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Top Free Things to See and Do Around Melbourne in October

Home > Melbourne > Community Events | Exhibitions | Family | Festivals | Free | Lists
by Lionel (subscribe)
Join me as I travel, play, eat, live and work in cities and places around the world.
Published October 4th 2017
Enjoy FREE events and activities in Melbourne this month

melbourne, australia
Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

October heralds a warm breath of spring, chasing away the chills of September. Melburnians of all ages can look forward to a month of free cultural festivities as the Mid-Autumn Festival and Diwali comes to town. There are prehistoric creatures, WWI postcards, digital games, pop-up design festival, Bollywood dance workshop, organ concert, cycling event, and a public housing estate walk about. Seniors can also enjoy a wide range of activities during the Victorian Seniors Festival. Whatever event or activity suits the family or your fancy, you'll find something for FREE in the world's most liveable city this month.

1 to 8 Oct - Prehistoric VR

If you and your family enjoyed the animation magic of Wallace & Gromit and Friends, then head over to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) for an immersive encounter with creatures of the prehistoric deep. Commissioned by ACMI, 'Prehistoric VR' is based on the Prehistoric Aquarium stage show by internationally renowned makers of large-scale puppetry experiences Erth Visual & Physical Inc. You will experience the real science of palaeontology by coming up close and personal with a variety of aquatic creatures from the Ediacaran to the Cretaceous periods. This activity is recommended for children ages 7 to 12 years. No reservations are required. Visit the website for more details.

Time: Daily 11am 4pm
Venue: Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Address: Corner of Swanston & Flinders Streets, Melbourne VIC 3000

1 to 31 Oct - Postcards from the First World War

Shrine of Remembrance
Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria Limited

Get a glimpse of places and lives during the First World War through an exhibition of old postcards including hand-embroidered silk postcards. They were sent by soldiers who served overseas in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) between 1915 and 1918. Alan Ferguson, Ernest and Arthur Brooks and Charles Newman sent them to Laura Brooks. Entitled 'Dear Laura', this temporary exhibition at the Shrine of Remembrance allows you and your family to discover the devastation caused by war, longing for loved ones and journeys and sights encountered by the senders of the postcards. Visit the website for more information.

Daily 10am - 5pm
Venue: Shrine of Remembrance
Address: St Kilda Road Melbourne VIC 3004
Phone: 03 9661 8100

6 Oct - Estate, A Reverie

Photo courtesy of architectsforpeace

Nine public housing sites are currently being redeveloped in Melbourne. To draw public attention to the impacts of regeneration and gentrification on communities, Architects for Peace is hosting a walking tour, conversation and film screening. You can consider issues of diversity and community during a walk about in a public housing estate before enjoying a film screening of 'Estate, a Reverie'. This documentary by Andrea Zimmerman portrays the impacts of social housing regeneration. It gives a voice to the residents of Haggerston Estate in London in the lead up to its demolition by capturing stories of happiness, community, loneliness, love, hardship and laughter. Visit the website to book your free tickets.

Time: 5.45pm 9pm (5.45pm estate walk & conversation, 6.45pm film screening)
Venue: Carlton Baths (Meet at Neill Street Reserve in corner Lygon and Palmerston Streets, Carlton)
Address: 248 Rathdowne Street, Carlton VIC 3053

6, 7, 27 & 28 Oct - QV Dine and Design Festival

QV Melbourne
Photo courtesy of Dexus

QV Melbourne offers more than just an eclectic mix of shops, cafes and restaurants. This retail precinct in the city curates a calendar of free arts and culture programs that reflect the quintessential Melbourne lifestyle. Highlights include a Tropical Retreat, Summer Cinema and the more recent Neon Night Garden from May to June. The first Dine and Design Festival will be popping up in QV Square this October. You and your family can look forward to two weekends of pop-up artisans, gourmet food, fashion, accessories, crafts, lifestyle products and homewares.

Time: Fri 11am 7pm, Sat 11am 5pm
Venue: QV Square, L2 next to Max Brenner and Papparich
Address: Corner Swanston and Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

6 to 8 Oct - Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival

crown melbourne
Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria Limited

The Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated by Chinese around the world. Here in Melbourne, this cultural festival lights up the Crown Riverwalk with lanterns. You and your family can look forward to a schedule of cultural activities and live entertainment including traditional Chinese opera, dance performances, lion dance, mooncake and mochi eating competitions. Two dozen Asian food and market-style stalls will be onsite. There are also activities for the kids such as lantern-making workshops and a lantern parade after sunset.

