The City Transformed: Melbourne White Night

Flinders Street Station as part of White Night Melbourne was lit up and provided the perfect entertainment stage

To sound cliched, it was truly a night to remember. 2013 welcomed Melbourne and Australia to the family of Nuit Blanche, that is the ‘White Night‘, a free arts and cultural event now hosted around the world, and coming to 23 countries this year.

Already known as the arts loving, theatre-going city, Melbourne transformed its everyday face as a city of business to being a theatre or a blank canvas for the night. The display it put on was something the city had never seen before, as over 300 artists performed across 40 venues from dusk (7pm) until dawn (7am); and best of all there was something for all ages.

From playing with ‘clouds’ and walking with dinosaurs at the NVG for the young or young at heart, to Jazz and ska band the Cat Empire putting a new spin on the Melburnian phrase “I’ll meet you under the clock”, as well as real-time street-art, and a homages to two of the cities identities – AFL and fashion. The World Famous Spiegeltent even made an appearance, alongside local film productions – the theatre a loading dock, and who can leave out the lights, lazers, and water fountains that blazed alongside – and sometimes in – the Yarra River.

I barely scratched of Melbourne’s White Night, but I will share with you my experience through the photos I took and hope you join me next year.

The word 'White' which was sitting on the Princes Bridge, St Kilda Road as part of White Night Melbourne used as live graffiti art

Live Street Art on illuminated letters ‘White Night’ – Princes Bridge

White Night Melbourne on the Princes Bridge, St Kilda Road getting graffitied and spray painted as part of White Night Melbourne

Spheres of Love were on display at White Night Melbourne, in the Yarra River, including this proposal to Clarissa

Spheres of Love where people could text their loved ones messages – Southbank/Yarra River

Flinders Street Station under a blanket of electric colours, was one of the main stages at Melbourne's White Night celebrations, with artists including the Cat Empire playing beneath the clocks

Turned into a stage and theatre for performers, including the Cat Empire – Flinders Street Station

Sitting on Tram lines during White Night Melbourne because Flinders Street was closed to cars

Enjoying the late night food from the street trucks and sitting on tram lines – Flinders Street

White Night Melbourne had a fashion theme as celebrities such as Miranda Kerr (show casing the David Jones line) and Dita Von Teese (showing her new underwear range) strutted their stuff down Flinders Lane... on a giant electronic billboard - a hommage to Melbourne's fashion culture

Models strutted their stuff on big screens, a homage to Melbourne’s fashion identity – Flinders Lane

White Night Melbourne had people in a blur of colour and lights in Flinders Lane

Buzzing with colour, light installations and people, Melbourne’s laneways came alive – Flinders Lane

White Night Melbourne deserted alley off of Flinders Lane

An empty laneway, beautiful in its serenity – off of Flinders Lane

Shoe lights in a lane way as part of Melbourne's White Night

Throwing shoes over telephone wires became beautiful as shoes were illuminated – off Flinders Lane

White Night Melbourne had an silhouette fantasy story - battle monsters and fall in love - all part of White Night Melbourne

Is this love or is it a fantasy? People played with silhouettes, battling monsters and finding love – City Square

White Night Melbourne Flinders Street florist

Melbourne’s city florist was open all night as well – Swanston Street

St Pauls cathedral pays homage to the religion of AFL - part of most Melbournians identities, part of White Night Melbourne

Paying homage to one of Melbourne’s top religions, AFL – St Paul’s Church/Flinders Lane

White Night Melbourne - Hosier Lane - Once Bitten Twice Shy street art / graffiti

Checking out the newest street art in Melbourne – Hosier Lane

The boat of faith at White Night Melbourne

White Night wasn’t just about lights and lazers, there were plenty of live theatre performances – Flinders Street

The Forum exterior facade lighting show, part of White Night Melbourne

The Forum was lit up in style – Flinders Street

Lighting show on the exterior facade of buildings near Federation Square, part of White Night Melbourne

Lighting made the buildings look like they had knitted fronts – Flinders Street

marionette puppet skeleton at the small pox theatre near Federation Square, part of White Night Melbourne

Small Pox Theatre provided miniature performances all night, including this singing/dancing skeleton marionette – Flinders Street

St Pauls Cathedral and annex were lit up in a lighting display, part of White Night Melbourne

 But the best lighting displays were hidden in the back streets – St Pauls/Flinders Street

Flinders Street Station was turned into a theatre and stage, giving new meaning to 'meet you under the clocks', part of White Night Melbourne

All whilst, a Melbourne icon continued to look amazing all night long – Flinders Street Station

Federation Square was the main hub of White Night Melbourne as people danced and relaxed throughout the night

Come 4am plenty of people were relaxing, though not asleep – Federation Square

White Night Melbourne - Federation Square hosted an all night dance party titled 'I could have danced all night long' which included hiphop at 4am

‘I Could Have Danced With You All Night Long’ was at its hiphop section – Federation Square

Part of White Night Melbourne, there was an all night dance party in Federation Square titled 'I could have danced all night long' which included hiphop at 4am in the morning - lucky the people loved it!

