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 from 5am to 11pm. 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, toasties, 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 whip out your phone to experience a free augmented-reality art exhibition, Seeing the Invisible. In Bulleen, you can explore Heide’s gardens and sculpture park.
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. Our pick? Treat yourself to a tongue-tingling Sichuan feast; there’s all sorts of grilled goodness at Chef David in the CBD, and steaming pots of malatang broth at David’s Hot Pot in the CBD, Doncaster and Point Cook.
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.
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. The cosy Lygon Street picture house is open all day, screening new releases (including Paul Thomas Anderson’s ’70s coming-of-age tale Licorice Pizza and the star-studded Tragedy of Macbeth) as well as a classic or two, including Love Actually – if you prefer watching all the Christmas chaos play out on screen.