Best Winter Festivals In Melbourne

By: Ayesha Khan, ellaslist

With the days getting colder, the kids may be down with the winter blues! Worry not, Melbourne has a great line-up of exciting, family-friendly festivals full of entertainment, music, yummy food and warm drinks to keep family members of all ages re-energised over the next few months. Experience warmth and fun in cold with these top winter festivals.  

1. Winter Wonderlights 


Celebrate Christmas in July by indulging in all things Yule at the Winter Wonderlights Festival at SovereignHill. Catch the town’s new cheeky resident, Gingerbread Man as he mischievously plots his escape from the hungry hands and scrambles around while the children attempt to catch him. 

During the day, Sovereign Hill will be filled with Christmas trees and colourful decorations lining Main Street with plenty of activities for children, a full theatre program, make believe snowfalls and delicious treats, bringing the Christmas cheer to all. 

By night,  Sovereign Hill’s Victorian-style buildings will come alive thanks to the magic of large-scale light projections dancing along the building façades. It's magical winter experience for the entire family wandering through the the brightly-lit streets under the gentle snowfalls.

What you need to know
Where: 3 Bradshaw Street, Ballarat Central, Ballarat 3350, Australia
When: July 1 to July 30
Cost: Adult  $59.50 , Child (5-15)  $27.00 
For more information and tickets, see website

2. St Kilda’s Winter Garden 

St Kilda’s favourite triangle is set to be transformed into an entertainment zone this winter. With savvy small bars, delicious food stores, carnival rides, quirky sideshows, an ice rink, sparkling lights and roaring fires, you experience the warmth and wonder of  St Kilda’s Winter Garden.

The highlight of the Winter Garden is an antique Spiegeltent full of stunning shows such as the family friendly Funatorium Mad Hatter’s Tea Party taking place from 28 June – 9 July
Get your skates on and head on down to St Kilda’s very own Ice Skating rink! Running every day of St Kilda’s Winter Garden – MAP 57, with increased hours over the July school holidays.

What you need to know
Where: St Kilda Triangle, St Kilda
When: 15 June – 30 July
For more information: see website

3. Skate Slide And Chill 

Image Credit: TOT - Hot Or Not

The Common Man lawn has transformed into an arctic oasis complete with an undercover Riverside ice rink, toboggan slide and chill out zone. The kids will love skating around the rink and then sliding down the toboggan slide. But the fun isn't over yet. Head over to the Absolut Vodka & Lavazza Coffee Chill Out Zone for some hearty hot chocolate and a treat or two for the parents as well. Or simply refuel with some winter warmers including gourmet pies, hots dogs and doughnuts, and the infamous South Melbourne Market Dims Sims. 
Every day is a themed event. Get set to find your groove on the themed nights such as RnB Fridays or enjoy a special date on Date Night Thursdays or simply round up friends and family for Family Sundays. 
What you need to know
Skate/slide session lasts 45 minutes and begins on the hour, every hour.
Tickets include skate hire as well as the use of toboggan & grant access to both the skating rink as well as the toboggan slide during your 45-minute session.
Minimum age 3 years

What you need to know

Where: The Common Man Lawn, South Wharf
When: 1 June - 31 August
Price: Adults $24.50 , Kids (6-14) $ 18.50 , Kids (3-5) $15
For more information: see website

4. Wild Nights At Werribee Zoo 


Who’s up for a zoo adventure after dark? Wild Nights return these school holidays with a whole new range of activities. 

For seven nights only, spot animals by torchlight and see Werribee Open Range Zoo come to life after dark. Be mesmerised by the dazzling fire performers and lantern parades, toast marshmallows by the campfire, explore the hidden treasures of the secret garden and get lost in the glow zone. 

