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The White Hat Guide to

20 Things To Do in Melbourne on a Sunday

However the easy gold reserves started to dwindle and new money craves new respectability. The once wild west town was now the wowser capital of Australia – in fact the word wowser was invented in Melbourne.

Sabbath observance was a big issue and anything that could be seen as entertainment was frowned upon. A good Methodist could not for instance take out a pack of cards to play a solitary game of patience. One of the few legal things to do was to go and tend your relatives’ graves at the cemetery and maybe sit there and read some inspiring sermons – but not so inspiring that they could be deemed entertainment.

A minor scandal arose when the Gallery (then housed in the now State Library) decided to open its doors on a Sunday. A further scandal occurred when certain gentlemen were offended by an artwork called Chloe. Those gentlemen returned a number of times to be offended and to confirm that it was not the sort of rubbish that they would want their family to see.

In recent times, Melbourne has become a more lively place on a Sunday so we have compiled a list of 20 suggested things to do in Melbourne on a Sunday. Here they are:

  1. Have a lazy breakfast in Acland Street St Kilda and then browse the wares at the Esplanade Market. Nobody's in any hurry in St Kilda on a Sunday. More information at The White Hat Guide to St Kilda.
  2. 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 suitable relaxed mood. There is a farmers' market on the 2nd Sunday of the month and craft markets on the 1st & 3rd Sundays. The Historical Society Museum is also open on Sundays. More details at The White Hat Guide to Williamstown.
  3. Visit a historic house. Como, Rippon Lea, Black Rock House, La Trobe's Cottage and the Mansion at Werribee are open most Sundays. Villa Alba and the Portable Iron Houses in South Melbourne are open on the 1st Sunday of the month, Labassa is open on the 3rd Sunday of the month. More information at The White Hat Guide to Historic Houses in Melbourne.
  4. Enjoy a hearty Sunday brunch or even a full roast. Many hotels have a special Sunday lunch menu and if you choose one with, say, a view of the bay you can enjoy a relaxing Sunday whatever the weather.
  1. Go shopping or just window shopping in Chapel Street and watch the other window shoppers.
  2. Go to the Camberwell Sunday Market. This is one of Melbourne's most bustling market where people from all over Melbourne come to sell their second hand clothes and fashions, household goods and all manner of surprising stuff. If you are looking for fresh produce there are always farmers' markets somewhere in Melbourne on a Sunday or the South Melbourne Market is always a good standby. You can find a comprehensive list of Sunday markets at The White Hat Guide to Sunday Markets in Melbourne and Victoria.
  3. Most Sundays in Melbourne you will find a community, ethnic or multicultural festival and most have delicious home made food so there's Sunday lunch taken care of. You find a comprehensive listing of festivals at The White Hat Guide to Festivals in Melbourne.
  4. Enjoy free entertainments in the parks. Most Sundays throughout summer you will find free concerts or free entertainments of some sort in the parks and gardens. Lay back, kick off your shoes and enjoy a glass of bubbly. During the cooler months you will often find free indoor entertainment at places like the Melbourne Town Hall or Federation Square.
  5. Take some photographs. People are at their most relaxed and least self-conscious on a Sunday and you will get some atmospheric shots that would be difficult to take on a weekday.
  6. Experience Yum Cha in Chinatown. There are plenty of venues and price ranges to choose from. Take some friends and enjoy this typical Sunday tradition.
  7. Go bike riding. Melbourne has miles of wonderful bike paths and you can hire a bike or take your own. For short trips there are plenty of Melbourne Bike Share stations. For longer ones there are a number of places who will hire you a bike for a lengthier period. Why not take advantage of the cheap Sunday public fares where you can travel anywhere on the metropolitan public transport system all day for next to nothing. You are allowed to take your bicycle on the train for no extra cost so that gives you an opportunity to go for a ride on Melbourne's outskirts or even the country if you choose the appropriate train line. More information at The White Hat Guide to Cycling in Melbourne.
  8. Take a Guided Tour of Melbourne Cemetery. There is more life in the cemetery than you might think and it is an ideal introduction to Melbourne's history.
  9. Have a backyard barbecue. If you are visiting Australia, mention in public that you have heard of the Aussie tradition of the BBQ. Chances are that a local will invite you to one at their place.
  10. Spend a lazy afternoon in the sun at a rooftop bar such as the one on top of Curtin House.
  11. Go to a church service. You don't have to be Christian. You can just sit at the back and listen to the organ and the choir and the liturgy and see some of Melbourne's most iconic buildings doing what they were designed to do. Some notable churches in the city area are St Paul's Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral, Scots Church, Wesley Church, Collins Street Baptist Church and St Michael's Church.
  12. Go for a day trip. Some of the more popular day trips around Melbourne include sightseeing in the Dandenongs, Visiting wineries in the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula, or a visit to the Macedon Ranges and spa country - maybe you could even have a picnic at Hanging Rock.
  13. Promenade. If you're feeling pretty good with the world and with yourself why not head out and strut your stuff. If your stuff is past the strutting stage nobody is going to mind on a Sunday or you could always just sit down and watch the passing parade. Some of the favourite promenading areas in Melbourne are Southgate, the St Kilda foreshore and Docklands.
  14. Roam around Docklands. On most Sundays there will be entertainment ranging from bands, markets and plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs from which to drink in the relaxing view of boats, water and parks with barbecues and playgrounds. More information at The White Hat Guide to Docklands.
  15. Take a tour of Flinders Street Station. There are regular Sunday tours of this Melbourne icon. Details at Tour of Flinders St Station Tour.
  16. And finally, if it's raining then you could have a look at The White Hat Guide to 50 Things to do on a Rainy Day in Melbourne.

