The world’s most liveable city will welcome a host of new attractions, events and experiences in 2017. Food and wine will be at the fore when the city plays host to the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards; visitors will be taken to new heights with the launch of the Arthurs Seat Eagle and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)’s new zipline and roof walk; existing events will be injected with new life; and there will be more ways to experience wildlife, and more reasons to hit the water, than ever before – not to mention new places to eat, drink, sleep and be merry.
Arthurs Seat Eagle
Launching December 2016, just in time for the busy summer season, the much-anticipated gondola ride will allow visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the Mornington Peninsula. The Arthurs Seat Eagle will have 24 gondolas and take 15 minutes each way, reaching a summit of 314 metres.
The Australian Open will move one step closer to the city in 2017, with the newly opened Tanderrum Bridge. Not only will the new bridge act as the new entry point to Rod Laver, it will directly link the city and Birrarung Marr with all the action at Melbourne Park. Other new initiatives include $5 tickets for kids, a free opening weekend concert series at Birrarung Marr, and a new-look Grand Slam Oval themed to reflect Paris, London, New York and Melbourne. From 16 – 29 January.
Tanderrum Bridge from above
The Book of Mormon
In an Australian premiere, The Book of Mormon – the first Broadway Musical by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker – will land in Melbourne in January. Resulting in sell-out seasons wherever it goes, this cheeky musical has already sold out the first month of its Melbourne run. Opens 18 January at the Princess Theatre.
Forget flying or driving, it seems cruise ships are the transport of choice for an increasing number of visitors to Melbourne. The sector will experience significant growth in 2017, with a record 99 ships scheduled to call into Victoria’s ports during the cruise season. This will include inaugural visits by Seabourn Encore, a new five star luxury cruise ship that will visit both Phillip Island (4 February) and Melbourne (5 February), as well as first time visits by Maasdam, Emerald Princess, Norwegian Star, Azamara Journey and Sirena.
Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts
For the first time ever, Melbourne will host the Asia Triennial of Performing Arts (TOPA) from 13 February – 6 March. The festival of Asian-focused performance and culture will present performing, visual, screen and literary arts programs, commissioned works and collaborations between Australian artists, and artists from the region. It will be hosted at and with Melbourne arts venues and companies including Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Federation Square, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Dancing With Death photo credit Nattapol Meechart
AFL Women’s League
Australia’s first national women’s Australian Football League (AFL) will kick off in 2017. The inaugural season is scheduled to begin in February with eight teams competing. Three of the eight teams will hail from Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, placing the city at the centre of the competition in keeping with AFL tradition. The line-up includes: Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Brisbane, Greater Western Sydney and Fremantle.
White Night Ballarat
For the first time ever, White Night Melbourne will be joined by a regional counterpart, with the inaugural White Night Ballarat set to take place on 4 March – two weeks after the Melbourne event. White Night Ballarat will showcase the city’s heritage streetscape in a whole new light with projections to feature on some of the city’s most historic buildings. In another first, both events will be under the artistic direction of David Atkins OAM.
White Night Melbourne 2015 Rabbit Hole photo credit John Gollings
Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands
Slated to open on 28 March, Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands will offer 273 guest rooms and suites, all with city or water views, as well as a fitness centre, pool and free WiFi.
Hyatt Place Melbourne
Hyatt Place Melbourne will be located in Essendon Fields, and will be Australia’s first Hyatt Place hotel. The eight-storey hotel will offer guests a free hot breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Food truck precincts
The City of Melbourne will establish five permanent food-truck precincts in March, which will house a mix of 17 permanent and rotating trucks. The sites will be on St Kilda Road (outside the NGV and Arts Centre); Peel Street (next to the Queen Victoria Market); Les Erdi Plaza on the Yarra River (near Arbory Bar & Eatery); Batman Park (opposite Crown); and the underpass on the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets.
Boutique accommodation at Willow Creek Vineyard
Early in the year, Willow Creek Vineyard will open a new boutique hotel called Jackalope. The Flinders property will consist of a 46-room luxury hotel, 30-metre infinity pool overlooking the vines and an 80-seat fine dining restaurant. At the same time, Willow Creek will reopen its eponymous cellar door and restaurant, which is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards
In 2017, Melbourne will become only the third city in the world (after London and New York) to host the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards – the global ranking which has become the most coveted for the world’s best chefs. On 5 April, Victoria will welcome more than 800 of the world’s culinary elite for the program of events – cementing the city’s reputation as a global food destination and trend-setter. The annualMelbourne Food and Wine Festival will coincide with this major international awards program, positioning Victoria at the centre of a celebration of food and drink culture on a scale never before seen in Australia.
Pears-and-Maidenii at Attica, rated no. 33 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2016
Australia’s first Legoland discovery centre will open at Chadstone the Fashion Capital in autumn. Specifically designed for families with children aged three to 10 years old, it will include two Lego rides, five themed ‘build and play’ zones, build classes from the Legoland master model builder, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, a 4D cinema, and an exhibit designed to reflect Melbourne’s buildings, skyline, and landmarks.
The Goulburn River Valley’s newest accommodation offering is due for completion in mid year. Mitchelton Hotel will sit alongside Mitchelton’s restaurant, its Ministry of Chocolate café, and cellar door. The 4.5 star hotel will feature 58 rooms, a day spa and swimming pool, and easy access to nearby bush walking and cycling tracks, Goulburn River cruises and wineries.
Melbourne Cricket Ground zipline and roof walk
Plans are currently underway to develop a new Roof Walk at the MCG. The new attraction will allow visitors to visitors to walk on the MCG’s roof, taking in spectacular views of the ground itself, as well as Melbourne’s sporting precinct more broadly and the city skyline. A zipline will also be added to transport thrill-seekers from the city-end scoreboard to a landing on the opposite side of the stadium. It is anticipated to launch in 2017.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys
Eco tourism operator, Robert Pennicott, will launch Wilsons Promontory Cruises from Tidal River, South Gippsland, mid year. The wilderness cruises will allow visitors to explore the spectacular waterways of the area and learn about the history, culture, flora and fauna of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park.
Located at Melbourne Airport, Urbnsurf Melbourne will be the first man-made surf park facility in Australia when it opens late in the year. Thanks to clever, wave-generating technology, visitors of all abilities will be able to have an authentic surfing experience whatever the weather – without a beach in sight. And LED lighting means keen surfers can ride the waves night and day.
A more extensive list of Victoria’s new events, attractions and openings for 2017 is available here.