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

Wander through a glitzy Christmas shop

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.

A Christmas decorations shop

Visit a Christmas in July market

Melbourne's iconic Winter Night Market switches into Christmas mode for the month of July. We're talking carollers, fire pits, angels on stilts, twinkling lights and ice sculptures. Warm up with a mug of steamy mulled wine or spiced Milo. Grab a bite to eat at the dozens of food trucks. Or shop for locally-made homewares, vintage clothing, gifts for pets and more.

Dine in an Igloo Wonderland

The iconic pop-up winter igloos return 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, hearty comfort food and boozy hot chocolate. The igloos fit up to six 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

See a magical rooftop snow show

QT Rooftop is transforming into a real life snow globe for the winter season. Every hour on the hour, a flurry of snowflakes with fall from the sky turning Melbourne into a winter wonderland. Sit back and enjoy the snow show with with a signature cocktail in hand and take in the sparkling city skyline.  

Pick up a mulled wine spice kit

Just as winter is the time for mulled wine, Gewürzhaus is the place to buy the fixings to make your own at home. The spice kit includes the vanilla bean sugar, Glühwein Gewürz spice and infuser bags you’ll need. Just add to your own merlot. Follow the recipe and serve with orange and a cinnamon quill.

A woman is shopping at a spice shop she is holding a basket.

Dance in the snow at a cosy winter chalet

With a dusting of snow and a dash of après ski vibes, you'll be whisked away to the Italian Alps at Pepe's. The garden lounge has been transformed into a magical European winter chalet. Dine on Italian antipasti and pizza under the snow machine. Snap a pic with the sleigh. And finish the night with spiced whisky cocktails and warm apple strudel.

Take a spin around the ice rink

Get your skates on and practice your triple axel for year-round skating at O’Brien Icehouse. Whether you’re an expert or beginner, skating with your crew is always fun. Slice across the ice during their public skating sessions, with extended hours during school holidays. Grab a toastie at the igloo café or get a little fancy at the St Moritz bar on site. And remember to rug up in warm socks, gloves and a beanies

Three friends are ice skating
O'Brien Icehouse

Celebrate Christmas in July at the Winter Night Market

Carollers, glowing trees and falling snow. It can only mean one thing – it's Christmas time at the Winter Night Market! Get merry with mulled wine, spiked Milo and hot butter beer. And nibble your way through a warming Chrissy dinner of market faves like dumplings and cheese-loaded pasta. There'll also be live ice sculpting, silent disco, carollers and stilt-walking angels.

Order a hearty roast dinner

Pass the gravy and warm up with a good-old-fashioned Sunday roast. Head to Victoria to share the luxe mighty Sunday roast with friends. Settle in by the fire at Naughtons where the spread is accompanied by live music. Go for a plant-based feast at Green Man's Arms. And try an old-school feast with all trimmings, including Yorkshire pud, at The Lincoln.

A roast pork meal
The Lincoln

Feast on cheesy 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. 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. Or wander down to Arbory Bar and Eatery for a three cheese fondue feast and a view of the Yarra River.

Sip campfire hot chocolate 

Check out 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

Experience 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.

Plan a play date 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.

Two friends are looking at penguins in an aquarium. One is in a wheelchair the other is standing.
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. Warm your tootsies and get cosy in front of the open fire at West Melbourne’s Benchwarmer. Other spots include Town Hall Hotel, Courthouse Hotel and The Lincoln. For something completely different, have a pub meal at Fortress, where the fireplace is an 8-bit animated delight.

Get cosy at an Italian alps-inspired rooftop bar

Carlton's favourite rooftop bar Johnny's Green Room has transformed into a cosy hideaway inspired by the Italian alps. Snuggle in under the heater and order woodfired pizzas, proscuitto with pickles and fried zucchinis with whipped cod roe. To drink try the Rosso cocktail with winter berries, whisky, alpine amari and citrus foam. Finish off with the sticky date pudding, served with gelato from Pidapipo.

A group of people are on a rooftop bar with red umbrellas
Johnny's Green Room

Enjoy a French winter market for Bastille Day

Take a trip to France and swing by the Bastille Day Festival at Queen Victoria Market. This year there'll be a French winter market so you can load up on pastries, crepes, brioche, cheese and more tasty treats. You can also sign up to one of the masterclasses and learn essential skills like how to find the perfect cheese and wine pairing.

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