It seemed that the crowds loved to hiphop at 4:30am! – Federation Square

Crazy cat with long legs and Major Tom astronaut inflatable at Birrarung Marr, part of White Night Melbourne

Walking along the waterfront there were inflatables – Birrarung Marr

Crazy clown inflatable at Birrarung Marr, part of White Night Melbourne

Lazer lights and water show happened every half hour at birrarung marr, part of White Night Melbourne - sunrise

As the last light show of the night lit up the Yarra River, the city skyline it’s backdrop – Birrarung Marr

Sunrise over the Yarra River as White Night Melbourne came to an end

There comes a time when night must concede to the daylight, as 7am drew near – Birrarung Marr

White Night Melbourne sign on the Princes Bridge at sunrise, with glimpses of the Arts Centre Spire and Eureka Skytower

The ‘Night’ live canvas was completed just as the sun began to rise – Princes Bridge

Everlast held a boxing bootcamp in SouthBank as part of White Night Melbourne

If daybreak is more your thing, Everlast held a free boxing boot camp over the Yarra – South Bank Foot Bridge 

Have you been to a White Night/Nuit Blanche?

See other people’s White Night Melbourne experiences:

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  • Reply
    February 25, 2013 at 6:30 am

    You’ve just made me miss Melbourne even more! Looks like an amazing night and you’ve got some incredible photos!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for your lovely words, Monica. 🙂

      Hope you can come back to Melbourne soon – White Night or not – because I’m sure Melbourne misses you.!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Great shots … very nice. It was a fantastic event (unfortunately we only could stay for a few hours as it was way passed bedtime for little one). My favourite was the dance shows on Fed Square … have a look at the little video we did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okpGGh2cElE

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Cool video! Looks like you guys had lots of fun dancing the night away – and managed a good nights sleep in the end! 😉

  • Reply
    Beverley | Pack Your Passport
    February 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Oh I used to LOVE walking back the flower seller on Swanston St when I lived in Melbourne! Beautiful pictures as always Nic 🙂

    • Reply
      February 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      He’s something of an institution I think.

      Thank you for your kind comment, Beverley! =)

  • Reply
    February 26, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Beautiful photos Nicole, love the hip hop pic. Kind of regret not lasting until sunrise now 🙂

    • Reply
      February 26, 2013 at 8:01 am

      There is always next year! Fingers crossed it comes back. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Awesome photos! I really loved Melbourne when I visited in 2006 but it was such a short visit that I didn’t have time to see much. But from what I remember, I’m not surprised to see such a hip, cool event take place there! Love your photo of the shadow kiss.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Thanks Adam!

      Hope you can come back to Melbourne to explore soon. It really does have a fun arts vibe and would be perfect for your hipster city guides *hint hint* hehe 🙂

  • Reply
    fotoeins | Henry
    February 26, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I love your shots, Nicole: a walking-traveling-photographic diary of a night out in Melbourne, and I love how beautiful the city looks under lights. Did you take the entire series of photographs on a single night? If so, you must have slept well the following day!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2013 at 8:36 am

      Hi Henry,
      Thank you for your kind words!
      Yes, I did take all of the photos on one night. White Night runs from 7pm until 7am so had a very long sleep after. Thankfully the majority of Melbourne’s events were within a 6-block radius so you didn’t have to walk far to uncover something new… there was just too much to choose from!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Such inviting pictures!
    I’ve been wanting to go to Australia in general for some time, but this posts might’ve put Melbourne at the top of my ‘Australia cities I want to visit’ list:)

    • Reply
      March 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Glad to hear Melbourne is now up the top your list! It is truly a fascinating city full of art, culture and (more for the blokes) sport!
      Hope you get to Australia soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 4, 2013 at 10:21 am

    So cool! I absolutely love all the lit-up buildings. The knitted one is amazing.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Thanks, Jessica! I loved the knitted buildings as well. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I went to white night too! It was awesome! 🙂 lovely pics 🙂
    here are some of mine http://heyliao.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/white-night-melbourne.html

  • Reply
    Kristin Addis
    March 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Great photos! I wish I had taken the initiative to get some like this myself! I really loved the lit up and moving building facades. Looking forward to meeting up with you soon!

  • Reply
    This World Rocks | Sister Cities: Australia and the United States
    March 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    […] Melbourne is a known as both a center for business and finance as well as a diverse arts and theater scene. It’s not even close to the size of NYC, but relatively speaking, Melbourne is Australia’s closest relative to the Big Apple.  Don’t take my word for it, check out Bitten by the Travel Bug Nicole’s latest post about Melbourne. […]

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