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The White Hat Guide to

50 Romantic Things to do in Melbourne & Victoria

Romantic Things to do

Melbourne & Victoria

Romantic Melbourne

50 Romantic things to do

Melbourne & Victoria


Melbourne, with its old world charm, is ideal for romantic activities. So below you will find White Hat's suggestions for

50 Romantic Things to do in Melbourne

OK, the list runs to well over 50, but it's pretty hard to stop once you get started.

Breakfast at Footscray

Romantic breakfast in Footscray

For a leisurely row on the river, you can hire a rowboat from one of the two boatsheds in Studley Park.

There are also numbers of fine dining establishments around Melbourne that can produce an intimate romantic atmosphere and maybe a log fire. For a truly Melbourne romantic experience there is the Colonial Tramcar Restauant.

And if you are able to get out of town, there are many options which can be found on our pages about country Victoria. Dinner in a restaurant at a winery, an overnight stay in the Dandenongs, a romantic weekend at Queenscliffe can all be recommended.

And the next morning you can always turn up for breakfast at 6am at the Vic Market in your dinner suit and party frock. You are likely to find a few similar couples doing the same.

 

 

Sunset over St Kilda Beach

 

Watch the sun set over St Kilda Beach - Sit on the sand, the grass or a bench. You can wander along the beach and out onto the pier and have a glass of wine at the pier kiosk (once it is rebuilt) . There are also several restaurants and cafes on the beachfront at St Kilda which can provide a great view of the sunset.

Concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

 

Enjoy champagne and a romantic picnic under the stars while listening to a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. During summer there are numbers of classical concerts as well as ballet and opera at Melbourne's iconic open air venue - and many of them are free. For a listing see The White Hat Guide to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Lygon Street Carlton (Melbourne, Australia)

 

 

If you prefer a bit more hustle and bustle, you can be in the thick of the action dining on the footpath in Lygon Street. You can find more information on Melbourne's Italian precinct at The White Hat Guide to Lygon Street.

Garden at Dame Elisabeth Murdosch's Cruden Farm

 

 

Wander through a private garden - Most weekends in Melbourne you will find that some family has thrown open to the public their lovingly tended private garden for some good cause or other. You can find a listing of current private garden openings at The White Hat Guide to Private Gardens in Melbourne.

Go cycling. Melbourne is relatively flat and if you don't have your own bicycles you can always hire them. A particularly romantic ride is from the city to Williamstown and back which involves a punt crossing across the Yarra River underneath West Gate Bridge. You may want to hire a tandem (click on link to right) but White Hat suggests that if you feel your back view is not your most attractive angle that you quickly claim the rear seat. You can find more information at The White Hat Guide to Cycling in Melbourne.
Visit a night market. On many days in Melbourne there are atmospheric night markets. During summer there is usually a night market at the Queen Victoria Market on a Wednesday, ones at Northcote Town Hall and St Kilda Beach on a Thursday and one at the Abbotsford Convent on a Friday. You can wander around hand in hand checking out the merchandise, possibly enjoy a meal on the grass and listen to a band - all with no price of admissions. You can find a comprehensive listing at The White Hat Guide to Twilight & Night Markets in Melbourne.
Afternoon Tea at The Windsor
For as long as most people can remember, afternoon tea at The Hotel Windsor has been a Melbourne institution. A full leisurely afternoon tea served in the luxurious surrounds of Melbourne's of Melbourne grand old historic hotel really calls for a lady to wear a hat and gloves. If you don't have a hat and gloves and the gentleman doesn't have a cane then White Hat urges you to at least carry yourself with a dignified air.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

 

If the weather is fine, a picnic in one of the many parks and gardens with a bottle of champagne is hard to match. The Botanic Gardens in particular evokes the atmosphere of a Jane Austin novel. Keep in mind, however, that Melbourne's weather may require a Plan B.

Go sailing. Towards the end of this list you will find details for trying out sailing for free. Obviously you need to dress appropriately. However if you feel that you look at your best in a wet t-shirt then White Hat suggests you contrive an occasion to fall overboard. For those who prefer the romantic experience of sailing without all that sweaty physical exertion we have listed some options below which you may wish to check out.
   
