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Melbourne Christmas Festival Qvm Decoration

36 Free Christmas Events in Melbourne To Add To Your Festive Bucket List

Christmas is just around the corner, and there are plenty of free ways to celebrate the festive season with the City of Melbourne’s many free Christmas events.

This year the City of Melbourne is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, featuring a very merry line-up of entertainment and events for all ages.

Here’s a list of the best FREE Christmas events, activities and attractions in Melbourne CBD and surrounds that the kids – and your wallet – will love.

Go on, #makememories!

When is Christmas in 2023?

Christmas is on Monday 25 December 2023.

Free Christmas Events Melbourne

1. Myer Christmas Windows

Enchanting Australian families for 67 years, the Myer Christmas Windows are a Melbourne tradition.

This year’s windows theme is based on 100 years of Disney classics, from Mary Poppins to Lion King to Peter Pan. 

Plus, Santa is back in town! Take a ride on the Santaland express and get a photo of your little ones meeting him.

Myer Christmas Windows  Myer Melbourne Bourke Street

Sun 6 Nov– Sat 24 Dec, 7:30am – 10:30pm

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2. Myer Santaland

Head to Santaland at Myer Melbourne to meet Santa and his elves. Ride the Santaland express, enjoy some quiet reading time with Mrs Claus and capture the magic moment when your little ones meet Santa with a Christmas photo.

Bookings are essential. Note that while the Santaland experience is free, if you want to take home your Santa photo you will need to purchase a photo package.

Myer Santaland, Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne

Sun 6 Nov– Sat 24 Dec, 7:30am – 10:30pm

Santaland Myer Melbourne 4

3. Christmas Square

Start your Christmas story at Melbourne’s home of Christmas!

Christmas comes to life in the city with the iconic 17.5 metre tree. Experience the spectacular light and sound shows and soak up the festive decorations before discovering everything the city has to offer at Christmas. Explore a wonderland of events and dazzling decorations, check off your Christmas list at thousands of city shops, and savour the season with festive feasts and rooftop drinks.

Christmas Square, Federation Square, Melbourne

Fri 24 Nov – Mon 25 Dec, 10am – 12.30am

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4. Santa’s Workshop

Santa and his elves are hard at work in his Melbourne workshop, making toys and presents for the big day. Come along to meet Santa, let him know what’s on your Christmas List this year and get a photo to capture the moment for years to come. And the best part – it’s all free!

This year Santa has taken up residence in Howey Place, which will be transformed into a magical Christmas laneway. Howey Place can be accessed via Collins Street (through 234 Collins Street), Swanston Street (via the Capitol Arcade) or off Little Collins Street.

Santa’s Workshop, Howey Place

Sat 25 Nov – Sun 24 Dec
Saturday – Wednesday 10am – 5:30 pm
Thursdays – Fridays 10 am – 7:30pm

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5. Christmas Projections

Let it glow! The city’s famous Christmas projections are back at Melbourne Town Hall with six gorgeous colourful treatments lighting up the building’s iconic facade.

Don’t miss the native floral wreaths, themed flower beds and the famous nutcracker soldiers standing guard as Town Hall is all wrapped up with a festive bow.

Make it a night to remember and visit Christmas Square, State Library Victoria and the Christmas River Show at Southbank for more stunning light shows.

Town Hall Christmas Projections, Melbourne Town Hall, 90-130 Swanston St

Fri 24 Nov – Mon 25 Dec, 9pm -11pm daily

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6. Christmas Decorations

The city comes alive at Christmas with decorations from Collins Street to Docklands, Carlton to Kensington. Wander the streets and feel the festive cheer.

Some of our favourites include the Instagram-worthy giant reindeer in Docklands, the Christmas star on Evan Walker Bridge and the popular nutcracker soldiers standing guard across the city. Keep an eye out for giant candy canes and festive koalas.

Things really start to sparkle at night with twinkling lights in trees and laneways across the city.

Christmas Decorations, Various Locations

24 Nov – 25 Dec

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7. Docklands Christmas Maze

Santa’s lost his elves! Can you help find them?

Make your way through this giant present-themed maze with fun interactive games and find all the elves for a chance to win exciting prizes.

This is a Christmas Festival event, presented by City of Melbourne.

