Australia travel: Melbourne’s best events for 2023

Australia travel: Melbourne’s best events for 2023

Make the most of Melbourne’s best events in 2023. Photo / Visit Victoria

Melbourne is an endless merry-go-round of international sports, global cuisine, breathtaking musicals and awe-inspiring events. And that’s before we get to the shopping and coffee.

Here are some of the top attractions luring Kiwis and locals to the Victorian capital in the coming months. Some – we didn’t have room for all of them.


There is no doubting the biggest high-octane event on the sporting calendar: the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, held around the lakes and cycle paths of Albert Park, just 3km from the heart of the city. The fast balls can reach 340 km/h, slightly faster than the park’s usual dog walkers.

AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix takes place in Albert Park. Photo / 123rf

Since 1996, Melbourne has hosted the Carnival, which takes place over four days and features almost every type of combustion engine racing. It used to be the inaugural event on the global circuit, but an expanded program sees it in fourth place this year starting March 30-2. April.

Alongside the big names of Netflix’ Drive to Survive – superstars like Lewis Hamilton and reigning champion Max Verstappen – the Aussies will barracks for local hero Oscar Piastri and make his F1 debut with McLaren (a Kiwi team, to say the least ).

New Zealand’s Petrolhead heroes are also on the gas, most notably in Thursday afternoon’s Supercars Championship race.

There’s more than just motorsport, however – the event will be accompanied by concerts and off-track entertainment, including stands offering some of Melbourne’s best coffee, food and cocktails.

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Most Kiwi sports fans need no reminding that Victoria’s capital has non-stop action in all codes year-round, and one of the great draws is that all the major venues are a short tram ride or easy walk from the city centre are.

There can’t be many places in the world where you can watch an Ashes Test, a Bledisloe Cup game, a soccer World Cup, a Grand Slam tennis tournament, a State of Origin game or an F1 Grand Prix – and be back in your hotel room or bar or favorite restaurant before the post-game interviews wrap up.

So, a quick rundown of some highlights of 2023.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the AFL’s unique tribal ritual, played out in front of 100,000 spectators all winter long at The G – the massive Melbourne Cricket Ground. Nowadays they play teams from other states and have changed the name from Aussie Rules although there are none; it is a tremendous spectacle.

Melbourne Cricket Ground is huge. Photo / 123rf

The All Blacks come to town on July 29 for the first Bledisloe Cup Test (only two this year); Aotearoa and Australia host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July/August and the Rectangular Stadium (can’t call it AAMI Park but you get the idea) will host six matches.

Almost everyone on this side of the planet knows what “the first Tuesday of November” means: Melbourne Cup Day. The Spring Racing Carnival is a city-wide… shall we settle for celebrations?… of glamour, celebrity, fashion, socializing and celebrations punctuated briefly by an international horse race.

Melbourne Cup Day is a city-wide spring festival in Melbourne. Photo / Visit Victoria

The G returns to its traditional code for the Boxing Day Test, which begins December 26th. This year, the Baggy Greens take on the enigmatic but always dangerous Pakistan XI.

And before you know it, we’re in January for what only the Australian Open can mean, watch the best tennis players in the world, eat and drink on court – or at Fed Square, where important matches are shown free on a big screen become.

Watch the Australian Open for free from Federation Square, where important matches are played on a big screen. Photo / 123rf


Shopping and a show in Melbourne has long been one of the most popular ways to spend a long weekend with the Kiwis. Good news: the shopping is as good as ever, if not better, and the city has a slew of new musicals coming up over the next few months.

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Headline act is Moulin Rouge! The Musical Returning in August. Inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s hit film and featuring 70 songs, the glittering Parisian nightclub show runs at the Regent Theater through November. Expect many of the tunes from the film with more from Adele, Katy Perry and Beyonce; bold musical numbers and eye-catching extravagance, all backed by dazzling choreography.

Moulin Rouge! The musical is set at the Regent Theater in Melbourne. Photo / Visit Victoria

Will Shakespeare also gets a remix in & Juliet, a feel-good musical with tunes by Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry, The Weeknd and Kelly Clarkson penned by Netflix’s Schitt’s Creek writer David West Read (also in Regent , through May 14), and The Rocky Horror Show crawls out of the crypt in May-June.

For the kids, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a staple – well, permanently until July 9th; Midnight: The musical, loosely based on the Cinderella story, pops up around the June-July school holiday season; as does Queensland’s leading contributor to world literature, Mary Poppins.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing at the Princess Theater in Melbourne until July 9. Photo / Visit Victoria

Those who prefer more intimate shows should keep an eye on the Always Live page. These promoters work with the Victorian Government to put on small concerts featuring top acts in unusual or overlooked locations. Recent shows have featured Dua Lipa, the Foo Fighters, Billy Joel and Nick Cave on the geological mountain of Hanging Rock.


Every year, Australia’s culinary capital dons its stretchy pants for one of the biggest and best events in the world, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

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From March 24th to April 2nd, this year’s program includes more than 150 events. The Signature Chef Series features a kitchen full of celebrated chefs who fly in from New York, Kyoto, London and Chiang Mai for rock star shifts at the city’s restaurants, including Curtis Stone of acclaimed Restaurant Gwen in LA and Yoshihiro Imai of Monk, Kyoto (as seen in Chef’s Table on Netflix). There’s a free festival hub in Fed Square, series Crawl and Bite and Westside Wanders shine the spotlight on suburban hotspots, while the famous or infamous The World’s Longest Lunch at Treasury Gardens has a new sibling, The World’s Longest Brunch.

One of the biggest and best events in the world is the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Photo / Visit Victoria

The Rising Festival (7th-18th June) brings together the city’s former international arts and white night festivals and celebrates “music, food, arts and culture in the heart of Naarm (Melbourne) in the moonlight”.

Unlike traditional arts events, the 12-night Rising is “a festival you do. The invitation to the public should not only be a testimony of great art,” according to the organizers, “but also contribute directly.” Such as the merger with the Melbourne composer Ciaran Frame, who will invite all interested parties to make 10,000 biodegradable ones with him Playing kazoos in a “howling, banging moment” without the need for rehearsals or musical skills in Fed Square.


For those ready to hit the road, put these two must-see exhibitions on your April agenda.

Alexander McQueen: Spirit, Myth, Muse; National Gallery of Victoria until April 16.

Stunning outfits inspired by everything from Roman gladiators to Scottish history are on display at the NGV-LA County Museum of Art in honor of McQueen, the British designer who died in 2010. Some of McQueen’s closest associates include backstage photographer Robert Fairer.

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Time: Rone; Flinders St Station until April 23rd

Melbourne street artist Rone campaigned for years to use the derelict third-floor wing above the central railway junction, which was formerly a ballroom. You will walk through several rooms, each with a different theme, glimpses into working-class life in mid-century town: a mail sorting room, a sewing factory, a writing workshop and its boss’s office, a classroom, an art class, a library, greenhouse . Carefully crafted from 3D imagery, sprinkled with vintage elements, with background music and stunning murals that bring an immersive feel to a surreal exhibition.

For more things to see and do in Melbourne this year, visit

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