Larger-than-life light installations at the Royal Botanic Gardens. A multi-level, maze-like gallery with an unmissable rooftop bar. A kaleidoscopic Yayoi Kusama work. And more. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma is checking out in Melbourne in June.

Rising has risen
In 2021, the debut of Rising – Melbourne’s ambitious new winter arts festival – was cruelly ground to a halt by Covid after just five hours. Not this year. It’s finally stormed into town for 12 days of revelry, and we’ve got a comprehensive guide of what to see, do, eat and drink to make the most of it all. With 225 events, it’s an “explosion of culture”. Among the headline experiences are The Lighthouse, a glowing glass atrium filled with fried mussels (phenomenal, can confirm) and natural vino; The Wilds, a psychedelic wonderland of inflatable sculptures with a 1800 Lasagne pop-up; and Golden Square, a drab CBD car park that’s been transformed into a multi-level, maze-like art gallery with a rooftop bar you don’t want to miss. Rug up and I’ll see you there.

Wareheim watch
It feels like American comedian and Master of None star Eric Wareheim ate everything, everywhere when he was in town recently for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. His enthusiasm for eating – and posting what he was eating on Instagram – was such that Broadsheet staffer Jarrad McLean made a spreadsheet to keep track of it. He counted 78 dishes and 69 bottles of wine across 25 different venues, and his guide tracks all of Wareheim’s movements – from mashed-potato-stuffed schnitzels to a hidden noodle joint “every damn drongo recommended” and a very curious off-menu item at France-Soir. Bookmark this one.

Up and art ’em
It’s a monumental month for art openings in Melbourne – some big international imports are coming. On June 10, a world-premiere Picasso exhibition will be unveiled at NGV International. Part of the Winter Masterpieces series, it’s bringing more than 170 masterworks to Melbourne – direct from two French art institutions. Then, on June 16, works by Claude Monet, Yayoi Kusama and more are headed to ACMI for blockbuster exhibition Light: Works From Tate’s Collection, curated by the UK art powerhouse; Kusama’s kaleidoscopic The Passing Winter will reflect fragments of viewers back at themselves. And, after illuminating the US and UK, Lightscape will arrive at the Royal Botanic Gardens – after dark – on June 24. Expect a field of light, glowing tunnels, luminous walkways, sparkling trees and lights floating on a lake.

Your winter hit list
After two rocky years, Melbourne’s restaurant openings are still coming in thick and fast. It can be hard to keep up (and remember what happened last week), so we’ve started publishing monthly round-ups of our favourites. Here’s the one for May – start ticking them off. This month, I’ll be beelining up the road to check out what I reckon will become my new local – Zaubertrank, an eccentric new wine bar by (and a few doors up from) Carwyn Cellars. I’ll also be Mentone-bound to road-test Sunnyside Sliced, a killer new pizza joint that it feels like everyone’s raving about. Plus, I can’t wait to get back to the Hanoi Hannah team’s new Chinese-inspired bistro, Moonhouse, to try the saucy, sesame-bomb dan dan noodles.

Four Pillars 2.0
After a colossal $7 million expansion, the Yarra Valley’s Four Pillars has reasserted itself as a world-class drinking destination. Shrouded by a striking copper veil, the new, highly anticipated gin utopia in Healesville is a sight to behold. And it should be at the top of your to-visit list. The original cellar door was an instant hit and struggled to keep up with demand as soon as it opened in 2015. Now, it’s tripled capacity. It’s spacious in a way the OG (next door) could never be, with banquettes, bar seating and a huge porthole to the packaging line. Hit the road and find a very green botanical garden amid the treetops and a Wonka-esque “chai river”.