Docklands Christmas Maze, NewQuay Central Park, 429-437 Docklands Dr

Wed 29 Nov – Sun 24 Dec, 11am – 5pm

Christmas Maze

8. Chanukah – Pillars of Light

In celebration of Chanukah, Pillars of Light is providing Melbournians with an opportunity to focus on what unites us as a city and come together over a multicultural celebration.

Each bespoke program will highlight core precepts of connection and collaboration through artistic performers, cultural groups, and much more to bring our varied communities together through hope, positivity, love and light.

Chanukah – Pillars of Light, Swanston St & Flinders St, Fed Square, Main Square

Thu 7 Dec – Thu 14 Dec 2023

Chanukah Pillars of Light

9. Christmas River Show

A spectacular river show is coming to the Birrarung – Yarra River this Christmas!

Head to Southbank (near Evan Walker Bridge) to catch this dazzling Christmas show featuring water fountains, lasers, light projections and a festive soundtrack. Shows will run every 15 minutes each night.

Make it a night to remember and visit Christmas Square, Melbourne Town Hall and State Library Victoria for more stunning light shows.

Christmas River Show, Between Princes Bridge and Evan Walker Bridge Southbank
9pm – 11pm, Fri 24 Nov to Mon 25 Dec

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10. Christmas Roller Rink

Get your skates on! Christmas has come to Carlton with a pop-up roller skating rink in Argyle Square. Whether it’s whole-family fun or a cute date night, roll around to classic tunes with free entry and $10 skate hire.

Bookings open 24 November – click ‘book online’ to be notified when bookings open.

Piazza Italia also gets a Christmas makeover with colourful decorations and light-up bell swings – the perfect place for a festive picnic sampling Lygon Street’s famous fare.

Christmas Roller Rink, Argyle Square, 153-159 Lygon Street, Carlton 3053
Thu 14 Dec – Sun 24 Dec, 11 am – 9 pm

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11. Koorie Krismas

Koorie Krismas is the Koorie Heritage Trust’s (KHT) annual full-day festive family celebration, featuring: performances from First Nations musicians, performers and comedians; market stalls stocking apparel, homewares, jewellery and more from First Nations businesses; creative workshops with First Nations artists; and a special visit from Koorie Klaus.

The day will conclude with a free film screening on the Big Screen.

Koorie Krismas, Federation Square, Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne
Sat 2 Dec 10am – 3pm

KOORIE KRISMAS

12. Japan Christmas Festival

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with a day of creative workshops and market stalls at Japaneasy.

Join Christmas themed workshops and make your own special Christmas gifts including Wagashi-making, Sumi-e Japanese ink art and Hanko stamp carving. Explore the market stalls for Japanese-style Christmas gifts, with amazing art and craft from a range of designers or enjoy an iced matcha or hojicha latte.

Japan Christmas Festival, Japaneasy Language & Culture School, L1/152 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Sun 10 Dec, 10am – 4pm

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13. Visit Ambiance at Queen Victoria Market

Did you know that Melbourne has a year-round Christmas shop at Queen Victoria Market? 

Ambiance is a family-owned business that has been in the same location on Elizabeth Street for decades. It is renowned for its eye-catching window displays and you can browse through their amazing collection of Christmas decorative items spanning over five rooms (note it’s quite a squishy space so not suitable for prams).

Ambiance now has one of the largest ranges of Christmas ornaments and decorations from all over the world and collectors come from all over for their Mark Roberts and Katherine’s Collection dolls.

Ambiance, 509-511 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

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14. Visit the iconic 333 Collins Street tree

Check out the iconic and chicest foyers in the city at 333 Collins Street where you’ll find a Christmas tree beautifully decorated to look like it came out of your favourite Christmas movie!

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15. Christmas Makers Market

Enjoy live entertainment while exploring a vibrant array of market stalls featuring art, craft, jewellery, fashion, homewares, unique gifts, and mouthwatering homemade and homegrown goodies.

What’s more, this special edition welcomes your furry friends with open arms! The District is a pet-friendly place, and you’ll discover stalls filled with treats, accessories, and even stylish outfits for your four-legged pals.

Christmas Makers Market, The District Docklands, 440 Docklands Dr
Sun 17 Dec, 11am – 4pm

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16. Christmas Carnival

Enjoy festive thrills on the banks of the Birrarung at the Christmas Carnival. Ride the ferris wheel, drive the dodgems or get the best view of the city lights as you spin 35 meters in the air on top of the Sky Flyer. Try your luck at much-loved carnival games and complete the experience with classic carnival food.

