Hugging the tip of the Australian east coast, Victoria is Australia's second-smallest state. Packed into the area is a wealth of diverse regional areas and attractions, from sweeping coastline and pristine beaches to national parks and forests teeming with wildlife to wineries, lakes and mountains offering skiing, climbing and hiking. Despite its size Victoria has a varied climate across the state, and is notorious for its ever changing weather; where four seasons can be experienced in one day.
Victoria's capital, Melbourne, sits on the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Acclaimed for its sense of style and elegance, Melbourne boasts glamorous festivals and events; including several of Australia’s best gay and lesbian community events. Melbourne is also home to some of Australia's best shopping, a lively passion for eating and drinking, and a flourishing interest in the arts. Restored and preserved nineteenth-century architecture, built following the discovery of gold, provides a heady reminder of a prosperous age, while beautifully tended parks and gardens present a therapeutic respite from the pace of city life.
Melbourne and Victoria host some of Australia's most prestigious events throughout the year, including the Spring Racing Carnival culminating in the Melbourne Cup in November, the Australian Open Tennis Championships in January, the Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix in March, the Melbourne International Arts Festival in October, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in March and April. Melbourne's gay community really cranks up for its city festivals with thousands joining in the over-the-top street parties, overflowing clubs, a pride march, and a carnival. Hotels get booked up in advance so it's best to make reservations weeks before.
Home to Australia’s only full time gay radio broadcaster JOY 94.9, there’s no doubt that Melbourne is the gay capital of Australia. The Midsumma Festival (January) is Melbourne’s gay festival with a huge range of events that overtake the city. Melbourne’s Pride March , usually happens as part of Midsumma and is the city’s big pride event.
St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street is closed off as community groups and organizations march down the street for the event that includes a huge beach party on St Kilda Beach. Chill Out (March) is Australia’s biggest queer rural festival and takes over the stunning Daylesford area. Following that is the amazing Melbourne Queer Film Festival , which is one of the top five gay film festivals in the world.
In June Melbourne is host to ‘Hibernation’ which is one of the biggest bear celebrations in the southern hemisphere, and the home of the unmissable Mr Australasia Bear Competition and as a week of great sexy bear events, and the internationally renowned Men On Mem art competition. AWOL or ‘A Week Of Leather’ (August – September) is a brilliant mini festival celebrating Leather and Fetish instigated by the friendly and welcoming men only bar, the Laird Hotel.
It includes the notorious Code Black Party, fetish workshops and exhibition and performance events. Finally there’s Melbourne Leather Pride (November) a celebration bringing together the Leather and Fetish community for two weeks of diverse events including the hugely popular Mr Australia and New Zealand Leather Competition, plus a stack of great parties, exhibitions, workshops and even a fetish expo.
Melbourne boasts a diverse and rich gay scene that is bound to entertain and intrigue you, regardless of what your interest or bent is. Basically the city is divided into two gay centres, Northside (Abbotsford, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Northcote, Brunswick) and Southside (Windsor, Prahran, South Yarra, Richmond, South Melbourne) divided by the Yarra River. Check out our write up for both areas under ‘Play’….