What’s it like in Melbourne in spring? Put simply, usually quite glorious. The weather is warming up, the days are sunnier, and with the start of daylight savings the days get longer, meaning you can pack more into a visit to Melbourne.
Spring season in Melbourne really is one of the best seasons to visit the city. Along with the lovely weather, flowers start to emerge from their winter hibernation – and so do Melburnians, with plenty of events and activities to thaw out our bones.
For visitors, it’s the shoulder season, so you should be able to find lower prices for hotel rooms and airfares – which means more cash to splash on activities and dining out.
If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne in spring, here are some of the things you need to add to your itinerary.
I’ve done my best to check that information in this blog post remains current in light of the uncertainty around the world, but please check with individual businesses before booking. If you see any errors, please let me know so that I can keep this article updated.
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When is spring in Melbourne?
For anyone not in the Southern Hemisphere, a reminder that the spring months in Melbourne (and across Australia) are September, October and November.
Melbourne spring weather varies. September is the tail end of winter with a hangover of some of the cold weather. Temperatures average between 8 and 17 degrees (46 to 63 Fahrenheit). It warms up in October and November, with the Melbourne average temperature around 9 to 22 degrees (49 to 71 Fahrenheit).
October has the second-highest rainfall of the year (but never fear, there are plenty of indoor activities in Melbourne for those rainy days).
Daylight savings starts on 3 October in 2021, making spring in Melbourne even better. This is my favourite time – the days feel so much longer after the dark winter!
For full details about all the seasons in Melbourne, you can read my guide to the best time to visit Melbourne.
Spring public and school holidays in Melbourne
If you’re trying to avoid travelling to Melbourne during school holidays – or perhaps it’s the only time that you can get away – then it’s handy to know the Victorian term 3 (spring) holidays. In 2021, the holidays are from 18 September to 3 October.
As for Melbourne spring public holidays, there are two in Victoria: the AFL Grand Final (most likely 24 September in 2021) and Melbourne Cup (2 November).
What to pack for spring in Melbourne
Things to do in Melbourne in spring
Melbourne is charming all year round, but she really turns it on in spring. There are plenty of events and activities worth your time. Here are some of the best things to do in Melbourne during spring.
1. Explore an immersive digital gallery
Coming to Melbourne in September after being delayed in 2020, The Lume is taking galleries to a whole new level.
Instead of simply looking at art on walls, you’ll actually be immersed in the art. The digital gallery will be enhanced with sound and aromas, creating a true sensory experience.
This first exhibition will showcase the works of Vincent Van Gogh, and I’m so excited for this one – my ticket is already booked.
It looks absolutely spectacular – but get in quickly as tickets are already selling out. Sessions run daily, from 10am on weekdays and from 9am on weekends, with prices starting at $39 for adults. Tickets are available online from Ticketmaster. Book online here.
2. Pack a picnic
If there’s anything that screams that spring has arrived, it’s packing a picnic. Melbourne is home to some beautiful 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 Date. 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.
3. See flowers in bloom around the city
Spring of course means flowers blooming, and there are some beautiful places in Melbourne to see nature’s beauty.
The Queen Victoria Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens are obvious and easily accessible choices for seeing flowers in Melbourne in spring. Further out of the city there’s the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens and Werribee’s Victoria Rose State Garden.
You can also head to the Melbourne Museum to take the Milparri Garden Trail and learn about the traditional uses of native plants for food and medicine, or duck into the Forest Gallery to see a living forest. While there won’t be too many flowers blooming here, you’ll get a wonderful taste of nature.
4. Hit up a rooftop bar or sit riverside
Melbourne does rooftop bars very well. And in spring you can shrug off the jacket and put away the heaters.
If you’re visiting Melbourne in spring, make sure you check out a few of these rooftop bars:
- Good Heavens, with its fun vibe
- Loop Project Space & Bar, which is cosy but very cool
- Rooftop Bar, the favourite go-to of many
- Siglo, for Parliament House views (although mind the cigar smokers)
- Naked Upstairs, for awesome views of the city
- Johnny’s Green Room, for Italian food and Carlton views
As well as a rooftop bar, we Melburnians also love one by the river. Riverland is tucked in under Fed Square, an all-day beer garden with prime river frontage. Arbory Bar & Eatery stretches 100 metres along the riverfront – and springtime in Melbourne heralds the return of Arbory Afloat, a pop-up floating bar that’ll have you thinking you’re on the Amalfi Coast.
