Melbourne in Autumn: 19 Things To Do as the Weather Cools Down (2024)

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Article written by: Rebecca
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Autumn in most cities is a gorgeous time to visit, and Melbourne is no exception. As the leaves turn golden and red, the weather in Melbourne cools down and some incredible festivals and events pop up.

If you’re thinking about visiting Melbourne in autumn, then here’s everything you need to know and what to plan your visit around.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

When is autumn in Melbourne?

The autumn months in Melbourne are March, April and May. During these months, temperatures in Melbourne ranges between 11 and 24 degrees (51 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), but can often hit 28 degrees (82 Fahrenheit) in March.

March and April can see a bit of rain, but it usually only rains on a handful of days throughout both months.

Daylight saving time sadly ends on 7 April, which means we are back to seeing the sun set around 6pm.

For full details about all the seasons in Melbourne, you can read my guide to the best time to visit Melbourne.

Public and school holidays in autumn

In 2024, the autumn school holidays in Melbourne start on 29 March, and kids go back to school on 15 April. This coincides with the Easter break.

As for public holidays, we have four in Melbourne in autumn:

  • Labour Day – Monday 11 March
  • Good Friday – Friday 29 March
  • Easter Monday – Monday 1 April
  • ANZAC Day – Thursday 25 April

Things to do in Melbourne in autumn

So, now you know what to expect of the weather in Melbourne in autumn, here are a few ideas for festivals, events, attractions and things to do in Melbourne during these beautiful months.

1. Watch the autumn leaves change colour

Autumn in Melbourne is a magical time to be in the city, as the leaves change from green to yellow, orange and red.

The best places to see autumn leaves in Melbourne are the Botanic Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens.

Further out of the city, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, George Tindale Memorial Gardens, Cranbourne Botanic Gardens (all in the city’s eastern suburbs) and Seawinds Gardens at Arthurs Seat are all worth a day trip. Or head out to the Yarra Valley to see the vines going from green to gold – and check out some of the wineries while you’re there.

The leaves in the Royal Botanic Garden changing from green to golden - seeing these colours change is one of the best things to do in Melbourne in Autumn
Royal Botanic Gardens in autumn, courtesy Visit Victoria

2. See amazing views of the city

One of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings has opened a hidden part that hasn’t been open to the public in 100 years.

The Royal Exhibition Building’s recognisable Dome is now available to tour with a guide, with incredible views over Melbourne’s skyline. The tour includes an overview of the history of the iconic building.

From up here you’ll also have a spectacular view of all those autumn leaves colours.

Book tickets online.

One of the coolest things to do in autumn in Melbourne is check out the Royal Exhibition Building's Dome, now available to tour with a guide
Explore the views of Melbourne from the Royal Exhibition Building’s Dome, courtesy Visit Victoria

3. Dine out at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

A firm foodie favourite, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival guarantees that there’ll be plenty of eating and drinking across the city.

More than 150 events will be held from 15-24 March.

The festival’s most famed events, the World’s Longest Lunch and World’s Longest Brunch, are expected to bring together a combined 3,000 people.

While many of the events are held in the city, the program also offers the chance to explore beyond your usual haunts, with foodie finds in Melton, Footscray, Moonee Ponds and more to discover.

Check out the program and book tickets online.

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is one of the best events in Melbourne, bringing together people for the World's Longest Lunch
The World’s Longest Lunch is one of the most popular events on the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival program, courtesy Visit Victoria

4. Check out the blooms at the Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory

Flower lovers will enjoy whiling away a few hours at the Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory. This stunning Melbourne tourist attraction is housed in a building in the style of a Spanish mission.

With five displays each year, the space is filled with the sight – and smell – of stunning flowers meticulously cared for and displayed. In the autumn months this year, you’ll be able to see two different displays: Tuberous Begonia / Gloxinia (March and April) and Tropical / Poinsettia (April and May). I don’t have a green thumb, so I had to look these flowers up online and they are all so colourful and bright!

The Conservatory is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There will be one closure in autumn in Melbourne as the display is changed from 18-22 March.

The outside of the Fitzroy Conservatory Gardens - go inside to see beautiful flowers and plants
Courtesy Visit Victoria

5. Enjoy family fun at Moomba

Set on the banks of the Yarra River, Moomba is Australia’s largest community festival. Over the Labour Day weekend, there’ll be a street parade, fireworks, water sports and live performances, along with plenty of food.

