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. It’s without a doubt my favourite time of year here in the city.
Along with the lovely weather, flowers start to emerge from their winter hibernation – and so do Melburnians, ready to thaw out our bones. There are plenty of events and activities to keep every weekend packed.
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.
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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 saving time starts on 1 October in 2023, 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 2023, the holidays are from 18 to 29 September.
As for Melbourne spring public holidays, there are two in Victoria: the day before the AFL Grand Final (29 September) and Melbourne Cup (7 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
The Lume is taking galleries to a whole new level. Instead of simply looking at art on walls, in this gallery you’re actually immersed in the art. The digital gallery is enhanced with sound and aromas, creating a true sensory experience.
Come wander through the Lume’s latest exhibition, Connection, a stunning celebration of First Nations art and culture.
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. Read my full Mystery Picnic Melbourne review to learn more about what to expect.
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
- 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. 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.
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 in Mexico.
5. Explore the Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory
The Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory is full of blooms. This gorgeous 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: 18-22 September and 30 October to 3 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.
And if you do miss out on tickets to the actual game, the AFL Grand Final Parade takes place in the city the day before the big game.
7. Sway to the smooth sounds of jazz
Melburnians – and visitors to the city – will be treated to the smooth sounds of jazz as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival from 20-29 October. Shows will be held at various venues.
The program includes acts from Australia and New Zealand, as well as performers from as far away as the USA, Italy, Chile and Brazil. This year’s line-up includes a tribute to Nina Simone, performed by her own daughter Lisa Simone.
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 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. Dates for 2023 are 4-11 November.
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 13-15 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 16 September to 15 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 $33.50 with children under 16 free. I’d recommend booking well in advance, especially if you want to visit on a weekend. Access is between 10am and 5pm daily.
13. Get out on the water
Allowing people to captain their own boats down the river could be a foolhardy business model – but it sure is a lot of fun!
In the past few years, a couple of companies have popped up allowing people to self-drive their own boat down the Yarra River. Go Boat and On A Boat are the two companies currently offering the chance to motor down the river.
You can BYO your own picnic food and drinks, and hand over the reins (rudder?) to a member of your group while the rest of you enjoy the view.
BYO captain’s hat!
14. See magical creatures at Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature
Melbourne Museum is bringing fantastic beasts and creatures to wonder at.
Created by Warner Bros. and the Natural History Museum London, this awesome exhibition explores the links between the magical creatures of the wizarding world and the remarkable animals of our own natural world.
Diverse specimens and artefacts from the collections of the Natural History Museum will be on display alongside custom-made models from the Wizarding World, original artworks from Bloomsbury Publishing, and props from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film series.
Check tickets online. The exhibit runs until 8 October.
15. Grab a showbag at the Royal Melbourne Show
The Royal Melbourne Show is back after a two-year hiatus – and there’s a bonus this year, as kids under 14 can go to the show for free.
There’ll be the usual fun to be had: games, rides, livestock shows, cooking demonstrations and, of course, sheds full of showbags.
The show runs from 21 September to 1 October. Tickets and information can be found online here.
16. Revel at Oktoberfest
Can’t make it to Germany this year? No worries! Join the hordes for Melbourne’s version of Oktoberfest. Dig out your best lederhosen and prepare for a fun-filled extravaganza on the St Kilda Foreshore. There’ll be entertainment, music, rides and PLENTY of beer.
Australia’s largest and longest running Oktoberfest event is back in Melbourne, with a new location at Catani Gardens in St Kilda. At Oktoberfest in the Gardens, there’ll be a massive beer hall, German food stalls, roving performers, thrill rides, a silent disco and plenty of entertainment and on-stage competitions.
Hofbräuhaus in the CBD also has plenty of Oktoberfest fun planned. The festivities kick off on 16 September and run until 28 October.
17. Check out a show
Melbourne is known for our theatre, and this spring in Melbourne we have some great shows underway, including:
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical (more info)
- Death of a Salesman (more info)
- Mamma Mia! The Musical (more info)
- Miss Saigon (more info)
18. Gorge on dumplings
A new foodie festival is headed to Melbourne in spring! The Downtown Dumpling Market will set up shop at Birrarung Marr from 9-26 November.
Expect plenty of Asian flavours from across the continent. Along with dumplings there’ll be noodles, bao and salads, as well as halal, vegan and gluten-free options.
The full program will be released soon online.
Bring a picnic blanket and your appetite!
Bonus – friendly dogs are welcome.
19. Enjoy the Melbourne Fringe Festival
The Melbourne Fringe Festival is back on this year, with a program that’s exciting, daring and fabulous. Many shows are free and will be held across the city.
The most cutting-edge independent artists from Melbourne, Australia and overseas will put on shows that feature everything from dance to theatre to experimental performances – shows that will inspire, provoke and amaze.
This year there’s even a giant, 8-metre-tall swing set to be placed in front of the State Library.
The festival runs from 3-22 October; check out the program online.
20. Groove to incredible music acts
ALWAYS LIVE is back, with 17 days of live music across Victoria. Confirmed acts include Christina Aguilera, along with Aussie faves Tones and I, Amyl and the Sniffers, Emma Donovan and Peter Garrett and The Alter Egos.
The festival is the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and isn’t just limited to Melbourne. The festival kicks off on 24 November.
21. Shop at a market
Spring for me means getting outdoors more, and there are plenty of outdoor markets to browse.
The Europa Night Market runs until 25 October at Queen Vic Market. Every Wednesday night you can enjoy amazing food and entertainment, and even groove at a silent disco.
Get ahead of your Christmas shopping by picking up a few handcrafted items at the Arts Centre Melbourne market, held every Sunday out the front of the arts centre.
The Finders Keepers is also on over one weekend in October (14-15 Oct), with more than 200 stalls filled with beautiful goods from Australian designers.
22. Go punting on the lake
Did you know that you can go punting on the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens?
On a clear spring day, this is such a gorgeous way to spend a day with your loved one or some friends.
The punts can fix 6 people, and you can bring your own picnic and drinks. They’re always private so you won’t be stuck with strangers (how unromantic would that be!).
It’s even dog friendly!
My tip: Book well ahead – sessions sell out really quickly.
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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Best Melbourne resources
- Check out my Melbourne travel guide for everything you need to know about planning a trip to Melbourne
- Look for flights to Melbourne on Skyscanner.
- Book accommodation on Booking.com or Expedia for your Melbourne trip. The Ovolo Laneways Hotel is a good choice in the CBD.
- You won’t really need a car in Melbourne, but if you do want to get out of the city, then rent a car through DiscoverCars.
- Pick up a copy of the Lonely Planet Pocket Melbourne to help plan your trip.
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