What's on across Victoria this Labour Day long weekend

Ballarat Begonia festival flower display

Tianna Nadalin

Posted March 08, 2023

From a neon Greek temple to a beguiling begonia display and bottomless cocktail brunches, here's the best of what's on across Victoria this Labour Day long weekend.

Long weekends are a great opportunity to sign out of your work email, mute chat notifications and spend some quality time with family, friends and fur babies. After a busy start to 2023, this year’s Labour Day public holiday on 13 March offers a well-timed rest. 

The holiday, which, in Victoria, falls on the second Monday in March every year, commemorates the achievements of the labour movement in the 1850s, when stonemasons and building workers marched to demand an eight-hour workday. This was a significant achievement, as workers at the time were often required to work 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Whether you’re going to take advantage of the three-day weekend by heading off on a day tripwinery tour or gourmet getaway, or plan on hitting some of the city’s coolest rooftop bars, speakeasys and restaurants, here’s our guide to the best things to do in Melbourne and Victoria this Labour Day long weekend. 

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NGV's colourful Temple of Boom parthenon isnpired art installation in Melbourne

NGV's bold Temple of Boom installation. Image: Supplied.

What's on in Melbourne over the Labour Day long weekend

Bottomless Brunch at Sojourn

Foodies, this one’s for you. A bottomless brunch with a bold, locally inspired seasonal menu accompanied by two hours of never-ending Four Pillars gin cocktails – as well as local wines, beers - is coming to Melbourne’s favourite rooftop restaurant, Sojourn. So Good Saturdays are pouring at Sojourn every Saturday from 11 March to 29 April. Tickets cost $90 per person. Book now to reserve your spot. 

Yoga in the Sky

Schedule a little bit of zen into your long weekend with a sky-high yoga class. Guided by an expert yoga teacher, yogis of all skill levels can salute the sun from 290m above the city. Held at Melbourne’s breathtaking Skydeck, RACV Members can relax and rejuvenate with a guided meditation followed by an exclusive Yoga in the Clouds experience.

Moomba Festival

Is it even the Labour Day long weekend if you don’t head into town for the annual Moomba Festival? Moomba, Australia’s largest free community festival, is heading to town from 9 to 13 March for five days of epic water sporting feats, parades, live music performances, fireworks, carnival rides and, of course, the Birdman Rally. This year’s event will also see some of Melbourne’s most-loved hospitality vendors hit the streets, with everything from woodfired pizza and Texan-style tacos to Korean potato twists and Greek doughnuts on offer.

NGV Friday Nights 

From the NGV’s neon-hued architecture commission Temple of Boom, an inspired re-imagining of The Parthenon on Greece, to it’s dazzling Alexander McQueen exhibition, the National Gallery of Victoria is packed with all the glitz and glam for a fun-filled long weekend. You’ll be in for double trouble on Friday nights when Melbourne’s best DJs take up residence in the Temple of Boom for a musically styled night of fashion and frivolity. See rare screenings of some of McQueen’s most iconic runway collections, with a line-up of unmissable bands providing the backing track in the Great Hall. The party kicks off from 6-10pm, Friday nights, until 14 April. 


Shakespeare's classic novel gets a modern musical makeover in & Juliet. Image: Supplied.

& Juliet 

& Juliet is a musical comedy that premiered in Manchester in 2019 before moving to the West End in London and, now Melbourne. The critically acclaimed, award-winning musical – from one of the writers of cult Netflix comedy Schitt’s Creek - tells the story of what might have happened if Juliet didn't die at the end of Shakespeare's fabled novel. The stage play also features pop songs from some of the 00s biggest artists, including Brittney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson. 

Grounded by Parrtjima

If seeing the Red Centre’s stunning Festival of Light installation has long been on your bucket list, you’re in luck. For two nights only, Parrtjima, the only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind in the world, will illuminate Melbourne’s Federation Square, transforming the iconic public plaza into an immersive Indigenous artwork. It’s the first time the interactive installation has been presented outside of the Northern Territory. It’s on from 10 to 11 March from 8-11pm. 

Carlton Aperitivo Tour

Get into the spritz with a walking aperitivo tour in Carlton. Inspired by La Passeggiata tradition in Italy – where residents enjoy an evening stroll before dinner - you’ll learn how to master the art of aperitivo while sipping on delicious Italian cocktails, prosecco and wines, and enjoying some of Lygon Street’s best arancini, cicchetti, pizza, pasta, gelato, salumi and cheese. The tantalising tour includes four stops and takes place on Friday nights until 5 May. 

Holi Festival

Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in India and other parts of the world. It is also known as the ‘Festival of Colours' or the 'Festival of Love’. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring (on the other side of the globe) and encourages participants to throw brightly coloured powders and water at each other, dance, and share traditional sweets. For two days, the free colourful festival will light up the Docklands with music, dance, food, drink and, of course, colour. From midday, 11- 12 March. 

Djaara lights festival in Bendigo

Djaara light installation illuminates Bendigo. Image: Supplied.

What's on in regional Victoria over the Labour Day long weekend

Peninsula Piers and Pinots 

Get ready for a fun-filled, wine-soaked day on the Peninsula. Piers and Pinot returns to Flinders foreshore on March 12, bringing together some of the region's premier wineries, local cheesemongers, and seafood vendors to offer unique tasting experiences on the picturesque piers of the peninsula.

The event also features live music and entertainment, making it a must-visit for food and wine lovers. Tickets cost $50 and include tastings of more than 40 wines, as well as free Riedel tasting glass. 

Ballarat Begonia Festival  

The Ballarat Begonia festival will be in full bloom over the Labour Day long weekend. The annual event is a celebration of the stunning flower, with thousands of beautiful blossoms showcasing Ballarat’s colourful collection of more than 500 varieties; the rarest in the southern hemisphere. 

Festivalgoers can expect vibrant floral displays, markets, live music, family activities, roving entertainment and more. Head to the Begonia Bar for a toastie and a drink from Kilderkin Distillery then enjoy live and local DJ sets in the sunshine.  

Djaara Lights, Bendigo 

Experience the six seasons of the Dja Dja Wurrung on Djandak, as one of Bendigo's most unique and cultural activation experiences lights up the region. 

Djaara Lights, an installation by Troy Firebrace and Drew Berick, highlights Dja Dja Wurrung culture in the Bendigo region by combining the display of artwork and augmented reality experiences. Until 19 March.

Thorpdale Potato Festival

Forget wine festivals, you'll be dropping it like it's hot (potato) on March 12 at West Gippsland's iconic spud-tacular. The Thorpdale Potato Festival, which is held in the fertile soils of the Strzelecki Ranges, brings together potato enthusiasts from all corners of the state for the ultimate mash-up of food, farming and, of course, fun.

There'll be potato picking, stacking, throwing and eating, as well as woodchopping, sheepdog trials, sheep shearing demonstrations, and more than 60 food and market stalls selling the region's best food and handmade goods.

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