The famous Birdman Rally sees courageous competitors hurtle themselves over the Yarra in the name of supporting various charities, while face-painting, drumming workshops and silent discos make it fun for the whole family.

Entry is free, with events at both Alexandra Gardens and Birrarung Marr from 7-11 March. Check the website for the full program.

Ride the rides at Moomba. Moomba is one of Melbourne's most popular festivals - and it's completely free.
Courtesy Mooma

6. See an incredible candlelit concert

If you’ve never been to one of the stunning Candlelight Concerts by events company Fever, this autumn it’s time to change that.

These concerts are absolutely mesmerising. Venues across the city are transformed into luminous spaces filled with music and soft candlelight. Whether you’re a classical music aficionado or simply seeking a magical night out, these concerts are an unmissable part of Melbourne’s events calendar.

The Candlelight Concerts feature a diverse range of musical performances. This autumn you can see everything from A Tribute to Taylor SwiftA Tribute to Queen, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and A Tribute to Oasis (at the Sea Life Aquarium).

Check out the full list of Melbourne Candelight Concerts online here, or buy a gift certificate.

7. Laugh yourself silly at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Australia’s biggest and best comedy festival returns, with laughs aplenty. The festival runs from 27 March to 21 April at venues across the city.

Acts include international and Australian performers such as Arj Barker, Ed Byrne, Jason Leong and Melanie Bracewell.

Buy tickets online.

Crowds of people watch a performance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It's one of the best things to do in Melbourne during March and April.
Courtesy Visit Victoria

8. Feel the thunder at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

There’s no sound quite like the roar of Formula 1 cars racing around a track. It’s a sound that you can actually feel reverberating through your body.

I was lucky enough to get invited to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix last year and unexpectedly had such a great time!

Over four days there are plenty of events and activities to keep rev-heads interested – from Supercars to exotic and classic cars demonstrations and of course the Grand Prix on 21-24 March.

Then there are all the events off-track, with performances from the likes of King Stingray and Sneaky Sound System in previous years, to the chance to see your favourite driver on the Melbourne Walk.

If you’re lucky enough to nab a ticket to the hospitality spaces, expect to hob knob with celebs while sipping Champagne and nibbling on snacks.

Even if you’re not a racing fan, it’s a really fun few days!

Cars racing as part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. It's one of Melbourne's most popular events.
Image: Australian Grand Prix

9. Commemorate Anzac Day

On 25 April every year, we remember those who fought and sacrificed their lives for Australia and New Zealand in wars across the world.

Join the moving dawn ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance and pay your respects.

A eternal flame at the Shrine of Remembrance. Commemorate ANZAC Day during a visit to Melbourne.
Image courtesy Visit Victoria

10. Learn from the best at the Melbourne Writers Festival

Each year, the Melbourne Writers Festival brings together dozens of writers, authors and poets to explore literature and big ideas.

It’s the chance to hear from some of your favourite – and many provocative – authors in person.

Events take place across the city from 6-12 May. The program is online and jam-packed with thought-provoking and entertaining events.

Inside Fed Square for a discussion panel as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival.
Courtesy Visit Victoria

11. Have a picnic while the weather is still nice

Barring those few rainy days, the weather is still ideal for a picnic in one of Melbourne’s gorgeous parks and gardens.

So gather up some cheeses and meats, a few sandwiches and maybe even a bottle of bubbles, and lay out a blanket on the lawns at the Royal Botanic Gardens or the Fitzroy Gardens.

Even better – solve a few clues and gather your picnic goodies on a Mystery Picnic. You’ll end up with a basket of gourmet goodness to enjoy in a mystery location. You can do the mystery picnics with a significant other, your family or a group of friends. Read my full Mystery Picnic Melbourne review to learn more about what to expect.

A Melbourne Mystery Picnic is a great activity to share with friends, family or your other half
Take advantage of the weather on a Melbourne Mystery Picnic

12. Check out the NGV Triennial

The third NGV Triennial will take over all floors of the NGV International. More than 100 artists and designers’ works will feature – including works from Yoko Ono, British artist David Shrigley and Polish artist Agnieszka Pilat.

