In Melbourne, spring officially starts on 1 September each year, and lasts until 30 November. In this post, I outline six good reasons to visit Melbourne in spring.
I love spring in Melbourne! Mostly because it means that summer is not that far off, and we’ve managed to make it through another winter. Warm, sunny days make me very happy!
And it’s a great time to visit Melbourne, as there is so much going on in the city.
Visitors have to be aware though, spring weather is unpredictable. Maximum temperatures average around 17 to 20°C, but the highest recorded spring maximum was almost 41°C (November 1894), and the lowest spring minimum recorded was -0.5°C (September 1940). It pays to be prepared for all weathers when visiting Melbourne in spring.
Six reasons to visit Melbourne in spring
Reason No. 1: spring blooms
Around the middle of August, the first signs of blossom appear on the previously bare winter branches of some of Melbourne’s deciduous trees, and from then onwards the streets explode in clouds of colour. This year, the magnolia have been particularly spectacular, but each week, right throughout spring, there are new blooms to admire.
And if tulips are your thing, there are a couple of tulip festivals just a short drive from Melbourne – the Bendigo Tulip Display (12 Sept to 4 Oct 2015) or Tesselaars Tulip Festival in the Dandenongs (10 Sept to 6 Oct 2015). Last spring, we got out of town to Bendigo and saw the stunning colour of the tulips there.
Reason No. 2: footy finals
The start of spring in Melbourne also marks the end of the footy season. The month of September is mostly taken up with the finals, which consist of three weeks of qualifying, elmination, semi-and preliminary finals followed by the biggest day on the the Melbourne sporting calendar – the Australian Football League Grand Final.
After 22 rounds between 18 teams (ten Victorian and eight interstate) the finals are played between the top eight teams, and the system is set up to give the top four teams an easier path into the Grand Final than the bottom four. The top four teams only need to win two finals to reach the Grand Final, while the second four teams need to win three.
Then the Grand Final game decides the premier team for the year. In 2015, the AFL Grand Final will be played in the afternoon of Saturday 3 October.
You can read all about going to the footy in Melbourne in my visitor’s guide, but be warned, casual visitors are unlikely to snag a Grand Final ticket unless you’re prepared to part with some seriously large amounts of money. However, most of the city enjoys the Grand Final from either the comfort of their own lounge room, or by watching it on a big screen at a pub, restaurant or on the superscreen at Federation Square. Visitors can certainly find any number of ways to get in on some Grand Final fever action.
Reason No. 3: Spring Racing Carnival
Many people have heard of the iconic Melbourne Cup – the race that stops the nation (and if you haven’t, go check out my FAQs about the Melbourne Cup post), but not all visitors to Melbourne realise that the Cup is just one race meeting in a 64 day long Spring Racing Carnival which runs from September through to November each year.
The Spring Racing Carnival is known in racing circles as the best thoroughbred racing carnival in the Southern Hemisphere. But it’s not just about the horses. It’s also about fashion, food, fascinators and fun.
Over the six weeks, racing meets are held right around Victoria, with the big-name events including the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate, Victoria Derby and the Melbourne Cup. And there’s also a range of country cups held in locations such as Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Kyneton.
I have to admit to having mixed feelings about the Royal Melbourne Show. The couple of times I have been, I’ve witnessed some less than savoury behaviour by other show-goers. However, I like to keep an open mind and I know that kids especially LOVE the Show.
The Royal Melbourne Show is held each year by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria at Melbourne Showgrounds in Flemington. In 2015, it is running from Saturday 19 to Tuesday 29 September.
The Show’s intention is to celebrate and promote excellence in Victorian agriculture, so there are a variety of agricultural and rural attractions and experiences that are entertaining, interactive, educational and fun, such as sheepdog trials, equestrian events, produce and animal displays, woodchopping competitions.
There is also a whole side of it that encompasses fairground rides and showbag stalls, which is where the kids tend to graviate towards. This year there are 376 showbags on offer ranging from $1 for a ‘Flip the Treefrog’ chocolate bag through to $299 for an Organic Mega Pamper Pack from Hepburn Springs Spa Bathhouse.
Reason No. 5: Melbourne Festival
The Melbourne Festival (which in 2015 runs from 8 to 25 October) is one of Australia’s top international arts festivals and, in fact, one of the major festivals of the world in terms of the size and variety of the program.
Each year, the Festival brings a packed program of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, multimedia and outdoor events to the city. The companies and artists featured range from well-established through to emerging, both Australian and international.
The program offers a wide variety of venues and ticket prices, and there are some free events included. You can see the full range at the Melbourne Festival website.
Reason No. 6: seasonal produce
As I said in my post, Six good reasons to visit Melbourne in Autumn, seasonal produce is a good reason to visit Melbourne at any time of year!
Some of the best places to see the range of fresh produce available are the city’s great food markets or farmers’ markets. Queen Vic Market on the edge of the CBD has an incredible array of food and produce stalls – meats, cheeses, seafood, pastries, fruit and vegetables. The range and quality of produce on sale is outstanding.
What’s your favourite season in your hometown?
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