What’s On at the Moomba Festival 2016


Date: 11-14 March 2016

Location: Along the Yarra River

The Labour Day long weekend is coming up this weekend which means the Moomba Festival is coming to town!

You may not know that this is Australia’s biggest FREE community event. And it’s happening. Right here. In Melbourne. Next weekend.

Would seem a shame to miss it, don’t you think?

What’s Happening?

If you’ve grown up in the city, you’ll be well familiar with the Moomba parade and the Birdman rally. If you haven’t grown up with this festival, it’s about time you got acquainted.

There are 5 precincts to catch the action, which includes everything from carnivals to water sports to kids’ zones.

So here’s what’s on…

The Moomba Parade

It’s our version of Sydney’s Mardi Gras. Dialled down a bit, no doubt. But it’s every bit as colourful and extravagant.

Head to St Kilda Road to watch the show on Monday 14 March at 11am. It will start near the Shrine of Remembrance and finish up near Linlithgow Avenue.

With an American Prom-styled twist, you’ll be able to see the Moomba King and Queen (this year they’re the lovable siblings Michelle and Stephen Payne – of Melbourne Cup 2015 fame).

Birdman Rally

In this wacky event, participants dress up in clever or downright bizarre winged costumes and leap from a bridge into the Yarra River. Competitors dress up as either penguins or hawks, depending on how serious their attempt is to fly.

The winner is the competitor who “flies” the furthest, although most appear to plummet straight into the river’s murky depths.

Don’t worry. They’re not mad. (Well, maybe just a little). They’re doing it for charity. You can watch (and laugh at) the event on Sunday 13 March from 12pm-2pm.


Aside from these fun events, you’ll also get to enjoy:

  • Fireworks (between Princes Bridge and Swan St Bridge, 9.30pm-9.45pm Saturday to Monday)
  • Face painting
  • Food stalls
  • Garden carnivals in the Alexandra Gardens and Birrarung Marr
  • Watersports
  • Water floats
  • Live music & bands (including Alpine, British India and Vaudeville Smash)
  • Silent Disco

Be prepared

The Moomba Festival is super popular which means there will be a tonne of people there. Make sure you head off with:

  • A full bottle of water
  • Some snacks for the kiddies
  • Sunscreen (and hat!)
  • Comfy shoes
  • Plenty of cash

Instead of being disappointed and grouchy on the day, just expect big crowds (they’ve predicted 1 mil throughout the 4 days) and long queues.

Finally, familiarise yourself with the map (courtesy of the City of Melbourne):


What’s the Moomba Festival About Anyway?

We Melburnians have been celebrating this grand event since 1955, which makes it one of the longest running community festivals in the country!

Here’s a fun fact for you to use at your next Friday night BBQ. Moomba is Aboriginal for “up your bum”. Seriously.

So how did we get to celebrating a festival named after something that crude? Well, the whole origins of the festival began with the Queen.

Yup. The British monarch + “up your bum” = Moomba.

Queen Elizabeth came to Melbourne in 1954 in her first visit as the Queen. To impress her (I guess), the City of Melbourne suggested we celebrate an autumn carnival.

The City of Melbourne consulted with the city’s indigenous for a name. And, legend has it, as a joke, they suggested Moomba. And I guess the council took to it.

Check out the full program to plan your day(s) today.

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