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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Melbourne's Best Ice Rinks (and Slides) to Spin and Skate Around This Winter

The time for ice skating and basking in the wintry weather is here.
By Concrete Playground
June 20, 2019
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Melbourne's Best Ice Rinks (and Slides) to Spin and Skate Around This Winter

The time for ice skating and basking in the wintry weather is here.
By Concrete Playground
June 20, 2019
  shares

MELBOURNE'S BEST ICE RINKS (AND SLIDES) TO SPIN AND SKATE AROUND THIS WINTER

The time for ice skating and basking in the wintry weather is here.

Due to the chilly weather, there are only some activities you truly feel like doing during the winter months. While cosying up by a fireplace and eating hot cheese are two of them, one involves actually going outside: ice skating. And this year Melbourne has three top-notch ice skating rinks you can practise your best Nancy Kerrigan moves on (as well as one a road trip away).

If you don't think you're quite coordinated enough to imitate Kerrigan, fear not — we've got an ice activity for you, too. A giant ice slide has also popped up in Melbourne.

So don your warmest winter woollies, grab your bestie, date or fam, and head to your closest ice pop-up — or jump in a car, bus or train and visit all three. You'll find them by the beach, in regional centres and in the middle of the city, decked out with stalls serving up mulled wine and cheese toasties, and alongside pop-up igloos and giant ice slides.

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    This winter, Melbourne’s Federation Square will transform into a magical wonderland to celebrating the chilly season for all its frosty glory; meaning one of Australia’s cooler cities is about to get even more so. From May until August, Skyline Terrace at Federation Square (aka the top of the carpark) will host The Winter Village — a pop-up modelled on your typically picturesque European winter market. With an ice rink, an igloo village, a mega igloo dining hall (where it snows inside on the hour), city views, and plenty of faux snow, it’ll be a quaint wintery escape in the very heart of Melbourne. Dust off those skates and hit the ice, hire a private igloo where you can wine and dine in cosy solace or get festive listening to local DJs, bar-hop at the pop ups or dine inside the mega igloo where you can feast on pizza, grazing boxes and “the best fried cheese sandwich in Melbourne”. There’ll be espresso martinis on tap, too. The frozen oasis will be open daily and free to enter, although ice skating, igloo hire and a couple of winter warming bevs will come at a cost.

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    Ice skating is one of those idyllic winter time activities that goes hand in hand with hot chocolates, sitting around a fireplace, and rugging up in coats, gloves and scarves until you’re feeling like a big walking ball of wool. With all of that in mind, you can hit a ten on the winter feels scale these cold months with Winter Fest, a fiesta of coldness coming to Moonee Valley in June. First up, take a spin on the Moonee Ponds ice skating rink, which runs from June 29 to July 14. It’ll be open from 10am–8pm daily and bookings are necessary, and each session will run for 45 minutes — and when you leave the ring, you’ll feel like an ice dancer ready for the 2022 Winter Olympics. There’s a whole host more on offer too, like a giant ice slide in Essendon North from July 6–13, free knitting workshops, a moving five-course winter feast on July 10 and a pop-up after-dark light show. Bright Lights Winter Nights will takeover Pridham Plaza from July 5–7 with nightly neon art installations, fire twirlers and roving performers. There’ll also be a coinciding winter marketplace, so you can explore the art with a hot chocolate or jam doughnut in hand.

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    Skating At Festival St Kilda 2019

    Melbourne winters mightn’t be known for their ice and snow (just yet, anyway), but that doesn’t mean you can’t slide across a frozen surface in the centre of the city. From June 21 to July 14, the corner of Acland and Barkly streets will become a winter wonderland thanks to the return of the Skating At St Kilda Festival.

    With the event back for another year, all of the frosty fabulousness Melburnians know and love is back, too: ice skating, obviously, but also music, food and more. It’s the next best thing to heading to Europe when Melbourne’s at its iciest.

    Entry to the area is free, but you’ll have to pay for all of the fun stuff, with the fest open from 10am–9pm Monday to Sunday. The lineup of events includes not only regular ice skating, but a romance-themed ‘date and skate’ night each Tuesday, plus a 90s and 00s-themed ‘Ice Ice Baby’ disco evening every Thursday.

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    Ballarat Winter Festival 2019

    If you’re looking to escape Melbourne’s grisly winter weather, even for a weekend, Ballarat might be just the place to do it. The regional town is dialling up the heat with a road trip-worthy winter program, stuffed full of cosy eats, activities and entertainment. The Ballarat Winter Festival descends on the region from Saturday, June 29, till Sunday, July 21, promising to pull you right out of hibernation mode.

    Kids big and little will be able to throw down moves on the pop-up ice-skating rink, which lands beside Ballarat Town Hall for the festival’s duration. All skill levels are allowed to hit the ice, with bookable one-hour skate sessions. On June 29 and 30 and July 13 and 14, jump into the future at the Winteractive Arcade augmented reality exhibition. As well as checking out the latest and greatest tech gadgets, you’ll have the chance to battle mates in a massive multiplayer game of Snake, a virtual reality drone racing game, or some old-school arcade favourites.

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    The District Ice Slide

    While Melbourne isn’t known for its inner-city snow, there are plenty of ways you can embrace the wintry weather this year. You can spin around a pop-up ice skating rink, eat chocolate fondue inside ‘igloos’ and, now, go zooming down a giant ice slide. The District Docklands will once again play host to a 15-metre ice slide over the cooler months, which will pop up in The Square next to Uniqlo from June 29 till July 14. Each slide down the icy slope will cost you a gold coin donation, which will go straight to Kids Under Cover, a non-profit supporting young people at risk.

    As you’re sliding for a good cause, you have a great excuse to go down again and again and again — your inner child will thank you for it. The ice slide is open daily from 11am–5pm, but there are two adults-only, after-dark sessions lined up, too. On Friday, July 5 and Friday, July 12, the pop-up will open from 6–8pm for sliding free of little ‘uns. During these two hours, you’ll also be able to buy hot chocolates, beers from Urban Alley and try free Spanish doughnuts from San Churro.

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Top image: Moonee Valley ice rink.

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