Make no mistake, Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world. For food, art, theatre and culture, we’re absolutely spoiled. It means that one of the best breaks you can take this summer is in your own backyard. Here’s a weekend’s worth of Melbourne culture for staycationers that’ll remind you just how lucky we Melburnians are.
To do your staycation right, you need to find a great base of operations. Melbourne’s new Hyatt Centric is right in the heart of town, and within easy walking distance of Southbank. But staying here also means you’ll have TOMA close at hand. This fabulous all-day eatery is perched on the 25th floor with sweeping views from Port Phillip Bay to the Dandenong Ranges. Chef Jordan Monkhouse leans heavily on influences from Melbourne’s diverse culture for his menu. There’s a wattle-and-anchovy take on a classic taramasalata, hiramasa kingfish ceviche with watermelon and barbequed corn, and an interpretation of his mother’s trifle (just don’t ask for the recipe – he’s sworn to secrecy). The food is helped down by a locally sourced selection of craft beer and wine.
Exhibition: Van Gogh at The Lume
The Lume Melbourne is Australia’s first permanent digital art gallery, and it’s showing Vincent Van Gogh’s art like you’ve never seen it before. Based at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 150 projectors bathe every surface of the massive space in immersive, multi-sensory artworks. The four-storey high walls and floor are illuminated by Van Gogh masterpieces such as The Bedroom, Starry Night and Terrace Café 1888. It’s the best kind of sensory overload.
A show: Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Theatre is such a classic attraction when travelling – just think of Broadway or the West End. Melbourne’s own theatre culture is rich and storied, and the Regent Theatre is one of the classics in the East End Theatre District. Take some time to catch Moulin Rouge! The Musical, a stage adaptation of the Baz Lurhmann film, with the ten-time Tony award-winning production now led by an incredible local cast and featuring a remixed score of contemporary pop hits from artists such as Sia and Beyonce.
Coffee spot: Liminal
With a dramatic and curvaceous design, Liminal is a perfect spot to hole up with a coffee (or wine, if you’re in the mood) while you prepare for the next item on your itinerary. The multi-function space includes rotisserie (the hot chicken and gravy roll is a must) as well as a cheese station and wine shop. While you’re unwinding, grab a book from nearby Metropolis and take a load off.
Art installation: M Pavilion program
Since 2014 the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has commissioned a yearly pavilion design, built and installed in the Southbank Arts Precinct. The unique pavilion then becomes a hub for a free program of cultural events before, at the end of the season, being relocated to a new home. This year’s design, the kaleidoscopic Light Catcher, is hosting a program that has a focus on light, colour and perception in December, before turning its attention to tourism in January. The theme “Vacation, Location, Staycation” will explore the ideas and infrastructure that shape our use of free time.
This story was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Hyatt Centric.