Ponyfish is a classic spot – sitting smack bang in the middle of the river. It’s small but mighty, serving up great cocktails and snacks.
5. Explore the Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory
The Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory has reopened with a flourish of blooms. 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.
The Conservatory is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There are a few closures throughout spring in Melbourne as displays are changed: 20-24 September and 1-5 November.
6. Cheer on a footy team at the Grand Final
Will your team make the final? Even if they’re bottom of the ladder, there’s no denying the excitement around Melbourne when the Grand Final weekend draws closer.
Unless you’re a club member or lightning quick when tickets go on sale to the general public, it may be tricky to get tickets to the grand final.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t cheer on your pick at a pub or with a group of mates.
7. Sway to the smooth sounds of jazz
After being cancelled in 2020, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival will be back in October 2021. Melburnians – and visitors to the city – will be treated to the smooth sounds of jazz from 15-24 October at various venues.
The line up is still to be announced, so sign up for updates via the website so you can nab tickets quickly.
8. Explore the city on foot
Now that the weather’s warming up, it’s time to pound the pavement and see the city. 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 in my guide to the best Melbourne tours, both free and paid 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.
9. Go for a hike near the city
There are some great hikes that you can do close to the city if you feel like stretching your legs on a sunny day.
If you don’t have a car, strolling along the Yarra River is nice. Start next to Fed Square and walk east through Birrarung Marr, crossing back over the other side at the Church Street Bridge. Or go a little further up to Herring Island and cross at MacRobertson Bridge.
Jump on public transport to tackle the Yarra Bend Trail, where you might see kookaburras, flying foxes and yellow-tailed black cockatoos. There are several trails, ranging from 850 metres to 6.3 kilometres.
Further out of the city, the Dandenong Ranges National Park is a lush rainforest crisscrossed with hiking tracks. A popular and fairly easy one is the 1000 Steps (Kokoda Track Memorial Walk), a 2.8km-return trail.
10. Get frocked up for the Melbourne Cup Carnival
Over a week, Melburnians pull out their best suits and don their most glam frocks for the events that make up the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
From “the race that stops a nation” – the Melbourne Cup – to Oaks Day and Ladies Day, attendees are dressed to the nines and there to watch the horses or watch the fashion.
Get tickets for the Spring Racing Carnival online.
11. Get your dog fix at the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show
Puppies, puppies, puppies!
Dog lovers will be in heaven at Melbourne Dog Lovers Show, scheduled for 15-17 October. Be inspired to pamper your pooch with doggy manicures, cheer along at the sheepdog speed trials and try not to adopt all the rescue dogs in the Adoption Zone. There are also plenty of educational workshops and sessions to help you care for your pet.
12. Pose for pics at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Surround yourself with an explosion of colour at this annual tulip festival.
Located in Silvan, an hour east of the CBD, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival runs from 11 September to 10 October. There’s plenty of space to set up a picnic, or enjoy the food, live entertainment and tractor rides on site.
Adult tickets are $30 with children under 16 free. I’d recommend booking in advance, especially if you want to visit on a weekend. Access is between 10am and 5pm daily.
Update: Sadly, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival has been cancelled for 2021. Stay tuned for 2022 dates.
13. Enjoy a drop at Pinot Palooza
I’m definitely a fan of a Pinot Noir, so to have dozens and dozens of the best pinot makers in one place is a dream.
Over two days (8-9 October), winemakers will pack (in a COVIDSafe way of course!) The Timber Yard in Port Melbourne to celebrate Pinot Palooza. Tickets cost $65+booking fee and includes a wine glass and all wine tastings.
14. Be wowed by Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic masterpiece has finally come to the Melbourne stage.
This Tony Award-winning musical will be shown at the Regent Theatre from August until at least January. There’ll be all the glitzy, embellished costumes, over-the-top, glamourous sets and fiery performances that you’d expect of a show of this calibre.
Get right up close to the performers in the Can! Can! Seats – tables butt up against the stage and the performance will be happening around you. You will be part of the Moulin Rouge with these seats.
Book tickets at Ticketmaster.
Check out more fun things to do in Melbourne at night.
Final thoughts on visiting Melbourne in spring
Melbourne in spring is divine, and it’s probably one of the best times to visit the city, especially if it’s your first time. There’s a lot to do and great weather to get you out and about.
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