Visit one of Melbourne's Hidden Gems. Most weeks in our White Hat Melbourne Newsletter we mention a hidden gem and many of these are romantic in nature.
Ride a tram - You can ride the City Circle Tram for free, but once you've done a complete circuit you probably don't want to go around a second time. On the other hand you could choose a particular tram and ride it to the end of the route and back. On the weekends, if you buy the right ticket, this will cost you next to nothing. and for visitors it can be a good way to get a flavour of Melbourne suburban living. You could for instance try the route 109 which runs through Collins Street in the city. If you are on a tight budget you could break your journey at either Victoria Street Richmond or the Box Hill terminus and enjoy a cheap warming Asian meal. If you have a little more to spend you could enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the bay at the Station Pier terminus.



© Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

 

Have a meal on the tramcar restaurant - Enjoy a leisurely meal in a heated tramcar restaurant while looking through the windows at the poor mugs out there walking around in the rain. Be warned that the wine (included in the price) keeps on coming so you're sure to feel nice and warm when you return to base.
Take a romantic evening stroll along the Paris end of Collins Street then into the Treasury Gardens. You can find some background information on this area in Part 2 of our podcast of August 2008.
Take the ferry to Willy. Williamstown (or Willy as the locals call it) still has a village atmosphere and the boat trip across the bay helps put you in a romantic mood. There are numbers of cafes, restaurants and pubs along the waterfront for a romantic meal. More details at The White Hat Guide to Williamstown.
Spend a lazy afternoon in the sun at a rooftop bar such as the one on top of Curtin House.
Lie on the grass at an outdoor cinema. Popular outdoor movies in Melbourne include the Moonlight Cinema at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Some forthcoming Romantic Things to do in Melbourne & Victoria:

White Night Melbourne

  • Flinders Street Station
  • Forum Theatre

White Night Melbourne uses installations, lighting, exhibitions, street performances, film, music, dance and interactive events in a 12 hour overnight event that transforms the city into a wonderland.

Our rating - 5 Hats

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The Melbourne Regatta and Blessing of the Fleet

Melbourne is one of the few cities that can pin-point the time, date and the people who first founded it. The Melbourne Regatta was first held on 30 August 1838, making it the first in Australia. In 2016 the Melbourne Passenger Boating Association will deliver a magnificent waterside spectacle to celebrate the connection between Melbourne and the sea.

Born out of a river settlement, developed through trade and immigration, stabilised by gold and farming, the city owes much to the ships who made that connection. The rivers and the great bay have been bountiful, providing food, leisure, relaxation and a highway to the rest of the world. Discover too, the land before it became Melbourne. Learn about the people and the natural landscape that existed long before, and why this made Melbourne a perfect place to build a village.

See a spectacle of cruising boats, dressed especially for the occasion. Hop aboard free ferry cruises around Victoria Harbour, be part of a Welcome to Country ceremony, and hear Father Bob bless the fleet.

You can also enjoy live entertainment with Normie Rowe, along with reggae, calypso, and blues bands. Plus there'll be walking tours, story-telling, roving entertainers, a mass choir and the Sunday market with many food stalls and local cafes. Everyone is invited to join in the fun and excitement and celebrate Melbourne's maritime and indigenous history.



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Mazda Opera in The Bowl

Opera in The Bowl

It’s a Saturday evening in summer. You’re sitting in a park with family and friends, and a fabulous picnic dinner. The picture is complete when the glorious live music from Opera Australia begins.

Hear our brightest stars, under the stars, sing opera's most famous arias with the magnificent backing of Orchestra Victoria.

Dress up — or not — it's your night to enjoy the power of the human voice in the kind of communal, cultural celebration Melbourne loves best.



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So Frenchy So Chic - Melbourne

This event seems a wonderful match of venue and entertainment. Our heritage homes can often be pigeonholed as places for historic re-enactments, but they are very young in European terms and were usually created as places to entertain and host cultural activities.

So Frenchy So Chic provides the opportunity to picnic with choice deli foods, entertain the kids, dance on the grass listen to French bands and all in civilised surroundings. 30-somthings with children and a taste for the good life - this is particularly for you. More info & booking details

Our rating - 5 Hats

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Government House Open Day

As part of Australia Day, citizens and visitors are invited to visit Government House, inspect many rooms not normally open to the public and enjoy a picnic on the lawns. Music and entertainment throughout the day.
 