Entry is free. Tickets for each ride can be purchased at the ticket box on site.

Christmas Carnival, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, Victoria
Thu 14 Dec – Sun 24 Dec, 2 pm – 10 pm

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17. Little Korea Christmas Festival

Unwrap the magic of Christmas with a Korean twist at the Little Korea Street Food Christmas Festival. Located in the vibrant Healeys Lane (Melbourne’s K-Town), this festive gathering promises an unforgettable holiday experience.

Feast your senses on an array of Korean street food delights from skewers to Korean pizzas. The curated line-up of live performers will have you singing along to your favourite Christmas carols to dancing along with your favourite KPOP dance crews. And don’t forget the little ones! Face paint, balloon art, and a whimsical Christmas setup make it a picture-perfect outing for families.

Little Korea Christmas Festival, Healeys Ln, Melbourne 3004, 0433 453 878, admin@citynorthbusinessandstudent.com.au
Sat 9 Dec, 11 am – 5 pm

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18. Boho Luxe Market: Christmas Edition

Looking for some unique Christmas gifts? Come to the Boho Luxe Market and browse the selection of one-of-a-kind jewellery, fashion, art and more from some of Melbourne’s most talented creators.

Boho Luxe Market: Christmas Edition, The Atrium, Federation Square, Swanston St, Melbourne
Sun 10 Dec, 10 am – 4 pm

Boho Luxe Market Christmas

19. Australian Girls Christmas Choir

By popular demand, the fabulous Australian Girls Choir return to the outdoor stage in Dukes Walk for another rocking family Christmas concert. One hour of sheer delight – music from old and today, but all with a delightful festive twist.

Australian Girls Christmas Choir, 45 Collins St, Melbourne
Sat 16 Dec, 5 pm – 6 pm

Australian Girls Christmas Choir

20. Camp as Christmas

If you’ve found yourself on the naughty list this year, then come and join The Huxleys for the festive frenzy of As Camp as Christmas. Returning for the second year to Fed Square, this will be a rainbow celebration to make all your wildest Christmas wishes come true.

The sparkling celebrations will commence with a screening of the spandex and glittertastic Baz Luhrmann classic, Strictly Ballroom, on our Big Screen, followed by a live performance by the Rainbow Voices Community Choir and the Divine Divas Show Choir on the Main Stage.

The camp and spectacular will continue in The Edge with a line-up of cabaret and comedic stars, sure to make your yuletide gay.

Camp as Christmas, Fed Square, Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne, 03 9655 1900
Sat 16 Dec, 6 pm – 11 pm

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21. Eynesbury Christmas Party

Celebrate the festive season with your family & friends when you jingle all the way over to the Homestead lawn for this year’s Christmas party that’s filled with a range of free activities; face painting, animal farm, pony rides, inflatable rides, jumping castle, live music & food trucks!

The best part is that Santa, along with special furry guests from the North Pole will also be making a special visit to the event.

Eynesbury Christmas Party, 487 Eynesbury Road Eynesbury, (03) 9971 0402, admin@eynesbury.com.au
5pm – 8pm, Sat Dec 10

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22. German Christmas Market, Melbourne

Visitors can experience the magic of Christmas at the German Lutheran Trinity Church in Melbourne. You are invited to a delightful German Christmas market filled with the festive spirit.

Attendees can savor traditional delights like Brezel, sausages, and waffles and explore a charming array of handcrafted gifts. Live music and a captivating show await, along with the chance to win fantastic prizes in a raffle.

Guests can also meet and take a memorable picture with ‘Nikolaus’ himself. Save the dates for December 3rd from 12 pm to 6 pm and December 10th from 12 pm to 5 pm at 22 Parliament Place, Melbourne. This is a free holiday event not to be missed!

German Christmas Market, 22 Parliament Place, Melbourne
12 pm – 6 pm, 3 Dec & 12 pm – 5 pm, 10 Dec 2023

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23. Jingle Lanes: A Chinatown Christmas Festival, Melbourne

Step into a Winter Wonderland like no other at Jingle Lanes, a harmonious blend of cultures and a feast for all senses. Nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s iconic Chinatown, this holiday extravaganza combines the best of Eastern and Western festivities.

