Originally published on Concrete Playground in partnership with Mazda.
Seven days of unconventional activities to change your routine.
When your nine-to-five plays out like a well-oiled machine, it can sometimes feel like each week is a little same-same. But Melbourne is brimming with a fine bounty of things to experience and explore each and every day. So aside from casual laziness and a little lack of inspiration, there’s really nothing stopping you from squeezing some adventure and spontaneity into your schedule.
We’ve teamed up with Mazda3 to celebrate the landmark 40th anniversary of their iconic small cars, and in turn, help you celebrate the little things that bring that sense of adventure to life. Shake things up, as we give you seven different detours to take each week in Melbourne. From Monday to Sunday, enrich your everyday with one completely achievable activity that inspires you to take the scenic route as you go about your daily routine.
This week, glide along a pop-up ice skating rink, attend an international TV festival and smash stuff with a bat as a means to de-stress. Plus, we’ve got your future detours sorted for the new few weeks here.
All require no more effort than a tiny break from the norm — what’s your excuse for not trying them all?
MONDAY – ETHIOPIAN EATS IN FOOTSCRAY
While Melburnians are quite proud of our diverse cuisine offerings, Ethiopian food is severely underrepresented throughout the city. Footscray, however, champions this distinctive cuisine at casual dining restaurants, including Addis Abeba, Awash and Abesha. After a meal of injera (flatbread), azifa (green lentil salad) and sambusa (fried pastry often filled with meat), wash it all down with a beer at The Reverence Hotel. At this Footscray institution, local beers like Two Birds and Coopers & Stone are championed, providing the perfect lubrication for one of their weekly gigs, or a laidback night with friends over a round of billiards.
TUESDAY – A RUN AND EARLY DINNER ON THE TAN
Bordering Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens lies The Tan, a 3.8-kilometre track surrounded by some of the city’s greatest landmarks. Finish your day with a run or walk — or a mix of both, we don’t judge — around the track, where you’ll pass sites including the Shrine of Remembrance, AAMI Park and the Swan Street Bridge, which gives way to a stunning view of the CBD on a clear day. The Anderson Street incline busts quite a few calories, so you can afford to treat yourself after your exercise session. Post-light exercise session, hop over to Jardin Tan, Shannon Bennet’s vibrant Vietnamese-inspired eatery for an early dinner — it’s right in the middle of the Botanic Gardens, so plan your route accordingly.
WEDNESDAY – RIVER RINK IN FEDERATION SQUARE
Winter isn’t usually the most fun time to be outdoors in Melbourne. Sure, it’s nice when the local pub starts serving mulled wine in the beer garden, but when your favourite activities include sunny brunches, outdoor cinemas and going to the beach, grey skies and arctic winds are not your friends. But we’ve found at least one reason to celebrate the chilly weather: a pop-up ice skating rink right in the middle of Fed Square.
Located on River Terrace overlooking the Yarra, River Rink will be lit up in a multitude of colours until 8pm today. And for those of you without much skating experience or general coordination, you can hire a plastic penguin and/or seal along with your skates — which essentially serves as ice skating training wheels. Full disclosure though: you’re probably still going to wake up the next day covered in bruises.
THURSDAY – SERIES MANIA
There really is a festival for everything, and now, at Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image, that includes television. Not content to let film monopolise the big screen fest space, ACMI is playing host to the world’s biggest TV festival, with Australia’s first Series Mania. With a name that could also describe humanity’s reaction each and every time a new season of a TV show hits a streaming platform, Series Mania starts today, bringing five days of television-focused fun. Expect more than 40 screenings of premiere seasons of some of the best new drama, narrative comedy and web-based series from around the world. Workshops, panel discussions, masterclasses and Q&A sessions are also on the agenda, with the fest catering for both industry and the public. Get ready for an epic binge session, but out of the house and not in your pyjamas. Plus, Series Mania is completely free.
FRIDAY – A SMASH SESSION AT THE BREAK ROOM
Some people unwind through meditation, others work it out at the gym. But if you’re looking for something to shake things up, turn to The Break Room. It provides one of the most unique experiences in Melbourne, and lets you take out your stress on crockery, and not the people you love. To put it simply, you’re put in a room and given a helmet, a bat and the opportunity to break whatever you want. Sure, you could do this in your own home, but imagine the clean-up. No thanks. A session at The Break Room may be just what you need at the end of a frantic week.
SATURDAY – BATMAN NIGHT MARKET
Delicious food, hand-crafted goods and some of the best fresh produce in town, The Batman Night Market is definitely a go-to. Located right next to Batman Railway Station, the market features dozens of regular traders. Food-wise you can feast on a variety of multicultural cuisines, plus crepes, gelato and other sweet treats for dessert. If you prefer to cook at home, you can also pick up a load of fruit and veggies, meat and poultry, cheese, baked goods and more. Local makers, meanwhile, will be selling art, cosmetics and boutique fashion accessories. Head over to shake up your Saturday with some eats, treats and good times.
SUNDAY – AN AIRSTREAM STAYCATION AT NOTEL
When you need a holiday, but don’t have the time, look to a staycation to get your relax on. Don’t spend a night in any old hotel though, spend it in a Notel, the trailer park, boutique hotel hybrid. The speakeasy-style hotel hides atop a multi-storey car park on Flinders Lane, featuring six airstream trailers with a playful, spaceship-meets-vintage-campervan aesthetic. Brain behind the hotel, entrepreneur James Fry sought to create a space that didn’t yet exist in Melbourne, so he hired architects Edwards Moore to execute his vision. Each fit-out features a bed, mini bar and ensuite with proper plumbing — plus one trailer, the ‘Airstream with Benefits’, even has it’s own private, outdoor spa complete with hot pink underwater lighting.