What Melbourne lacks in snow we make up for with cool creativity. From an ice bar and see-through igloos to cheese fondue and Christmas in July, we love to party when it’s cold. Here’s how to recreate a Northern Hemisphere white winter.  

Have a white Christmas 

It’s Christmas year-round at Ambiance, in Queen Victoria Market. The store stocks blingy decorations and rare ornaments sourced from around the world. Head straight for the spectacular white-themed room and snap a pic among the snow capped trees, glowing lights and icicle baubles.

Dine in an Igloo Wonderland

Melbourne's pop-up Igloo Wonderland returns to the Wharf Hotel on the banks of the Yarra. Cosy up beneath a sky of twinkling fairy lights in your own private igloo. Get warm with mulled wine, luxe grazing boards, chocolate fondue and boozy hot chocolate. The igloos fit up to eight people, so you can bring your pals or have a cute date night for two.

See-through igloos by the Yarra River.
Igloo Wonderland at The Wharf Hotel

Sip chocolate cocktails and mulled rosé

Visit the pop-up Pavilion of Indulgence at Common Man for a bumper boozy chocolate menu. It features the finest blends from local legends Mörk. Think mudslide cocktails, spiked cherry ripe hot chocolate and a luxe winter dessert menu. Or skip the cocoa and try pink gin mulled rosé, popcorn hot toddies and a stacked menu of loaded fries.

Explore the Winter Night Market

Roaring fire pits, roving performers and free entertainment. Enjoy all this and more when the Winter Night Market returns in June for an epic 14-week season. Grab a dish of your favourite winter comfort food. Think dumplings, cheese-loaded pasta and indulgent desserts. And warm up with steaming cups of mulled wine, spiced cider and hot toddies.

A performer twirling fire at a night market.
Winter Night Market

Feast on fondue 

If you can’t do fondue in the Alps, then get dipping right here in Melbourne. Get that warm cheesy indulgence at Milk the Cow. The Carlton fromagerie has three kinds of gourmet fondue available after 5pm on weekends. A must-try for cheese-lovers is the whole wheel of baked brie. It’s bathed in sparkling wine and wintery flavours like fig and honey.

Campfire hot chocolate 

Visit Mörk for an artisan cup of ethically sourced hot chocolate. Campfire is the Insta star, recreating the nostalgic atmosphere of a childhood bonfire. It comes complete with house-made marshmallows. Then discover more of Melbourne’s best hot chocolate including a chilli and orange brew, Milo mochas, a peanut butter–loaded cup and more. 

A tray with a smoking hot chocolate, marshmallow dipper and a milk jug.
Mörk's campfire hot chocolate

Plan a playdate with penguins

For a slice of ice-cold Antarctica in Melbourne, make tracks to SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. Meet the aquarium’s cutest residents, the king and gentoo penguins. These playful little bundles of energy will hold your attention for hours. Want a closer encounter? Suit up in your snow gear, get your Penguin Passport stamped and spend 45 minutes on the ice with the penguins. 

Visit a -10°C ice bar 

Get a taste of those Northern hemisphere ice hotels with a visit to IceBar Melbourne, open daily in Fed Square. It’s the place to take chilling to the next level with family-friendly icy mocktails or ice shots with your besties. You’ll be kitted out in Arctic attire for a sub-zero experience among expertly carved ice sculptures.

A family looking at a penguin in an aquarium.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Settle in by the fire

Feeling the chill? Head to one of Melbourne's many cosy winter watering holes where crackling fires await. NYC-style loft bar Ferdydurke has a flaming fireplace, which pairs perfectly with the fiery new cocktail menu. Other hot spots include Town Hall Hotel and The Lincoln. For something completely different, have a pub meal at Fortress, where the fireplace is an 8-bit animated delight.

Celebrate Christmas in July 

Get together with friends in Hophaus’s giant beer hall for a three-course luncheon. Enjoy a classic roast with all the trimmings. Think glazed turkey with cranberry, honey roasted ham, crispy potatoes and the classic Aussie prawn cocktail. Finish with sticky date pudding and a warm cup of eggnog. Don’t forget your ugly Christmas jumpers. 

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