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Tourism Victoria’s Melbourne Hot List 2015

December 21, 2014 | By | Add a Comment

As the new year approaches it is time to turn our attention to what will inspire us in 2015. As if on queue  Tourism Victoria has released its Hot List of what will entice visitors (both local and abroad) to Melbourne in 2015 and as we cast our eye over the list there is something for all, from experimental dining, arts and culture, the outdoors to new accommodation.

Light show outside the Crown Entertainment Complex at Night

From Tourism Victoria here is the biggest trends to entice visitors to our home in 2015:

Experiential dining

Australia’s most highly anticipated restaurant opening for 2015 is uber-chef Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, which will relocate from the village of Bray in the UK to Crown Melbourne in February 2015. A lucky 14,000 diners were selected via a furiously contested online ballot to eat at the Michelin-starred restaurant for Heston’s 15-course extravaganza, including his famous Sound of the Sea and Snail Porridge.

More dining drama can be had at Prix Fixe, Melbourne’s first ticketed restaurant, which requires diners to pre-purchase their two, three or four-course set menu online before they can part the velvet curtains and enjoy the “show”. Chef Philippa Sibley, known for her amazing desserts among other dishes, offers up a playful, changing monthly menu in a dramatically lit space on Alfred Place. Her culinary creations are inspired by art, music, people and seasonal produce.

George Calombaris’s Press Club – Projects lets diners into the restaurant’s test kitchen for a private dining experience like no other. Press Club head chef Luke Croston presents a lineup of inventive and experimental new dishes to a maximum of eight people who like to dine on the culinary cutting-edge.

Designer, florist and eco-warrior Joost Bakker has upped the ante on sustainability with his new venture Brothl, Australia’s first zero-waste eatery. Located on Hardware Lane, Brothl dishes up deluxe broths made from top-notch ingredients rescued from Melbourne’s best restaurants, including Attica, Rockpool and The European.

Bendigo’s new #HashtagPublicBar in Kennington encourages diners to Tweet, post and Instagram their experience using the in house free wifi, providing live feedback as they eat. The all-day eatery and bar is open daily from breakfast through to 1am.

Diners at Shannon Bennett’s just-opened Piggery Café and Burnham Bakery, at Burnham Beeches estate in the Dandenong Ranges, can enjoy lawn bowls, croquet and bocce, or walk off their meal at the stunning Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens next door. The eatery will be expanded in 2015, with plans to open a brewery and steakhouse late in the year. The Art Deco Burnham Beeches mansion is also due for transformation into deluxe accommodation by 2018.

Arts & culture on the move

The new SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival will activate the whole of Southbank over five weekends from January 23, with free or low-cost live music, dance, installations, circus acts and theatre. Held at various outdoor terraces, gardens, forecourts and temporary stages around Melbourne’s arts precinct, the festival is set to make those hot summer nights unforgettable.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Secret Symphony series takes classical music out of the concert hall with a range of free performances held at more intimate, clandestine venues throughout Melbourne. The secret musical events are promoted via clues on a dedicated Twitter feed and the final details are revealed at the last minute. Admission is free and on a first-come, first-served basis.

White Night Melbourne on February 21 is the only all-night cultural festival in Australia, with more than half a million people celebrating in the city from 7pm to 7am. Set against a backdrop of awesome cityscape projections, local and international artists will reveal a cornucopia of art installations, live music, dance, design, film, sport and theatre performances.

An impromptu, guerrilla-style music project, Tram Sessions stages live gigs on Melbourne’s trams, delighting commuters with performances from up-and-coming as well as seriously famous musicians such as Vance Joy and Paul Kelly.

The Shadow Electric outdoor cinema returns to Abbotsford Convent in January 2015, with a program of documentaries, cult classics and the best new releases. Held in the grounds of the historic convent, which is now a thriving cultural precinct, the summer cinema is complemented by live music in the bandroom, a bar, and some of Melbourne’s best gourmet food trucks.

Pedal Power

The Great Ocean RoadTourism Victoria’s new Great Trails Victoria website lets cyclists, mountain bikers and walkers plan their next adventure with ease. With interactive mapping, downloadable GPS data files, detailed journey guides, suggested itineraries and inspirational images and trail descriptions, the Great Trails site is a one-stop-shop for outdoor enthusiasts.

Two new cycling events are set to showcase Victoria’s diverse natural landscapes. TheCadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, named after Australia’s most celebrated cyclist, will travel through Cadel’s home town of Barwon Heads as it makes its way around the beautiful seaside Bellarine Peninsula from January 31 to February 1 2015.

The inaugural Mt Buller Epic Festival from December 5 to 7, 2014, celebrates the launch of the Australian Alpine Epic Trail, a 24-mile mountain bike trackthat descends over 3,608 vertical feet from the top of Mt Buller down into the surrounding valley.