Our rating - 5 Hats

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Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show is now regarded as the largest and most successful horticultural event in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Nocturnal - Melbourne Museum


Nocturnal is the transformation of the museum into an adult playground.

Enjoy a rotating list of the latest bands and DJs performing live in the museum, with open bars, great food, roving entertainment, discussions with museum experts and learning experiences across collections, cultures and time.

These are after-hours events for adults 18 years and over.



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Free Government House garden tour

Government House garden

Garden lovers can enjoy a free tour of the Government House gardens. Tours start at 11am and are free but bookings are essential.

The gardens feature magnificent lawns, specimen trees surrounded by large beds of trees and shrubs, and the Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden. The gardens also feature ceremonial trees planted by members of the Royal Family and previous Governors.

The tour goes for about one hour and you will need a general level of fitness. There are some steps, small hills and uneven surfaces.

While each tour caters for up to 30 people, there are no group bookings available.
Bookings close at 12 noon the day before the tour, or when the tour is full. Bookings can be made online through the official website

Wear casual clothes with sensible footwear. Bring photo ID (passport, drivers licence, student ID etc.,). Check in at the Government House Gatehouse 15 minutes before the tour starts.
Entry will involve passing through a security checkpoint and bag inspection.

You are encouraged to take public transport: Flinders Street Station is a 15 to 20-minute walk to Government House Take the St Kilda Rd/Coventry St tram - routes 3/3a, 5, 6,16, 64, 67 and 72 - and get off at the Grant Street - Police Memorial stop.

Parking is not available at the House. If you drive, there is metered parking on Linlithgow and Birdwood avenues.

Tours can be cancelled in extreme weather or for operational reasons.



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Port Open Day Boat Tour

Shipping at Port of Melbourne

White Hat can recommend the Port Open Day Tours to anyone interested in the functioning of the Port of Melbourne as well as to those interested in Melbourne's history. In the early days of European settlement, shipping came right into the current CBD near Flinders and William Streets. Over time, ships became larger Victoria Dock was dug out of the swampy land behind Batman's Hill and low bridges blocked access to all but smaller boats. Further major works saw the creation of Swanson Dock and a man-made channel was dug to accommodate the larger shipping and eventually container vessels. The lower Yarra River that was known to Aboriginal people was filled in and is now covered with housing and factories while the man-made channel south of the city is what we think of as the lower Yarra river.

Port Open Day boat tours are fun, family-friendly events and one of the best ways to see Australia’s busiest port, right on the city’s doorstep. Featuring a guided commentary from port staff, you’ll see the port from a whole new angle. Tours depart from Victoria Harbour in Docklands, and include Victoria Dock and Appleton Dock, the port’s more historic facilities, before visiting the container terminals at Swanson Dock.

PLEASE NOTE: While every effort will be made to adhere to advertised tour routes, these may be changed without notice due to vessel traffic considerations on a given tour day.

Forthcoming tours are at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1 pm & 2pm on

  • 31st March 2019 (bookings open 6th February 2019)
  • 28th April 2019 (bookings open 3rd April 2019)

Once bookings are open for a particular date you can book online here. Bookings cannot be made prior to booking opening date and all bookings must be made in advance. Payment on the day is not possible. We will remind subscribers to the White Hat Melbourne Newsletter when bookings open for each tour.



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Come From Away

Come From Away is a musical that tells the remarkable true story of thousands of stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland, Canada that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

This wonderful new musical written by Tony® and Grammy nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and helmed by this year’s Tony® winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley with musical staging by Tony® nominee Kelly Devine. Newsweek cheers, “it takes you to a place you never want to leave!”



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La Primavera Swiss Italian Festival

Lavandula's La Primavera festival honours the original Swiss-Italian migrants who celebrated the coming of spring with song and dance.

Rosa Voto and her troupe from the Melbourne School of Tarantella will be performing their intoxicating songs and dances. Salvatore, will share the stories of his homeland through song. Lina and Tony of Rose Creek Estate will be showcasing their quality range of Italian-style wines, olive oil and preserved olives. Mara Ripani of Village Dreaming will be putting on a special performance called Kitchen Songs. Descendants of the original Swiss-Italian family who once farmed the property, Faye and Boyd Thompson will give an authentic tour of the original farmhouse.

In addition, good regional fare will be available from La Trattoria and its wood-fired oven. Several stallholders will be showcasing their wares and handicrafts.



