Posted in City activities, Melbourne

Moomba festival

It’s late summer here in Australia, which means it’s festival season. And Melbourne is no exception.

A few weeks ago, there was White Night, and this weekend it’s Moomba.

Moomba is a family festival in the heart of the city, starting Friday night and lasting the entire long Labour Day weekend. There’s lots to see and lots to do, so we decided to give it a go.

Crossing the Princess Bridge gives you an overview of the action happening below.
Crossing the Princess Bridge gives you an overview of the action happening below.
But getting there was another matter, as we were not the only ones making our way across the bridge.
But getting there was another matter, as we were not the only ones making our way across.
A large part of the area is given over to carnival rides. The north shore of the river is dominated by the very high machines.
A large part of the area is given over to carnival rides. The north shore of the river is dominated by the very high machines.
On the south bank, people are awaiting the next rider for the water ski event.
On the south bank, people are awaiting the next rider for the water ski event.

The festival is centered around families and children, with lots of tents with activities for the little ones. There was face-painting, arts and crafts, a play-tent and a few other things. There was a scooter competition set for the skate park. And there was ongoing entertainment in the big circus tent and from the main stage. All of this are free activities, which is the big incentive to draw the crowds.

The schedule looks very impressive, and if you’re lucky / early enough to get into the activities, they are a lot of fun.

At the entrance, there was a couple of train conductors, educating children (and adults alike) on the wildlife found in Australia.
At the entrance, there was a couple of train conductors, handing out small card with animals on them an educating children (and adults alike) on the wildlife found in Australia.
Everything is very organised, with a large group of helpers doing all sorts of stuff.
Everything is very well organised, with a large group of helpers doing all sorts of stuff. This one was handing out free maps and schedules.

However, the main focus, to me, were the carnival rides and the food tents, both of which there were many. And with prices starting from AU$ 10 for a hot-dog and AU$ 9 for a ride, this festival can get real expensive in a hurry.

The variety of the food on offer was large. As were the lines in front of the tents.
The variety of the food on offer was large. As were the lines in front of the tents.

Overall, I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed with the festival. What was marketed as a family affair turned out to be a big carnival with a side show of kids activities, average food and expensive entertainment. It was hot, crowded and noisy. There was just no special atmosphere.

In the end, we stayed mostly around the skate park, watching the kids do their thing. But even here, it was too full for Kai to skate himself.

Maybe, after the fun we had at White Night, I was just expecting the wrong thing. Maybe I am just not a carnival person. But I doubt that we will be coming back here next year.

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