I spent last weekend in Melbourne, helping at the Travel Expo and doing a bit of diving. On Friday night we visited Southbank looking for dinner, and checked out the local Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations.
Lunar New Year Characters
We made our way up from the Convention Centre where the annual Travel Expo resides, which is at the Casino end of Melbourne’s Southbank. There were many Asian street food style vendors in this area, selling grilled satay sticks that smelled amazing as well as a variety of other Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean foods.
Our plan was to eat in one of the upmarket restaurants that line the walkway next to the Yarra River, but with the teaming crowds many of them were looking pretty full, so we kept walking towards Flinders Street Station.
Lunar New Year Food Stall
A number of topical decorations had been placed along the way, including lit Chinese character arches featuring Red Monkeys and statues featuring all of the zodiac animals, with the years they applied to and their main character traits. They were a big hit with many people taking pictures with their year’s symbol.
Other attractions included a lit wishing tree, where you could write your new years wish on a tag and hang it from a branch, and a number of shows and presentations, which intermingled with the normal buskers and juggling acts.
Lunar New Year Decorations
Although it was a little busy for my liking, we enjoyed the well laid out festival and would recommend visiting at night time when everything is lit up. I believe Melbourne puts on this festival every year and I think they do a really good job, though it’s hard to go wrong when you have such a great stretch real estate such as Southbank to work with.
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