Indulge in a fusion culinary journey with pop-up food marquees, be entertained by live music, performances and Christmas carols, and be captivated by roaming Santas and elves.

Add some sparkle to your holiday shopping with unique gifts from local retail marquees, all set against the backdrop of dazzling Christmas and Chinese decorations.

Jingle Lanes: A Chinatown Christmas Festival, Heffernan Lane, Heffernan Ln, Melbourne 3004, 04 03 325 508, info@melbournechinatownbusiness.com
12pm – 8pm, Sat 16 Dec

Jingle Lanes A Chinatown Christmas Festival

24. Gather for Christmas, Melbourne

St. Paul’s Cathedral Uni Students and Young Adults host Gather for Christmas, an event open to everyone and anyone, and entry is free.

Held in the carpark of St. Paul’s Cathedral come along for an evening of live music, great food to purchase, Christmas market stalls, and lots of Christmas cheer.

Gather for Christmas, Carpark St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders St, Melbourne, 03 9653 4323, afootson@stpaulscathedral.org.au
6.30pm – 9pm, Thu 30 Nov

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25. Christmas Busking Boat, Melbourne

Hop aboard the Christmas busking boat – otherwise known as Yarra Shuttle 1 – from Federation Wharf.

You’ll be taken on a 30-minute tour of the lower Yarra River to South Wharf and back again. Apart from enjoying the great early evening scenery, you’ll hear the sounds of fun, lively Christmas busking music, playing from the back deck to hundreds of passers-by on the riverbanks.

Christmas Busking Boat, Federation Square, 15-19 Princes Walk, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia, exoff@yarrariver.melbourne
Thu 14 Dec,6pm – 8pm
Fri 15 Dec,6pm – 8pm
Sat 16 Dec,6pm – 8pm
Fri 22 Dec,6pm – 8pm
Sat 23 Dec, 6pm – 8pm
Sun 24 Dec, 3pm – 5pm

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26. Meet Santa and Friends at the Docklands, Melbourne

Roving entertainment including Santa, the spirited Christmas tree, and Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer will bring magic to the enchanting Docklands precinct during the much-anticipated City of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival.

Don’t miss the Docklands Christmas Maze at NewQuay Central Park, with the roving trio leading the way! Attendees are in for an engaging and memorable festive experience, navigating twists and turns that promise to delight.

The lovable trio’s appearances will capture the hearts of the young and the young-at-heart. Making their way to The District Shopping Centre, this festive shopping experience is not to be missed.

Whether you are visiting one of Docklands many attractions, cafes, bars and restaurants or shopping up a storm, Santa and his merry friends will turn your visit into a magical affair, promising entertaining antics, and delightful photo opportunities.

Meet Santa and Friends at the Docklands, admin@docklandscc.com.au,

Newquay Park, The District Docklands, Newquay Promenade, Victoria Harbour and Buluk Park, Collins Square Docklands
Fri 1 DecSat 23 Dec, 11am – 3pm

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27. Christmas Party at Library at The Dock, Melbourne

Visit Library at The Dock for their annual neighbourhood end of year festive celebration.

Help decorate their Christmas tree, get creative with Christmas crafts, watch some Christmas movies, enjoy a BYO picnic or festive season treats.

Christmas Party at Library at The Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade Docklands,
11am – 1pm, Sat 2 Dec

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28. Community Christmas Party at Kathleen Syme, Melbourne

Join the team at Kathleen Syme for their annual neighbourhood end of year festive celebration.

Enjoy a gardening workshop, help decorate their Christmas tree, get creative with Christmas crafts, enjoy festive season treats and face painting.

Community Christmas Party at Kathleen Syme, 251 Faraday St Carlton
11am – 1pm, Sat 2 Dec

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29. Native Australian Festive PrintShop, Melbourne

Join a free drop-in printmaking workshop and make your own wrapping paper, gift tags or cards.

Choose one or stay for all three options:
Make your own wrapping paper with native flora and fauna stamps (print station – 10 to 20 mins).
Make your own cards in printmaking (print station – 10 to 20 mins).
Carve your own Christmas stamps and then print with them (carving station – 20 mins).

The theme of the stamps is native flora and fauna: Christmas beetle, native flowers blooming around Christmas, Christmas gum nuts and more.

Native Australian Festive PrintShop, 15/37 Swanston St Melbourne
11am – 3pm, Sun 10 Dec

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30. Christmas Barbecue at East Melbourne Library, Melbourne

Join for a free community Christmas barbecue at East Melbourne Library.

