melbourne | white night 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The sun sets, the roads close, and the city stirs in excitement. Anticipation builds up in the atmosphere as the sky settles into dusk. Police guards stand at every rail, rows of food trucks prepare their best delicacies, neon lights and LEDs start to decorate the busy streets. White Night; an evening of wonder and amaze, successfully captivating the people of Melbourne each year.

white night (n.) = a sleepless night; a night that is never properly dark.
2018 marks the sixth year of Melbourne's White Night, an annual event featuring many different light shows and performances, taking place in the heart of the city and all around it. Because of this, Melbourne, a city that is always brimming with energy, became 8x more alive last Saturday night, as  the stages and lights set the scene all across the city. 

Some selfies before the night began bc hey if there is still good lighting at 6 PM you might as well make use of it.

how i spent it

After meeting up, my friends and I headed to the Melbourne Museum, as the program booklet implied that this should be our starting point. Sadly, we didn't really explore the insides of the museum that night because it was filling up with all the tourists and families you can imagine.

But outside the museum, one of the first things we saw in was the Serpent Mother, a giant kinetic sculpture that resembled a scaly snake protecting its egg. It was this sturdy, magnificent steel work that would spew flames into the air at certain time periods, usually followed by some "ooooh" exclamations from the dazzled audience. It wasn't a grand opening to the night, but I still commend the artists for putting together such a (literally) heavy-loaded masterpiece.

The first thing that really amazed me was the light effects projected onto the Royal Exhibition Building, right in the middle of Carlton Gardens. The presentation began every several minutes,  and  we managed to sit just close enough to be captivated by all the changing colors and shifting shapes being showcased on the building's pillars and windows. Not only did it feel like a spectacular art show, but they also made it in such a way that didn't make us feel dizzy even from watching the full scope.

The rest of the park was unsurprisingly crowded. Walking away, we passed by what looked like lit up bouncing castles and balloon animals located at the center of the Carlton Gardens. Phantasmagoria, which was the name of the exhibit, was fully occupied with kids having fun and adults taking photos.

We made our way to Russell Street, one of the large roads in the city also blocked for the event. Once we arrived, we witnessed the long row of food trucks and stalls offering dozens of types of food to choose from. Confronted with so many choices, my friends and I opted for these plates of (oversized) churros and chips to share. 

There were swarms of people from all different directions. Enjoying food, laughing with drinks, talking away, or simply waiting in line, it was a setting that was easy to be immersed in. And because this is Melbourne we're talking about, the food scene was definitely just as lively as the rest of the evening as well.

After getting our street food fix, we strolled through Swanston Street (or rather, attempted to swim past the ocean of people) and encountered multiple performers doing different numbers on some of the balconies and verandahs along the roads. 

Music was playing constantly, yet no sound seemed to clash into each other at all. As you walk, the tune and songs would shift from one musician to another seamlessly, as if their sound waves knew to respect each other's boundaries.

Classical music quartets, emo bands, street DJs, solo pianists, burlesque dancers, and opera singers (dazzling audiences from center stage of the lit up Town Hall balcony, pictured below) are only some of the artists I can mention. Sure enough, each dance and song made the night even more dynamic and enjoyable.

what i missed

There were still plenty of sites and attractions we hadn't seen at that time, but as midnight grew nearer, the antisocial introvert inside of me felt the urge to finally head back home. The city was growing more and more crowded by the minute, and the night scene became so increasingly thicker, that after seeing a performer, I decided to finally say farewell to my friends and walk back to my apartment for some much needed solitude and comfort after a long night.

Truthfully, I was also pretty bummed out that I didn't get to go inside the Victoria State Library, showcasing The Secret Life of Books, simply because the line was way too long (probably three times longer than a typical Disneyland ride.) I had been excited to see it but unfortunately, I only caught a glimpse of what the library was like from the outside.

I didn't expect the city to be so overloaded with people on this special night, and if it weren't, I would've gone to the countless other exhibits and locations like Yarra River, Federation Square, Flinders Station, and many other sites in the city I would've normally passed.

Victoria State Library; day vs night

why you should experience it

Nevertheless, I still think White Night was quite the unforgettable occasion. It's certainly not everyday you get to experience walking all around the city with a new attraction at every corner to catch your attention. (Also, that freedom to walk on tram lines and laneways was actually pretty liberating.)

Aside from the massive number of people, you get to enjoy some great food and music, and you could find and witness just about any fascinating installation that you can think of. Most of the exhibits were very well-executed, and they showcase a perfect fusion of art and technology, both fields that Melbourne seems to excel at. 

If you live in Melbourne (or are planning to visit in the near future), I would definitely recommend saving the date and adding this annual activity to your list. It happens yearly, and is held from 7 PM to 7 AM, so you literally get the entire night; twelve whole hours to explore as much as you can (perfect for you night owls out there!) You can see a full, more detailed look of the program highlights from last Saturday here. If you live outside the city or anywhere else in the Victoria region, White Night is still happening in three other areas this year. For that, you can check out the different webpages here.


Overall, I had a grand time. It wouldn't have been so grand, of course, without the company of my good friends. Even only for several hours, they made the experience of exploring (and eating, and singing, and dancing) way more fun.

I hope you enjoyed these little snippets of my February 17th evening. Alternatively, you might've had a clearer idea of what it was like if you tapped through my Instagram story updates from the event. Not a follower? No worries! But you can feel free to stop by to make sure you don't miss out on any other stories, content, or experiences that I'll be sharing.

Lastly, I know I haven't been writing. 
I have my reasons, all of which I might or might not decide to talk about. But rest assured, I am trying my best. I sit in front of my laptop everyday in the hopes that I'll start writing/creating as much as I used to again, but I think it's taking a little more time than I expected to fall back into it.

I don't want to stop trying, though. At least not yet.
Perhaps not ever.

See you around!

1 comment

  1. These pictures are insane!


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