Located along a busy bike path in Melbourne’s inner-north, hip new café Green Park has a cycle-by coffee window and is right next door to bike shop Velo Cycles, where enthusiasts can get repairs done, buy some new lycra or even upgrade their bike to the latest model.

Indigenous Tours

A new Urban Koorie Tour in and around Melbourne’s Federation Square reveals how drastically the city’s landscape has changed since European settlement. With Koorie Heritage Trust guides leading the way, visitors will learn the significance of Birrarung Marr (the Yarra River) to indigenous people, as well as the historical and contemporary importance of Fed Square as a meeting place through the ages.

Phillip Island Nature Parks, home to the world-famous Little Penguins, has launched a new Aboriginal Heritage Tour honouring the site’s traditional owners. Tour guides take visitors past numerous archaeological sites that hint at the rich Aboriginal heritage of the area and explain how the Boonwurrung people used seasonal plants and animals in daily life. The tour includes reserved front row seats to the evening Penguin Parade.

Now running every Sunday, as well as Mondays to Thursdays, the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Aboriginal Heritage Walk tour reveals another side to Melbourne’s world-renowned tourist attraction. As visitors stroll through the stunningly landscaped grounds, guides explain how Aboriginal tribes used local plants for food, tools and medicine and then conduct a traditional smoking ceremony.

Regional gourmet experiences

Black Cat Cottage & Truffles is a working truffle farm and accommodation near Creswick in Central Victoria that also offers tours, tastings and events. At A Taste of Truffles  March 8 to 15 2015, visitors can hunt for summer truffles, learn about growing them, watch cooking demonstrations and sample a selection of truffle dishes.

At Tamsin’s Table in Gippsland, foodies can enjoy a communal lunch prepared using ingredients sourced exclusively from the farm, or get their hands dirty harvesting fresh produce from the kitchen garden before cooking up a three-course meal under the tutelage of farmer, cook and blogger Tamsin Carvan. New in 2015 will be baking workshops, where old-school recipes and techniques will be shared.

Cameron Russell’s autumn Mushroom Tours on the Mornington Peninsula are a must-do activity for fungi lovers. The chef’s Sunday morning rambles are legendary, teaching visitors how to distinguish between different varieties of mushrooms, how to identify poisonous ones and how to prepare the good ones. Tours end at Moorooduc Estate, with wine tastings and mushroomy snacks.
The Argus Dining Room, in the charming spa town of Hepburn Springs, runs small-group food experiences, including a tour and cooking class at the restaurant’s farm, Vale Hill.Visitors can stroll through the orchards and vegetable gardens and learn about the rare breed sheep and cattle, before joining a spring-lamb cooking workshop. A three-course lunch with matched wines follows.

New hotelsSet to open in early 2015 is the Vibe Hotel Marysville, located in the pretty Yarra Ranges village that was badly affected by the Black Saturday Fires of 2009. A key component of the town’s remarkable recovery and reconstruction, the 101-room, 4.5-star hotel and conference centre will include a woodfire grill restaurant, café, deli and bakehouse, as well as a pool, spa and wellness centre. The hotel offers easy access to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, Melbourne’s closest winter skifield and a great place for bushwalking and mountain-biking the rest of the year.QT Melbourne, on the site of the former Greater Union Cinema, is set to open at 131 Russell Street in late 2015, with 188 hotel rooms over 9 levels, plus 24 live-in apartments above. The complex will also include a restaurant and rooftop bar. Guests can expect the hotel to feature bold design, quirky interiors, lively contemporary art and quality dining, in line with other QT Hotels & Resorts around the country.

Opening in early 2015, The Farmhouse at Meleto’s in the Yarra Valley will offer 23 boutique ensuite rooms housed in a remarkable two-story Tuscan-inspired building. Operated by the Frazer family of award-winning winery Stones of the Yarra Valley, which is next door, the Meleto’s site also includes a regional café, gourmet pizzeria and an intimate events space called The Warehouse.

Regional arts hubsAlready known for its fine food culture, Chinese Goldrush heritage and blockbuster exhibitions at Bendigo Art Gallery, the City of Greater Bendigo will open the newUlumbarra Theatre in 2015 at the historic Sandhurst Gaol. The $25 million complex includes a state-of-the-art, 1000-seat theatre, music, dance and drama studios, and unique box office and cloakroom housed in the old prison cells.The Castlemaine State Festival is a biennial,10-day multi-arts celebration that draws on the distinctive culture of the central Victorian goldfields region. Running from March 13 to 22, 2015, the festival showcases work from the region’s finest artists and performing arts companies, as well as national and international stars.

Geelong Gallery, at the start of the Great Ocean Road,is the ideal setting for Arcadia—sound of the sea, a touring exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra that celebrates the free-spirited, revolutionary beginnings of surf culture in Australia. The show contrasts photographs by John Witzig, co-founder of Tracks magazine, with large-scale ink drawings by Nicholas Harding and psychedelic film footage by Albert Falzon.

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