Thinking about moving to Melbourne from abroad or have just made the move from overseas? Melbourne is known as Australia’s most European city and with its long history of live music and independent arts, it’s the hub of cultural activity in the country.
We surveyed over 2,000 expats and over 28% said that understanding and adapting to a new culture and lifestyle was amongst the top challenges of moving and establishing life in Australia.
In order to help you familiarise yourself with the city, we’ve put together a list of 5 arts, music and other cultural events that help make Melbourne Australia’s cultural magnet:
- White Night Melbourne (February)
Inspired by the international Nuit Blanche movement which has all cultural venues open at night transforming the city into one giant party, White Night is an all night arts festival in Melbourne that happens every year.
For twelve hours straight, the city’s cultural institutions and historical places of interest throw open their doors and the city fills with installations, music and food. The city is divided into precincts with each area programmed by theme.
You could be hitting open-air dance floor, taking a tour of the many hidden art installations around the city, or bopping to live music inside a charismatic old building. Find out more at whitenightmelbourne.com.au
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival (March-April)
Now 30 years old, the famous Melbourne International Comedy Festival continues to serve up laughs as comedians from around the world descend on the city. It also happens to be the third-largest comedy festival in the world!
Think big headliners that will have you roaring with laughter and access to more affordable tickets to discover stars in the making. Find out more at comedyfestival.com.au
- Melbourne International Film Festival (July – August)
If you like a cultural event that isn’t afraid to dip its toes in controversy from time to time, MIFF is your bag. Deemed to be more than a little controversial, on more than one occasion the festival has been threatened with censorship based on the political nature of its curatorial decisions.
It’s a great place to find thought-provoking documentaries and independent film from around the world. The films are held at cinemas around the city, but also interesting venues like the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI) and Arts Centre Melbourne. Find out more at miff.com.au
5 movies down after the first weekend of #MIFF2016. 😎 LO AND BEHOLD: The past, present & future of the internet. Wondrous & expansive yet cautionary, with Herzog's trademark wit. 8/10 THE SALESMAN: Mostly sustains the tension, but loses way towards end. Not as arresting as Farhadi's A SEPARATION or THE PAST. 8/10 GIRLFRIENDS: 1970s AF, but refreshing in its focus on (natural-looking!) women navigating career, love & friendship in NYC. 7/10 FIRE AT SEA: Confronting, poetic, timely. An unconventional look at Europe's migrant crisis that should be seen by all. 8/10 INDIGNATION: Lerman's electric, but the ending was rushed and unsatisfying. I'm guessing Roth's novel is more fully formed. 6/10
- Melbourne Fringe (September-October)
If you like your art a little off-kilter, Melbourne Fringe is for you. Bold cabaret, theatre, live art and music give alternative minds a voice. The great thing about the Fringe is that it’s open-access (non-curated) so anybody can register a show and the chances of uncovering raw talent are high.
An eclectic mix of events like art laser shows, showcases of furniture design, pop-up museums and more, is also there for you to enjoy. Find out more at melbournefringe.com.au
Got to try out my new sequence on stage! What an awesome weekend performing in No Frills Cabaret for the Melbourne Fringe festival #nofrillscabaret #melbournefringe #sundaykindoflove 💜💃🎪 #circusartistcirque #circusaroundtheworld #usaerial #aerialnation #flexible__people #circusinspiration #getaerialfit
- Melbourne Music Week (November)
With thousands of cosy corner bars dotted around the city, Melbourne is the undisputed home of live music in Australia. MMW promises 110 events featuring 240 artists in 40 locations across the city.
See your favourite band at the local pub, catch a free gig at the city’s best venues, or chill at an all-day party. This is a great way to catch homegrown, independent Aussie music. Find out more at
These events and festivals are just the tip of the iceberg with hundreds more music, arts and food events happening around the city at any given time. Melbournians are a friendly crowd so don’t be shy and get involved!
If you’re thinking about moving to Melbourne from overseas or have just arrived, speaking to a currency specialist can help you plan your finances for everything from setting up your new life to managing the transfer of funds once you settle in.
World First are international money transfer specialists that could help you get better exchange rates and assist with seamless bank-to-bank transfers so you know the exchange rate you are getting and what you’ll receive at the other end. We’re also one of the few 5-star rated Australian providers awarded ‘Outstanding Value in International Money Transfers’ by CANSTAR, Australasia’s leading consumer finance ratings company.
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