Melbourne native and housesitter Jill Shelton shares her favourite things to do while house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas. In this article she tells us about what she loves and appreciates, and shares some of the best experiences from her house sitting jobs at Christmas in the lovely city of Melbourne. Read on to get the inside track on Melbourne in the holidays.
House Sitting in Melbourne at Christmas!
By Jill Shelton
There is a standard joke about Melbourne weather: You can typically experience all 4 seasons in one day. However I know from experience that summer is the best season, and that is why I choose house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas! During these warm sunny days, there is a great festive atmosphere as the city and suburbs go big on Christmas lights and decorations and activities.
I grew up in Melbourne but moved to Queensland 15 years ago. Now when I return, I enjoy spending time in different areas, and have found a great variety of opportunities through house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas. As it is peak holiday season, house sitting is in high demand, so it’s one of the best times to find a house sit.
My two favourite experiences house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas were a house sit in the heart of the city and another near the beach in St Kilda. They both provided opportunities to visit some of Melbourne’s highlights. Plus, we were able to take the dogs we looked after to many of these places!
Things to do while house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas
One of the most popular things to do at Christmas is visit the Myer Department Store windows. In a tradition that started back in 1956, the shop front windows are decorated to tell a story. Moving figures and music entertain both children and adults, and the windows have become an institution of Melbourne Christmas.
While in the city, visit the Crown Casino to see the Christmas display in the foyer and watch their Christmas light show. Enjoy a huge variety of foods in one of the beautiful restaurants and cafes in the casino complex, while taking in the view of the Yarra River.
It is worth taking the time to stroll along the Yarra River and into the surrounding parks.
Love watching sports?
Opposite the Crown Casino, on the city-side of the river, is Federation Square, a modern piazza that has become the city centre’s public square. It’s now a venue for arts, culture and public events, and boasts an array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores.
It’s a very popular place to watch major sporting events.
Don’t miss the Australian Open if you love tennis
If your stay in Melbourne extends through January, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the Australian Open, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world that kicks off the Grand Slam season. My sister and I used to attend every year, until I moved to Queensland. Even if you’re not a huge tennis fan, it’s a great venue and an exciting event to experience.
Catch a cruise for the best view of the New Year Fireworks
The southern end of Melbourne’s city centre borders the Yarra River. I highly recommend taking a river cruise to enjoy Melbourne from a different perspective, as well as getting fantastic views of the city skyline and landmarks.
While you are house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas, a river cruise is the best location to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks, which are displayed along the river and off the top of city buildings.
The Queen Victoria Market is a Melbourne icon that offers fresh produce, artisanal products, clothing, shoes, bags and a wide variety of international food. I have fond memories of my mum taking me to this market and enjoying their famous dim sims and donuts.
The botanical gardens are a must
Take a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, which also border the Yarra River. Here you can take a leisurely walk through beautifully landscaped gardens, enjoy a picnic or take a serene cruise around the islands of the picturesque Ornamental Lake. They also have a cafe with great coffee and scones.
If you’re house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas, plan ahead and treat yourself to tickets to Carols by Candlelight, a Christmas Eve tradition where some of Australia’s most popular stars and choirs perform favourite carols.
You will need to buy your tickets in October, as it’s a very popular event and sells out quickly. It is held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl right next to the Botanic Gardens.
You’re surrounded by art in Melbourne
Across the road from the gardens is the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art museum. It houses an extensive collection of Australian and international art.
Another type of art you can enjoy is the street art in Melbourne’s Laneways. While you are house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas (or any time!), you can explore Hosier Lane, Degraves Street and ACDC Lane to discover the city’s artistic side.
St Kilda’s beach never disappoints
Just a short tram ride from the city is a very popular Melbourne beach. Head to St Kilda Beach for a day of sun, surf and relaxation. Off St Kilda Pier you might see the little penguin colony at sunset. There are also some wonderful restaurants along the beach front.
Buddy enjoyed spending time at St Kilda Beach dog off-leash area after we had our morning coffee at the beach side cafe.
Whether you’re interested in art, food, sports, entertainment or outdoor activities, Melbourne has something for everyone to enjoy, especially if you are lucky enough to be house sitting in Melbourne at Christmas!
Jill Shelton has been house sitting and pet sitting with her partner Gavin for 12 years, giving her the opportunity to travel all around her home country of Australia and to experience many international destinations.
Her love of animals also led her to volunteering in South Africa caring for lions and tigers.
In addition to international house sitting, Jill has walked 2 Caminos – The Via Francigena from Switzerland to Rome, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. You can find out more about these adventures on her website: jillgavhousesitters.com.
Want to try housesitting?
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What is house sitting?
House sitting is a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parties – most usually taking place between a homeowner and a house-sitter – enabling the owner to leave their property and pets in the care of the sitter for an agreed period of time.
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FURTHER READING ON PETS AND FINDING HOUSE SITTERS