Santa, the following activities are sure to get the whole family excited for Christmas.
Melbourne’s City Square has been transformed into Christmas Square – a vibrant, magical forest replete with a giant Christmas tree, Santa and his helpers, and even his postbox (with a reply from the man himself guaranteed). Until December 25. 68 Swanston St, Melbourne.
Santa’s Christmas Spectacular
Cheeky elves bring Santa’s workshop to life in a fun-filled circus spectacular. These naughty ’n nice elves perform incredible acrobatic feats and circus stunts at Santa’s Christmas Spectacular at the Wonderland Spiegeltent on Saturdays and Sundays. Until 18 December. 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands.
Melbourne Town Hall and Federation Square Christmas projections
When the sun disappears, Melbourne will light up in December, with two of the city’s most iconic locations being the canvases for spellbinding, Christmas-themed light projection with a festive flavour. Screening from dusk till 11pm, the display is by projection designers, The Electric Canvas. Until December 25. Corner Little Collins & Swanston Streets, Melbourne and corner Flinders Street and St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
They’ve been entertaining children of all ages for many years, and this year’s Myer windows will be as entertaining as ever, as they’re based on the new Australian children’s book, One Christmas Eve. Until December 25. Tip – get there early to avoid queues! 314-336 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
The Gingerbread Village
The Gingerbread Village, located in the Melbourne Town Hall, returns for its sixth year. Visitors can drool over a mini version of Melbourne, made from gingerbread – more than 500 kilograms worth, to be exact. Many months of hard work have gone into the display, along with the gingerbread, 360 kilograms of royal icing and 150 kilograms of marzipan. Entry is by gold coin donation, with proceeds going to the Royal Children’s Hospital. Until December 24. Corner Little Collins & Swanston Streets, Melbourne.
Santa’s Magical Kingdom
Santa, the Snow Queen, Rudolph, Mrs Claus and their merry band of elves will make their way to the Big Top at the Caulfield Racecourse this Christmas. Magical Kingdom is an interactive, walk-through adventure land, where visitors enter several different ‘lands’ and meet plenty of interesting, Christmassy characters along the way. Until 23 December. Station Street, Caulfield East.
Flemington Racecourse Christmas Market
Join Melbourne’s finest makers, bakers and artists at the Flemington Racecourse Christmas Market for a jolly holly family day – and a chance to stock up on last minute gifts. 18 December. 448 Epsom Rd, Flemington.
The Big Design Market
Held in the historic Royal Exhibition Building, The Big Design Market features independent Australian and international designer in a line-up of more 230 stallholders across homewares, textiles, fashion, furniture, lighting, stationery, lifestyle and kids’ products. There are also creative workshops, our showbags, and event free kids’ activities. 2 to 4 December. 9 Nicholson St, Carlton.
French Christmas Market
Francophiles will be all ‘ooh la la’ at Alliance Française de Melbourne’s annual French Christmas Market. Held at Eildon Mansion in St Kilda, this two-day event features not only stocking stuffers, but French products of all kinds – from food to wine to music, along with workshops, children’s games, cocktail demonstrations, and French trial classes. 10 to 11 December. 51 Grey Street, St Kilda.
Carols by Candlelight
Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight event is synonymous with Christmas, with 2.5 million Australians tuning into their televisions on Christmas Eve to watch. But to truly get into the Christmas spirit, visitors can attend the event itself, either in the seated stalls section or the lawn area of Sidney Myer Music Bowl. December 24. King’s Domain Park, Linlithgow Avenue, Melbourne.
Victoria’s regional hubs, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo are all celebrating Christmas in style this year, offering locals and visitors alike plenty of opportunities to soak up the Christmas cheer.
Geelong’s Floating Christmas tree will light up each night (11 November 2016 – 7 January 2017), from 8.30pm until midnight. A six minute music and light show will take place every fifteen minutes with three different shows planned for the season (11 November – 2 December; 3 – 25 December and 26 December to 7 January). This year there is an interactive element to the tree allowing people to make their own light show. This function will be operational from Saturday 3 December accessible from The Carousel.
Geelong will also welcome award-winning Australian projection artists The Electric Canvas for this year’s Christmas Projections which beam onto City Hall nightly from 9pm to midnight throughout December and January. The Christmas projections feature a storyline based around a family preparing for Christmas, with the excitement of Santa arriving following by a summer holiday. The projection sequence will run for approximately eight minutes on a constant loop and is sure to be a hit with children.
Alongside these highlight activities, Geelong will also play host to more than 26 different Christmas themed activities, including Family Christmas Movies, Magic Meter Elves, Santa’s Reindeer Training Academy and a Ginger Bread House – perfect for photo fun.
Ballarat’s city centre will be bustling with music, food, and stalls as part of the inaugural Ballarat Christmas Festival. The free event will see more than 30 local community groups and organisations come together to celebrate the festive season while supporting those in need during Christmas time. It will feature a pop-up market and stalls from local restaurants and retailers, the UFS Christmas Wonderland jam-packed with activities for the children, and a street party headlined by local folk duo The Pierce Brothers.
Bendigo’s renowned tram network will welcome a Santa Tram (9 – 24 December 2016) to its tracks this December (9 – 24 December 2016). Kids can jump aboard and have their photo taken with Santa and let him know what they would like for Christmas. The tram trip is a one hour round trip departing from Bendigo Tramways Depot and Workshop and departs three to five times daily. Visitors are advised to book ahead as it is known to sell out.
Also in Bendigo, Summer in the Parks (1 December 2016 – 25 February 2017) features a range of free or low cost events throughout summer. During December, the focus will be on Christmas with a Christmas Tree light up (2 December 2016) at the Alexandra Fountain, and Christmas Carols (18 December) at Rosalind Park.
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