Time: Daily 10am - 10pm
Venue: Crown Riverside
Address: Whiteman Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

7 & 8 Oct - Diwali Festival of Lights

Photo courtesy of National Geographic Partners, LLC

Queen Victoria Market is more than a popular grocery shopping venue in the city. It plays host to many cultural festivals throughout the year including the Lunar New Year, Taste of Portugal and the Truffle Melbourne Festival. This October, the market will celebrate Diwali. Also referred to as Deepavali, this annual festival of lights is celebrated in India and by Indian communities around the world. You and your family can look forward to a weekend of festival fun. Highlights include cultural performances and cuisine from India, Malaysia, Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Sindh Province in Pakistan. Visit the website for more information.

Time: Sat 9am 3pm, Sun 9am 4pm
Venue: Queen Victoria Market
Address: Corner Elizabeth and Victoria streets, Melbourne VIC 3000

8 to 31 Oct - Victorian Seniors Festival

victorian seniors festival
Photo courtesy of City of Melbourne

October is about celebrating the senior years and recognising the past and current contributions of the older generation in the community. The City of Melbourne has planned a calendar of activities for the Victorian Seniors Festival. You can look forward to 25 events spread across 3 weeks in various venues including the Melbourne Town Hall, libraries, recreation centres and Federation Square. There are dancing workshops, craft sessions, tai chi classes, talks and many more. Visit the website for the full list of activities and times.

Venue: Various locations across the City of Melbourne

11 Oct - Lunchtime Organ Concert

Ria Angelika Polo
Photo courtesy of Ria Angelika Polo

The Melbourne Town Hall is more than just the civic heart of the City of Melbourne. In addition to free tours of the venue and the grand organ, it is also popular for its calendar of grand organ concerts. Performances included the horror-synth music of the Night Terrors, complete organ works of JS Bach by Calvin Bowman and new works by Paul Grabowsky for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. This October, Organist Ria Angelika Polo will play a repertoire of classical organ highlights and jazz favourites. You can look forward to music from Mendelssohn, Bach, Guilmant, Queen as well as popular and jazz selections. This programme is part of the 2017 Victorian Seniors Festival. No reservations are required. Visit the website for more information.

Time: 1pm - 2pm
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall
Address: 90-130 Swanston Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 1300 135 090

14 Oct - Celebrate India Diwali

Photo courtesy of Celebrate India inc

You don't have to take a trip to India, Malaysia or Singapore to enjoy the festivities of Diwali. Celebrate India brings the highlights of this cultural event to Melbourne. It serves to facilitate a better understanding of the Indian culture and its diversity among the wider Australian community. Federation Square will be transformed by classical, folk and Bollywood dance performances and music, and Indian bazaar and cuisine. There will also be craft workshops and face painting for the kids. The celebrations will close with a fireworks display on the Yarra. Visit the website for more information.

Time: 11am - 10pm
Venue: Federation Square
Address: Corner of Swanston & Flinders Streets, Melbourne VIC 3000

15 Oct - Bollywood Dance Workshop

shaimak melbourne
Photo courtesy of SDIIPL

In addition to celebrating the Indian culture at Queen Victoria Market, you can join in the Diwali festivities with a free Bollywood dance workshop hosted by Shiamak Bollywood Dance School. In addition to the session in Melbourne, classes are also held in Perth and Sydney. You will learn a variety of moves from Shiamak instructors in Australia who have performed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reception, launch of the ICC World Cup 2015, AFL Multicultural Match and the Canberra Multicultural Festival. Visit the website to reserve your space.

Time: 12pm - 12.45pm, 2.30pm - 3.15pm
Venue: Immigration Museum
Address: 400-424 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

18 Oct - National Ride2Work Day

bicycle network
Photo courtesy of Bicycle Victoria Incorporated

There are plenty of free community fitness and workouts around Melbourne but Australians are still not getting enough exercise. As an alternative to walking and help everyone get active, Bicycle Network is encouraging the public to ride to work. You can join the cycling fun during National Ride2Work Day. at Docklands. It is the largest celebration of commuter riding in Australia. Visit the website for more information and registration.

Time: 6am - 9am
Venue: Meet near the 'Cow Up a Tree' sculpture
Address: 131-141 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands VIC 3008
Phone: 03 8376 8888

22 to 29 Oct - Melbourne International Games Week

Melbourne International Games Week
Photo courtesy of Creative Victoria

If you and your family love video games, you won't want to miss the Melbourne International Games Week. Held in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, this event brings over 1,000 game developers together with games enthusiasts and the general public. It is Asia Pacific's largest mix of conferences, events and activities celebrating digital games. There are cosplay opportunities, a scavenger hunt game by digital artist Troy Innocent, PAX Australia, Women in Games Lunch and many more. You can look forward to a schedule of free activities for the public. Visit the website for the full schedule and timings.

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf VIC 3006
Phone: 03 8683 3119
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Why? Loads of free things to do and see in Melbourne this October
Where: Various locations around Melbourne
Cost: Free
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