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Hispanic Latin American Festival (Johnston Street Fiesta)

Sexy and vibrant, Johnson Street’s Fiesta promises more kick than a tequila sunrise. Every year thousands of Melburnians are lured to Fitzroy for a weekend fiesta of food, music and dancing. The street is lined with stalls serving paella, chorizo sausages, sangria, tapas and other taste sensations. A giant stage offers entertainment for all ages.

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Riverboats Music Festival

The Riverboats Music Festival is the Murray River’s premiere contemporary music event.

Staged in the twin-towns of Echuca-Moama, Riverboats takes place under towering river red gums in a natural amphitheatre next to the mighty Murray. Historic paddlesteamers meander past all weekend, and occasionally the corellas get a bit raucous at sunset. There is one stage and plenty of room for dancing, great artists and some of the best food trucks going round.

White Hat can recommend taking a 2.5 hour trip from Melbourne to spend a weekend on the river for this annual celebration.

This year's lineup includes The Waifs, Tex Perkins - Far From Folsom, The Public Opinion Afro OrchestraMark Seymour & The Undertow, Augie March, Gabriella Cohen, Benny Walker, Jen Cloher, Don Walker, Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier, Fraser A. GormanThe Kill Devil Hills,  and Leah Senior 

Our rating - 4 Hats

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Port Phillip Mussel Festival

White Hat can thoroughly recommend this vibrant seafood festival come street party. Enjoy mussels and other seafood cooked in a wide variety of ways all accompanied by one of Melbourne's best free jazz festivals. Street vendors combine with the market's own restaurants to provide plenty of variety from the cheap and cheerful through to chef-prepared restaurant dishes. Sit in the sun with a cold sangria and a hot mussel paella or enjoy a craft beer with wok cooked drunken mussels.

Details at Port Phillip Mussel Festival

Our rating - 4 Hats

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Moomba Fireworks

The annual Moomba Fireworks running over three nights.



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Parliament House Open Day

Apart from its regular free daily tours, Melbourne's Parliament House has an annual open day. On this day not only are the interior spaces of Parliament House open to the public, the grounds and gardens are also accessible. More details at Parliament House Open Day >>

Our rating - 4 Hats

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Moonee Valley Festival - Illuminate the River

The Moonee Valley Festival comes to an end in great style with a full day of food, art and entertainment in a grand cultural celebration. There will be live music, roving performances and pop-up activities for all ages!

Headline performances for the Illuminate the River event include the X Factor’s Isaiah Firebrace, Melbourne-based five-piece Dinner Suit Boogie, soul powerhouse Kattimoni, internationally renowned circus company Gravity & Other MythsTrucked Up aerialist performers, and Melbourne-based all girl acoustic trio Harlow & Hart.

There's plenty on offer for kids with ‘Beasties’ interactive show, the True Fairies storytelling, hula workshops and roving entertainers all afternoon. 

The celebration will continue into the evening with the talented Djirri Djirri Dance Group who will use dance as an interpretation of their culture to share stories about creation, family and Country.

Enjoy the sculptural lanterns of Lantasia by illustrator/designer Tyson Savanah, laser lights, projection art and pyrotechnics as the 2019 Moonee Valley Festival in closes in style.



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Heritage Apple Festival

Join the Diggers Club team for a weekend of heritage apple festivities and celebrations.

Taste test and choose the best heritage apples and pears, sample freshly pressed apple juice and cider, taste and buy delicious baked apple pies and strudels.

For the green thumbs join garden tours and learn about the history and making of this beautiful garden and pick-up gardening tips at the free gardening workshops.

Book into an Apple Masterclass with the heritage apple experts, Pete the Permie and David Key and sample cider from local makers. Learn all about cider making at the demonstrations.

Listen to live music at the Fork to Fork Café while you enjoy a menu inspired by the autumn harvest and complimented by wine.

Children activities on Sunday between 11am-2pm



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Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Commencing in 2007 the Gertrude Street Projection Festival has grown to become  one of inner Melbourne’s most visible and accessible free large scale arts festival. The festival celebrates projection art and lets us see familiar spaces and buildings in new, inspired ways. It’s a collaborative, volunteer effort of artists and traders, residents and community groups all brought together by The Gertrude Projection Association.

