Spring into action
One of Victoria’s premier relaxation destinations – the steamy Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal – is usually heaving. But chances are you’ll find it a little less so if you head there on December 25. There are more than 50 family-friendly bathing experiences available. But that’s not all: you can also get involved in yoga, hot and cold therapy, and a detoxifying clay situation. Plus, the on-site cafe is open all day long, serving coffee, breakfast bagels, baked goods, grazing platters and more.

Get to the gardens
If outdoors is where you want to be on December 25, why not park yourself at one of Melbourne’s best picnic spots – or hit the road to one of Victoria’s best. Failing that, some of the city’s most lush gardens are open to visitors. Appreciate Melbourne’s riverside botanic gardens at face value – wandering through more than 3000 cacti and succulents at the “Arid Garden”. Or in Bulleen, you can explore Heide’s gardens and sculpture park.

Not-so-festive feasting
It doesn’t have to be all about ham and pudding on December 25. But while many of the city’s restaurants, cafes and bars will be closed, we’ve put together a guide of those staying open.

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Walk it out
Want to get your blood pumping and get back to nature simultaneously? Do it without even leaving the city by tackling one of these three walking trails – one meanders through patches of native forest; another runs along clifftops, above sandy beaches and past rockpools; and they’re all less than 40 minutes’ drive from the CBD. Too close to home? Break the shackles of the city with these walks near Melbourne; find a rugged beach-to-beach track, climb a spectacular rocky escarpment or amble to a stunning rock pool for a refreshing dip. There’s also the 1000 Steps – a day-tripper favourite that traverses through the luscious forest of the Dandenong Ranges.

On the big screen
It always feels like a frantic rush to the end of the year, so it’s likely you’ve had little downtime – and little opportunity – to catch all the summer blockbuster films on your to-watch list. Our pick for December 25 viewing is Carlton’s Cinema Nova, which is a classic for a reason and is open 365 days a year. The cosy Lygon Street picture house will be holding an advanced screening of Yorgos Lanthimos' highly-anticipated Boxing Day release Poor Things, starring Emma Stone. Other screenings will include Saltburn, Hayao Miyazaki's The Boy and the Heron, Wonka and Past Lives.

This article was originally published on December 15, 2021. It has been updated to reflect new information and remove out-of-date details.