Choose a particular Sunday

Some forthcoming events on a Sunday in Melbourne

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

After winning a glittering array of international awards on Broadway, the West End, Europe and Asia, Simon Phillips' spectacular production Priscilla Queen of the Desert is now playing at the Regent Theatre for its 10th anniversary celebration tour.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, PRISCILLA is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

Returning home from Broadway to reprise the role he created in the Australian premiere production, Tony and Olivier nominated actor Tony Sheldon is back in the driver seat as Bernadette. By his side with feather boas at the ready will be David Harris (Legally Blonde, Miss Saigon) as Tick and Euan Doidge (Les Misérables, Kinky Boots) as Felicia.

Australia’s most successful homegrown musical now has more glitter than ever, featuring a dazzling array of more than 500 award-winning costumes, 200 headdresses and a nonstop parade of dance-floor classics including IT’S RAINING MEN, I WILL SURVIVE, I LOVE THE NIGHTLIFE, FINALLY, and many more.

Our rating - 4 Hats

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BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical

BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical tells the true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise from teenage songwriter to global star. She fought her way into the record business as a schoolgirl but it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally found her true voice and went on to become one of the most successful solo artists in pop music history. The show features many of her most popular songs, including You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, You’ve Got a Friend, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, I Feel The Earth Move and many more. Fans of Carole King will not be disappointed by this staged tribute.

Our rating - 3 Hats

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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

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Family Bike Rides
The Melton Cycling Club operates family bike rides along bike baths in Melton and Caroline Springs and twice a month.

  • Caroline Springs;- Every 1st Sunday of each month leaving the Civic Centre.
  • Melton:- Every 3rd Sunday of each month leaving Hannah Watts Park

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Melbourne Jazz Jammers sessions
Meet other musicians or just come along to just relax and listen! Students, musos, amateurs, all welcome. Visit to subscribe free to Jammers enews, published weekly to review sessions, promote events by Jammers, encourage people to be involved in live performance and provide an informative, inclusive and friendly network for followers of jazz. Jammers jazz sessions are held each week at the Leinster Arms Hotel, Gold Street Collingwood, Fridays 6pm to late and Sundays from 3.30 to 6. Free entry and great food.

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Family Day at Collingwood Children's Farm
On Family Days there are free pony rides, hay rides, a BBQ and activities matching the monthly theme.

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Hurstbridge Wattle Festival

The festival celebrates Australian heritage, environment and community. To find out more about the significance of Wattle Day in Australia's history go to Another Date for Australia Day. Lots of family activities including steam train rides.

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Sydney Road Street Party
An annual event with stalls, entertainment and refreshments.

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White Hat Tour of Melbourne Cemetery
Melbourne Cemetery is an ideal introduction to Melbourne's history - particularly with the entertaining and informative guide from White Hat. The final resting place of many famous Australians including Peter Lalor, judge Redmond Barry, Sir Robert Menzies, John Gorton, Marcus Clarke, Burke & Wills, Sir Isaac Isaacs, Walter Lindrum and many more. As chosen and recommended by the Qantas In Flight magazine in May 2007. More information on the cemetery tour >>.

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Open Day - Plant Craft Cottage
Open day in this historic cottage in the Botanic Gardens.

Selected attractions open on certain Sundays in Melbourne

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Black Rock House

This historic mansion, after which the suburb of Black Rock is named, is open
to the public on once a month. More information at Black Rock House.

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Grainger Museum

Grainger MuseumBuilt by arguably Australia's finest musician, Percy Grainger, to house his collection of music-related instruments, scores and other items associated with his life and career. more info > >
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Australian National Aviation Museum
A collection of aeroplanes and displays relating to Australia's aviation history. The museum is at Moorabbin Airport. more info > >
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Bundoora Homestead
Bundoora Homestead is a wonderful Queen Anne style Federation mansion operating as a historic house, art gallery and licensed café. Free admission.More info >>
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Heide Museum of Modern Art
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Ian Potter Museum of Art

The Ian Potter Museum of Art at Melbourne University is a short tram ride from the city and a short walk from Lygon Street Carlton. Entry is free but from time to time there are special exhibitions in part of the gallery which may entail an entry charge. Exhibited works are chosen from teh art clocction of the Unversity of Melbourne - the largest university art collection in Australia. More info >>

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Jewish Museum of Australia
Preserving and exhibiting Jewish heritage, arts, customs and religious ritual in all its diversity. It includes the significant contrbutions of Jewish people to Australian life. more info > >
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La Trobe's Cottage
La Trobe's cottage was the home of Victoria's first Lieutenant-Governor, Charles La Trobe. He transported the pre-fabricated dwelling with him when he came to Australia in 1839. More info>>
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A historic mansion in Caulfield which is open to the public once a month. More information at Labassa.
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Melbourne Fire Services Museum
Australia's largest collection of fire brigade memorabilia housed in a historic fire station. More info >>
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National Gallery of Victoria - Australian Collection
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National Gallery of Victoria - International Collection
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Old Treasury Building
One of Australia's finest Victorian era buildings. It is open to teh public on Wednesdays and Sundays and features fine displays related to Melbourne history. More info >>
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Portable Iron Houses
Some of the few 19th Century prefabricated iron buildings remaining in the world. There are situated in South Melbourne and are open to the public once a month. More information >>
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Villa Alba

A stately mansion in Kew open to the public on the first Sunday of the month. It is particular notable for its interior decoration. More info >>

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The remains of a historic German settlement in the northern suburbs of Melbourne which is open to the public once a month. More information at Westgarthtown.
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Williamstown Historical Society Museum