Sunday, February 22, 2015

White Night Melbourne

Yesterday was Melbourne's White Night festival, essentially a collection of dance, music, and art exhibits throughout the city. The festival started at 7 pm and continued all night until 7 am this morning. Peter, my mom and I headed downtown around 7:30 pm to check it out. Here is my mom waiting for the train in South Yarra: 
It was ungodly hot yesterday, so even after the sun set the temperature still hovered around 90 degrees. I don't think that deterred many people though, as the streets were packed. For my Minnesota readers, it was like the state fair and then some. 
Crowds are pretty much my least favorite thing ever, so we headed straight to the somewhat-less-crowded river area. My mom and I took a selfie while waiting for the first performance to start:
As the sun started to set these huge inflatable lilly pads lit up in various changing colors: 
This particular exhibit was Indian themed, complete with Bollywood dancers performing on a floating stage: 
Close up of the dancers on the stage. A boat pulled them up and down the river as they performed- I was morbidly rooting for someone to fall off to add a bit of drama to the performance, but no such luck.  

We then headed toward the Wonderland exhibit on Flinders Street across from Federation Square. There were colorful animated projections on each of the buildings:
St. Paul's Cathedral was the highlight of the night. It was illuminated in all kinds of colorful designs accented by organ music. The whole thing was somewhat eerie and gothic but really awesome! The line to get in was long and it was extremely hot inside but totally worth it. 
Looking toward the back of the church 
The organ 
The front of the church 
As we were exiting, the colors on the ceiling changed to green 
Leaving the church, I got a good view of the crowd in front of Flinders Street Station. Apparently last year the station was lit up and I was kind of disappointed they didn't do it again this year! We kept walking until we got to Brunetti and stopped for some dessert. We then continued down to the Bourke Street Mall where there were independent films playing in the street, complete with couches. 
We circled back around to the side of Flinders Street Station, where there were some Frozen (I think?) projections on the side. Sorry if I incorrectly identified the animation here...I pretty much hate all things animated/cartoon and haven't seen any of these movies.
We decided to call it a night around 11 pm and headed into the station. We could only make it halfway up our platform, however, due to the crowds. It quickly became clear that we weren't going to make it onto the next train, or the one after that, so we headed over to our apartment to catch the tram back to South Yarra instead. We dropped my mom off around 1 am and then got back on the train to Flinders Street. The crowds had not dissipated and once the train stopped and the doors opened, tons of people came stampeding in so fast that we weren't able to get off the train! We got pushed back about 10 feet into the aisle. It was my worst nightmare coming to life. The train left before we could make our way through the crowd to the doors and we rode it 5 stops in the wrong direction before we were able to get off. So we finally got off, waited about 20 minutes, and then caught the next train back into the city. This time, we got off at the less-crowded Parliament Station on the east side of the CBD and walked home. By this time it was about 2 am and the crowds on Flinders Street had thinned out a bit. 
Aside from almost getting trampled while
attempting to exit the train, we had a really fun night and were glad we got to see the White Night festivities in action! 


  1. Oh man, that train situation gave me anxiety just reading about it.

    1. Ugh I know!! I'm somewhat claustrophobic so it was essentially my worst nightmare.

  2. That sounds like fun! I am not a big fan of crowds that big though. You for sure made memories though!

  3. So that was what it was like at the beginning of the night! I wondered. We took family visiting in town, but decided to go around 3:30 AM. It was brutal getting up at 2:45 in the morning, but there were hardly any crowds. We got to see the whole thing including the State Library with no lines and watched the sun rise over the Yarra. The downside is that there weren't as many live performances in the early hours, so we missed the bollywood dancing. What a cool event! -Molly

    1. I wondered if the crowds would die out later in the night! Sounds like you picked a good time to go, despite having to wake up in the middle of the night!



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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