Posted: 29 Oct 2014

5 of the best ways to have fun on Melbourne Cup weekend

The invite to that swanky Birdcage marquee must still be in the mail, so here are some other ways to enjoy our city’s favourite unofficial long weekend around the Melbourne Cup public holiday.

1. Toast to the Coast

Toast to the Coast wine festival GeelongGeelong’s own wine festival, November 1 & 2

Celebrating the wine, food and music of the Bellarine Peninsula, Moorabool Valley and Surf Coast, Toast to the Coast is a perfect way to discover (or rediscover) this amazing region. A $40 weekend pass includes a $10 commemorative Geelong Wine glass, entry to dozens of vineyards and a passport to free wine tastings on November 1 and 2. Shuttle bus tickets ($25) deliver you to all the action without worrying about the booze bus.

The Village Festival2. The Village Festival

Edinburgh Gardens, Brunswick St, North Fitzroy, October 30 to November 2

Taking over the Edinburgh Gardens, the annual Village Festival is a crazy combination of theatre, sideshows, film, circus and music, but this year features a new event – Sunday’s Long Table Lunch. Castlemaine chef Nikki Valentini (Growing Abundance, CAKE) will cook organic, hand-picked food into a delicious spread ($30, or $15 for kids), including a main course plus shared dishes, a drink from The Village Bar and a dessert. The ticket price also covers a hat/fascinator workshop.

3. Tasty dinner under $30

Restaurants across Melbourne, November 1-30

The Age Good Food Month kicks off on Saturday, featuring big stars like Yotam Ottolenghi and Alice Waters. The hottest events are mostly sold out, but there are still all sorts of tasty activities. For the best value, check out the Under $30 Guide dinners, serving up a two-course meal for $30 or under (so long as there are two or more people). One of the best deals can be found at DOC (Carlton, Albert Park and Mornington, starting with salumi and mozzarella, moving on to a special DOC pizza and something sweet to finish.

4. Melbourne Cup Day at The Langham

Melba Restaurant at The Langham, 1 Southgate Ave, Southbank, 1800 641 107

Who needs all those crowds, fickle weather and sore feet? The Langham Hotel is coming to the rescue with a luscious lunch in the Melba Restaurant. Sit back in your big comfy chair and eye off the food stations. You might choose oysters, king prawns, blue swimmer crab or Moreton Bay Bugs, followed by five-spiced duck pancakes and cider/honey lamb roast. It’s always a trap though. You pile up your plate with all those delicious savoury dishes and forget to leave enough room to try the Baileys chocolate fountain, strawberry & cream macarons, apple crumble, tiramisu eclairs, champagne cupcakes and the cheeseboard. Don’t worry. You’ve got more than three hours to enjoy the spread. The afternoon will be hosted by media personality Gorgi Coghlan, who’ll be handing out prizes for best dressed and best hat. Tickets cost $125.

5. Munich Brauhaus

45 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf, 1300 686 424 

Octoberfest may be done and dusted for another year, but the party doesn’t stop at the Munich Brauhaus – especially on Melbourne Cup Day. Expect big screens, big biers, big fashion and a big party into the night. Book ahead for the three-course Cup Day Lunch ($75/head), which includes fizz or bier. Live music will keep the party going into the night.

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