It’s hard for us Aussies to celebrate Easter with longstanding traditions. For one thing, a lot of us aren’t religious – though Easter appears to have lost much of its religious significance to commercialism anyway.
For another, we’re heading into Autumn, not Spring. We’re starting to insulate ourselves against the cold, not open the shutters and hear the birdsong heralding new life.
Still, many of us already have our Easter traditions. My own family hosts a Good Friday brunch with extended family and friends and follows it up with a roast dinner and gift-giving (winter items) on Easter Sunday.
But for those without a plan in place, or looking for a bit more thrill these holidays, here are a few Melbourne Easter events you can embrace this seasons:
Good Friday Appeal 2016
For many, Easter is synonymous with the Good Friday Appeal, which will celebrate its 85th anniversary (who knew it was that old?!) this year.
Keep an ear out for the fire trucks roaming the streets for donations. And of course, there’s the traditional live Good Friday telethon on television that night. You can donate directly to the fireys, or call 1300 APPEAL (1300 277 325) on the day.
All donations go to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Bendigo Easter Festival 2016
Across Bendigo, Friday 25th-Monday 28th March
You thought the Good Friday Appeal was old? Bendigo has been celebrating their Easter Festival since 1870. It goes over the four day weekend and includes:
- the Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt (various times on Good Friday)
- the Bendigo Wine, Red & Rock Festival (a music festival over Easter Saturday and Sunday)
- Rotary Art and Craft Market (on Good Friday from 9am to 4pm)
- the Bendigo Easter Antique Fair (the second largest in Australia – on Saturday-Monday, entrance for adults $10)
Children Easter Fair at Alliance Francaise de Melbourne
51 Grey St, St Kilda, Saturday 2nd April, 10am-3pm
Alliance Francaise may be a little bit out of step with the rest of the world, enjoying their Children Easter Fair on Saturday 2nd April. But hey, that means you can fit in twice as much celebration.
There is a range of kid-friendly activities, including:
- Story times
- Chocolate lollypop workshops
- Easter Egg hunts (of course)
- Fimo clay workshops
- Movie times
- Art & Craft activities
- Family movie screenings
My favourite? The food on offer – that’s French pastries and crepes, oh la la! It’s $2 tickets for entry for those aged 3 and above.
Easter High Tea
The Rialto, 495 Collins St, Melbourne, Friday 25th-Sunday 27th March, 2pm-5pm
Thankfully, not everyone’s about the kids and this one is just for you…
The InterContinental Melbourne at The Rialto is hosting a special Easter High Tea over the long weekend. Think marbled Easter Bunnies filled with hazelnut praline, mini hot cross buns, hot cross bun macarons, and more. Om nom nom…
It’s $45 a head but don’t forget to book ahead (just click on the link above)… OK, maybe you’ll want to bring the kids along to this too.
The Great Luna Park Easter Egg Hunt
Luna Park, Sunday 27th March, 11am-11pm
Finally, an Easter Egg Hunt for ADULTS (… OK, and kids). The Luna Park is putting on a show with an epic Easter egg hunt with some 15,000 Darrell Lea eggs.
To be fair (bummer), there are hunt times for different age groups:
- 0-4 years: 12pm + 2pm
- 5-8 years: 12.15pm + 2.15pm
- 9-11 years: 12.30pm + 2.30pm
- 12+ years: 12.45 + 2.45pm
There’s also face painting, an (the?) Easter Bunny and some live music from Rumblin’ Wolf. You can enjoy the hunt for free if you’ve got an Unlimited Ride Ticket or Family Pass Ticket. If not, you can still join in with a gold coin entry.
Melbourne Easter Show 2016
Lawson Poole Reserve, South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne, Friday 25th-Sunday 27th March, 11am-9pm
This is the big deal, a huge Easter-themed carnival in Cranbourne complete with:
- Amusement rides
- Live entertainers
- Animal Farm
- Giant Easter Egg Hunt
- Hot dog eating contest (yep, it’s actually a thing)
It’s free and it’s set to be big.
Easter Fun Day at Rippon Lea
Rippon Lea House & Gardens, 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick, Sunday 27 March, 10am-4pm
An elegant setting for a family fun Easter Sunday, Rippon Lea is hosting a big Easter bash complete with:
- An Easter egg hunt (no, no: for 2-12 year old only)
- Outdoor games
- House tours
- Easter bunny appearances
There’s a second event at Mulberry Hill in Langwarrin South too. Tickets are $15 for adults, $9 for kids. Book them in the link above.
Good Friday on the Frankston Foreshore
Frankston Foreshore, Friday 25th March, 11am-3pm
OK, so Easter isn’t just about eggs and chocolate and bunnies. There’s that whole religious bit too, that can sometimes seem to get lost amid the egg hunts and fanfare.
But Frankston has a traditional commemorative event on Good Friday, where 40 actors and extras perform the story of Easter. It’s a roving theatre event along the foreshore and can be good fun to watch.
Participants are asked to bring hot cross buns to share, but other than that, the event is free!
What do you love to do during Easter? Take off to the countryside? Attend one of these events? Share your traditions in the comments section below – and let us know if there’s a local Melbourne Easter event I haven’t worth attending!