As well as the barbecue there will be Christmas carols, a free one-to-one interaction cooking event, pop-up stalls and Christmas activities for children.

Christmas Barbecue at East Melbourne Library, 122 George St East Melbourne
11am – 2pm, Sat 2 Dec

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31. Christmas Treasure Hunt

Take a Christmas adventure in Carlton Gardens. Collect a map and answer sheet from The Royal Society of Victoria, and go on a treasure hunt to find all the answers. Return your completed sheet to collect a prize!

This activity is designed to be completed within one hour. Suitable for children up to 14 years old. Looking for more of a challenge? Check out the Christmas Quest.

Christmas Treasure Hunt, 8 La Trobe St Melbourne, christmas.festival@melbourne.vic.gov.au
9.30am – 4.30pm Sun 10 Dec

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32. Christmas Edition: Laneways, Small Shops and Arcades

*New dates released; December tours will showcase Christmas in the CBD

Melbourne’s laneways are full of secrets and boutique retailers that you might never notice.

On this tour you’ll dive into the city’s side streets and you’ll meet the owners behind these Melbourne businesses. From hobby shops, Italian stationery stores, gift stores and art galleries, you’ll leave with a better appreciation for what the centre of the city offers.

You’ll also learn a bit about Melbourne’s history and grab some coffee along the way (included with your free ticket).

This 90-120 minute tour is perfect for discovering new parts of the city, seeing street art, finding fresh bars to visit and hearing some fascinating history.

Christmas Edition: Laneways, Small Shops and Arcades, Next to Melbourne Town Hall Melbourne Visitor Hub Swanston St, 0405 951 528, secretary@cityprecinct.com.au
Wed 15 Nov, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Tue 21 Nov, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Tue 5 Dec, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Tue 12 Dec, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Thu 14 Dec, 10.30am – 12.30pm

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33. Christmas Tree Lighting

Enjoy festive performances on the main stage at Fed Square before the countdown to the main event – the lighting of the giant 17.5m Christmas Tree for the first time. Experience the magic of this light and sound show before heading down to Southbank for a spectacular laser and water display at the brand new Christmas River Show.

Christmas Tree Lighting, Federation Square Swanston St & Flinders St
6.30pm – 9pm, Fri 24 Nov

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34. Christmas in the City Photography Walks

Sharpen your photography skills in time for the Christmas Season with a guided photo walk through the streets of Melbourne with Carly Michael from Michael’s Cameras.

You’ll learn tips and tricks to get the best photos this silly season whilst also discovering new places in central Melbourne. Bring your phone or camera (digital or analogue), and learn how to capture the light in ways that you’ll be excited to share.

Christmas in the City Photography Walks, Federation Square The Atrium Flinders St, secretary@cityprecinct.com.au
Wed 29 Nov, 5pm – 6.30pm & 7.30pm – 9pm
Sun 3 Dec, 2pm – 3.30pm & 4.30pm – 6pm
Wed 6 Dec, 5pm – 6.30pm & 7.30pm – 9pm
Fri 8 Dec, 5pm – 6.30pm & 7.30pm – 9pm

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35. Seven Days of Christmas

Kick off the festive season in the North West Melbourne precinct with seven days of fun activities leading into Christmas. Santa will come to check out who has been naughty and nice – if you’ve been good, you may see him twice!

Come and explore the hidden gems in North and West Melbourne during the Christmas happy hours, where you will be sure to find fabulous presents for the special people in your world.

Seven Days of Christmas, Errol St North Melbourne 3051, 0411 101 396, info@northwestmelbourne.com.au
Wed 13 Dec – Wed 20 Dec, 10am – 8pm

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36. Melbourne Christmas Walk

Discover dazzling Christmas decorations with a self-guided walk throughout the city. Choose a day walk for a fun family activity (don’t forget a stop at Santa’s Workshop!) or explore at night to really see the city sparkle. Pick up a map from the Melbourne Visitor Hub at Town Hall or the Melbourne Visitor Booth on Bourke Street.

Melbourne Christmas Walk, Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne, christmas.festival@melbourne.vic.gov.au
Fri 24 Nov Mon 25 Dec, All day

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Buy a Christmas Hamper for someone special

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I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!

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Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community.

We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

 
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