Explore the sights and sounds of Africa in the new Cirque Africa acrobatic show in the heated and seated tent. 
Hot chocolates, mulled wine and warm winter food will all be available as well

What you need to know
Where: Werribee Open Range Zoo, K Rd, Werribee South VIC 3030
When: 9 July – 15 July 
Timing: 4 pm – 9 pm
Cost: Adults ($35) Child (4-15) $7
For more information, see website

5. Springvale Snow Fest 2017

The award winning snow festival returns to Springvale this July. The streets will be filled with fun, snow (real and simulated), moving rides, free kids activities, family entertainment, market and food stalls and a grand finale of spectacular fireworks. 
The highlight of the festival will be the real snow straight off the mountain from Mt Buller! Get ready for some FREE snow play right here in town!

What you need to know
Where: Buckingham Avenue, Springvale, VIC
When: 30 July (12pm – 7pm)
Cost: Entry is FREE (Cost for rides, food and market stalls)
For more information: see website

6. Skating At Sorrento

Melbourne's Sorrento area in Mornington Peninsular are usually the to go places in the warmer months. But now it’s also a winter hotspot with a 3-week waterfront ice skating event. 

It's the perfect family activity to motivate the kids to get off the iPads and indulge in some winter adventure. There is something simply magical about ice skating in the open air especially with a stunning backdrop of the ocean. 

What you need to know

Where:  3176 Point Nepean Road,  Sorrento

When: 23 June – 16 July 
Timing: 10 am – 10 pm

For more information: see website

7. Big Freeze Winter Festival 

Can't take the time out to head to the snow this winter? Don't worry because there are plenty of snow themed options right here in the city.

The Big Freeze Winter Festival is returning to the Big Top at Westfield Fountain Gate. Families and kids can play in the snow, ride brand new snow slides, toss a snowball, walk through the snowfall forest, play in the winter village, and get active in kids’ challenge. 

The adventure seekers can learn circus skills, build in the construction zone, race down the polar bear slide, get creative in the igloo craft zone and get the family together for a photo in the snow globe.

What you need to know
Where:  Fountain Gate Shopping Centre Cnr Brechin Drive & Princes Highway

When: Saturday 1 July to Sunday 9 July
Session Times: 9am – 11:30am, 12pm – 2:30pm, 3pm – 5:30pm
For more information: see website

8. River Rink at Fed Square

When is Fed Square not Fed Square? Every winter, when it's transformed into an epic ice rink! Bring your family and friends along for a skate while enjoying a picturesque backdrop of the Yarra River and the Melbourne city skyline. 

Get your skates on and take a spin around River Rink at Fed Square this winter from July 1 to July 23. Ticket cost includes skates and 45-minute skate sessions starting every hour on the hour. For those who are unsteady on the ice, skating aids are available for hire at the box office. 

What you need to know
Where: Federation Square, Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
When: July 1 to July 23, 
Timings: Sun - Wed (10 am to 9 pm), Thurs - Fri (10 am to 10 pm)

9. Christmas In July at Luna Park 

Dreaming of a white Christmas. Head over to Luna Park to join in the 'holly and jolly' these winter holidays. There’s SNOW better place to be than Luna Park this Winter for Christmas in July!

Melbourne’s most iconic amusement park will be beaming with the spirit of Christmas as it transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland from 1 July - 16 July. There's plenty of festive entertainment around for everyone. Climb aboard Santa's sleigh and take in his majestic throne adorned with nutcrackers and giant candy canes. 

Twirl around under the magical snowfall every hour and brighten up the Christmas spirit with visits from Santa and his elves. Seeking a Christmas adventure? Grab your skates and head over to the pop-up ice rink beside the iconic Sky Rider Ferris Wheel. 

You may even win a Despicable Me 3 Prize Pack. Simply take a picture of yourself at the wonky mirrors and upload to #lunalive. Hey, the Minions might even join you every Saturday from 12 pm - 3 pm. 

Don't miss this Snow-tastic Christmas experience at Luna Park 

What you need to know

Where: Luna Park, St Kilda, Melbourne 

When: 1 July - 16 July 

Timings:  Fri - Sat (11am–8pm) 
                Sun -  Thurs (11am–6pm)

Cost: Entry to park is free. Variable pricing for rides

For more information: see website