Wander through a 100-metre-long woven fish fence that took 10 artists from Arnhem Land two years to make, and see Boston Dynamics robot dogs paint a creation over four months.

One of the incredible installations I caught on its opening day is (This is) Air which uses air as a building material. The sphere structure is this year’s Architecture Commission, and it will morph and change throughout the day.

The event is completely free – but it ends on 4 April. More information can be found on the NGV website.

13. Be amazed by The Lume

The Lume is one of Melbourne’s most spectacular exhibitions.

Instead of simply looking at art on walls, at The Lume you’re actually immersed in the art. The digital gallery is enhanced with sound and aromas, creating a true sensory experience.

Autumn brings a brand-new exhibition: Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius, celebrating the life and art of of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci.

Sessions run daily, from 10am on weekdays and from 9am on weekends, with prices starting at $44 for adults. Book tickets online.

14. Head to the theatre

Melbourne is known for attracting blockbuster theatre performances, and this autumn in Melbourne we have some great shows underway, including:

15. Catch a footy match

Footy fans rejoice as the AFL returns. Will your team make the final this year? Or will they slump to the bottom of the ladder?

Going to a footy match is a must-do when you’re in Melbourne. Even if you don’t really like the footy, you’ll still have a fun time. Between the fatty foods, the beer, and the happy (depending on how your team’s going) and excited atmosphere, you’ll find yourself shouting for your favourite team before you know it.

For the best experience, try to get tickets for a game at the MCG, the biggest stadium in the southern hemisphere.

Check out the AFL website for ticket information.

The MCG during a footy match.
Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

16. Explore the city on foot

Now that the weather’s cooled down, it’s time to pound the pavement and see the city without sweating too much. Check out Melbourne’s famous laneways and arcades, or catch a street artist in action.

There are several walking tours that cover history, art and culture. I list quite a few (both free and paid tours) in my guide to the best Melbourne tours and my overview of Melbourne walking tours.

Otherwise, Melbourne is such a walkable city, you can easily while away a few hours on a self-guided tour of the city highlights.

An AmazingCo Mystery Picnic Melbourne also includes stops to see some of Melbourne's cool street art

17. See the finest fashion

The Melbourne Fashion Festival returns in early March, with runway shows featuring Australia’s best designers, along with exhibitions, film screenings, shopping events and live entertainment.

If you like to get your hands dirty, try one of the workshops: make your own bucket hat, craft your own ring or learn how to up-cycle and repurpose used garments.

Listen to fashion experts discuss the latest trends in the industry, including topics on innovating for the future of fashion, sustainability and the ever-topical Oscars fashion.

Find the full program online. The Melbourne Fashion Festival runs from 24 February to 9 March.

18. Explore beautiful gardens at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show brings together the best landscape and floral talent from Australia and around the world.

Be amazed as the Royal Exhibition Building is transformed into the Great Hall of Flowers or get some inspiration from the Landscape Design Show Gardens.

Don’t forget to pick up a few flowers and plants to take home for your own garden!

Tickets start from $34 – you’ll save money if you buy your ticket online in advance rather than at the gate. The event runs from 20-24 March.

The inside of the Royal Exhibition Building which this autumn in Melbourne will see colourful blooms as part of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
Image: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

19. Check out the epic new Titanic exhibition

This autumn, step back in time and experience the grandeur and tragedy of the Titanic through its latest exhibition.

Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition takes visitors on a journey into the heart of this iconic ship’s story. Collect your boarding pass and explore a rich collection of artefacts recovered from the Titanic’s wreckage, all backed by poignant, human stories.

The exhibition is designed to immerse you in the Titanic’s world, from its ambitious inception to its fateful maiden voyage. Walk through the recreated cabins and hallways – including the Grand Staircase – and touch an iceberg that’s the same temperature of the freezing waters of the ocean that fateful evening.

The exhibition is open at the Melbourne Museum until 11 April.

Final thoughts on Melbourne in autumn

As always, there’s so many things to do in Melbourne this autumn. With fantastic events and festivals, exhibitions and music, autumn is a great time to visit Melbourne.

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I’m Rebecca, a Melbourne local excited to show you the best of Melbourne. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. After living abroad for 8 years, I’m back home in Melbourne, rediscovering this city that I love and have missed. My aim is to help you find the best things to do in Melbourne.

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