White Night Survival Guide

White Night Melbourne is almost upon us again. In just a few hours, the lights will go on and half a million people will descend upon the Melbourne CBD to gaze in wonder upon the pure artistry of a group of extremely talented people.

But, it’s a long night, and it’s a difficult one. So here’s a few tips to get the most out of it.

Dress Sensibly

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Thongs, heels or sandals are a definite no. Assuming you’re going to every site, you’re probably going to be on your feet for around five hours. At minimum.

Check the weather beforehand. Last year I made the mistake of assuming the temperature would drop, and wore jeans and a jumper. Big mistake.

Plan Ahead

White Night is busiest between 7PM and midnight. The crowds are massive, and the lines to a lot of the indoor art installations are long. Even well after midnight, the line to the State Library was around the corner into Latrobe Street.

If you’ve got the kids with you, be sure to have a way to keep them entertained while they’re in line. Thank god for smartphones, right? You might be tempted to skip the sites with long lines, but those are usually the best.

It also pays to check which sites are only active at certain times. I missed a couple of live performances in my rush.

I would recommend starting a little late, if you’re able. If you don’t have kids to contend with, or work Sunday, it’s your best bet. Last year I worked late Saturday, and didn’t get to the CBD until around midnight. I hit every site in around five hours. On foot. And only waited at the Library for around fifteen minutes.

In the line at the State Library during White Night 2015
In the line at the State Library during White Night 2015

Bring A Camera

Everything about White Night is fleeting. That’s the magic. It’s all just for one night, never to be seen again. You’re going to want a keepsake. Not to mention the interactive installations, where you pose with something to become a part of the art yourself.

In this day and age, it goes without saying really, everyone has a camera in their pocket. But don’t forget to use it.

Plus the social media mentions are great for publicity, and the bigger it is, the more likely it is to continue.

Take Care Of Yourself

Hydrate. Especially if it’s a hot night. Even if it’s not, you’re walking around a lot. Keep a bottle of water handy.

Rest. Especially if you’ve got kids. It only takes five hours at top speed to get to all of the sites. The night is twelve hours long. Sit down for a little while every now and then. Your body will thank you.

Eat. Have dinner in the city before you go. Carry snacks. Hit the foodtrucks or dozens of other eateries that are open all night.

Have Fun, But Be Respectful

White Night is a great night. The sounds and the sights, it’s Melbourne at her best. But it’s also 500,000 people wandering the CBD at night. About a dozen people were arrested last year for public drunkenness (although the regular nightclubs are still open, so it could be unrelated). So the golden rule is: Don’t Be A Dickhead. Don’t ruin the night for someone else. Don’t break anything. Don’t kill the event.

Have fun, but not at the expense of someone else.

For further information, go to the White Night Melbourne homepage.