For 10 evenings in July and in over 38 sites, the length of Gertrude Street in Fitzroy is illuminated by the visions of talented projections artists for the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. Buildings, laneways, footpaths and tree trunks light up with site-specific, curated projections. The Festival’s diverse arts program celebrates and connects our diverse community.

White Hat can thoroughly recommend the festival as a showcase of the edgy, arty inner suburbs. more info >>

Our rating - 4 Hats

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Free Guided Tour of Fitzroy Gardens

A free one hour guided walking tour through this formal garden highlighting its rich history. Bookings are not required. The tour leaves from the Information Centre in the gardens.



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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Based on an original new story by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.

The critically acclaimed play has won 24 major theatre awards in the UK and is the most-awarded production in the history of Britain’s prestigious Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best New Play and Best Director. The play opened on Broadway in April 2018 to rave reviews and won 6 Tony Awards including Best Play, 6 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 5 Drama Desk Awards and many more.

  Wed Thur Fri Sat
2pm Part One     Part One
7.30pm Part Two Part One Part Two Part Two


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Ballarat International Foto Biennale

With photographs from across Australia and around the world together with a host of exhibitions and events the Ballarat Foto Biennale is the largest photography event in the Southern Hemisphere. Full information at Ballarat Foto Biennale



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Open House Bendigo Weekend

Reading Room, Bendigo

Open House Bendigo Weekend program opens a number buildings including outstanding private homes, significant heritage redevelopments, with tours of selected venues.

Bendigo is only 90 minutes by train from Melbourne, or a pleasant drive through the Macedon Ranges. Check out places to stay in Bendigo.

Full details on the Open House Bendigo website.

Our rating - 5 Hats

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Sunset Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Rhinocerous at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Experience Werribee Open Range Zoo in a whole new light with Sunset Safari.

In this new and exclusive after-hours event, spend a night out with some of the world’s most iconic animals. Start the evening with a complimentary drink on arrival at the pop-up bar then set off on one of the night’s three experiences. Adventure onto the Savannah for a guided sunset tour, feast with friends at an intimate dinner of African cuisine, and enjoy an immersive performance that showcases the rhythm and soul of Africa.

Proceeds from Sunset Safari help Zoos Victoria support international conservation partners such a Rhino Fund Uganda. Help fight wildlife extinction and be among the first to experience Werribee Open Range Zoo like never before.



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Melbourne Night Noodle Markets

The Night Noodle Markets are back, with all the sights, sounds and smells of an Asian hawker market plus the buzz, hype and vibe of an outdoor festival.



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Sydney Road Street Party

An annual event with stalls, entertainment and refreshments.



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Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival.

An annual event, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival literally takes over Australia's comedy capital, Melbourne, each autumn with an enormous program of stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre, street performance, film, television, radio and visual arts.

Full details about individual shows and bookings at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.



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The Piers Festival

 

The Piers Festival is held at Princes Pier, Port Melbourne during Victoria’s Term 1 school holidays.

Piers Festival celebrates and reflects on the collective historical and contemporary migration stories at its site, Princes Pier, the significant entry point where almost half of Australia’s post World War II refugees arrived. The Festival brings to life the pivotal role Princes Pier played from 1915 to 1969 in Victoria’s growth and as a gateway to the diversity of cultures that enrich our community. With 12,000 attendees in 2015, Piers Festival has grown to become an annual fixture in Victoria’s cultural calendar and a significant occasion to acknowledge and bring to light our Indigenous and multicultural talent.



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Toorak Village Festival of Sculpture

For the entire month of may, Toorak Village businesses will display contemporary sculptures in their windows and bolted to the pavements along Toorak Road. Take your time surveying the sculptures as well as the shops. Please enjoy 'a decade of sculpture' and take advantage of the warm hospitality of the traders in the village. Catalogues are available from any of the shops in the village and all sculptures are for sale. Toorak Village is between Wallace Ave and Grange Rd, just east of Williams Rd. Simply catch the no 8 tram from Federation Square, along Toorak Road to stop no 35.

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Cruise Ship Crystal Stmphony visiting Melbourne
The Cruise Ship Crystal Symphony visiting Melbourne. ..
Gypsy Jazz on the Village Green
Come and jam to the music of Django Reinhart, or just have a listen. If you would like to come along and jam, contact Misja on carbowalker@optusnet.com.au ..
Australia Day Races
The popular annual horse racing event. ..
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