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Guide to Melbourne for older people

16 May 2024

Discover why Melbourne is a great place to age, as well as a top place to travel.

Melbourne is the best travel destination worldwide for retirees in 2024, according to travel gurus TimeOut.

“If you’re a long-time Melburnian, you’d be pretty accustomed to our city topping global lists and claiming accolades on the regular,” TimeOut said of the ranking announcement.

“It’s a bit of a niche crown to claim, but we’ll take it.”

TimeOut

Find inspiration for ways to explore the city at What’s On Melbourne, or join a social group and improve your health and wellbeing with these free or low-cost healthy ageing activities.

Read on to become an instant expert:

Take a free tour of the city

Get to know the city with these free tours. Our knowledgeable tourism volunteers know the secrets of the city and they are keen to share them with you.

Discover facets of Melbourne you never knew existed, whether you’re new to the city or you’ve lived her for many years.

A person in a suit with a blue top shows visitors with cameras a room with stained glass windows in the Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall Tours

Where to find our visitor centres

  • Melbourne Visitor Hub: Melbourne Town Hall, corner Little Collins and Swanston streets, Melbourne
  • Melbourne Visitor Booth: Bourke Street Mall between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, Melbourne
  • Fitzroy Gardens Visitor Centre: Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Parade, East Melbourne
  • City Ambassadors: various locations along Swanston Street and Federation Square, Melbourne.

Grab a copy of Out and About

Discover why Melbourne is a great place to age with our latest Out and About Guide.

Our updated guide has a variety of free or low-cost events, activities, services and support information in the City of Melbourne that promote healthy ageing and social connection.

Pick up a free copy at your local library, neighbourhood centre or community hub, or read it online at Out and About.

The Out and About activity guide in the wild

Meet new people at our neighbourhood centres

Visit your local neighbourhood centre and connect with old and new friends. Try a new activity and book a space for your community group.

These spaces are dedicated to supporting older people in the City of Melbourne.

  • Jean McKendry Neighbourhood Centre: 91-111 Melrose Street, North Melbourne. Phone: 9328 1665
  • Kensington Neighbourhood Centre: 18 Anthony Street Kensington. Phone: Phone: 9376 9743
  • South Yarra Senior Citizens Centre: 65 Toorak Road West South Yarra. Phone: 9820 2760
An older person in a pale blue vest and matching pants, and pink shirt, leading a line dancing classs
Line dancing at Jean McKendry Neighbourhood Centre

Ideas for getting active

Got a special interest? Want to be part of a community group and spend regular time with like-minded people? Find programs and events for older people.

We support almost 800 community members through community groups that meet regularly in our 3 neighbourhood centres, which are dedicated to supporting older people in our community.

Here’s a sample of some of the activities on offer in the City of Melbourne, including tai chi, community meals and social groups.

Tai chi in Fawkner Park

Experience the health benefits of tai chi every Thursday morning in Fawkner Park. Slow, gentle and tranquil movements are the perfect way to ease into the day.

To join regular tai chi classes in Fawkner Park, book now.

  • What: Intermediate tai chi
  • Where: Fawkner Park, South Yarra
  • When: Thursdays from 10am.

Once a month, the group of mostly older people is joined by four-year-olds from the nearby kindergarten for a special intergenerational tai chi class.

This mood-boosting activity is organised by the City of Melbourne to foster connection between the generations, intercept ageism, reduce social isolation and celebrate healthy ageing.

Teresa takes tai chi classes every Thursday

Sensory Garden a haven for people with dementia and their carers

We’ve created a beautiful sensory garden where people living with dementia and their carers can come together for a weekly gardening and social group. Find upcoming Sensory Garden dates at the Kensington Neighbourhood Centre, 18 Anthony Street Kensington.

Sensory Garden in Kensington

Community meals bringing people together

Through our Community Meals Subsidy Program, we support 40 community groups, such as the Vietnamese and Indochinese Elders Social Group, which comes together to eat regularly at Kensington Neighbourhood House for more than 35 years.

Sharing a meal can give older people a sense of routine and purpose. It also combats loneliness, helps people feel connected with their community and offers nutritious, culturally-appropriate food.

Community meals foster connection

Help with technology and the internet

Improve your digital skills and get help with your mobile phone or laptop. Get help with technology and the internet through various programs.

Join free Tech Connect sessions with trained tech helpers at our neighbourhood centres. Bookings essential for sessions in North Melbourne, Kensington and South Yarra.

Where to find our recreation centres

There are so many ways to stay active and healthy at recreation centres across the City of Melbourne.

Get a Prime membership and enjoy classes and exercise support designed for older people at our Active Melbourne facilities.

Aqua fitness at City Baths

Volunteer to share your wisdom and connect

Volunteering with the City of Melbourne can provide you with an opportunity to give back to the community.

Find out how to put your hand up for these and more volunteer opportunities in the City of Melbourne. We recruit volunteers throughout the year, and advertise our open volunteer roles.

Here are some examples of ways you can volunteer with us, including tourism roles and in our libraries.

Become a tourism volunteer

As a tourism volunteer, you can share your knowledge of the city and regional Victoria and add to Melbourne’s reputation as a friendly, welcoming and culturally vibrant city. We generally conduct a yearly volunteer recruitment intake for our visitor centres.

Keen to receive an email about the next recruitment intake? Please email us.

Volunteer to make conversations sparkle

Semi-retired former teacher Jack Migdalek has been volunteering with a weekly English Conversation Club for nearly a decade, as well as being a tourism volunteer.

“As I’ve slowed down my regular work, I’ve increased my volunteering. It’s really important to have a focus and stay active. I’m giving a lot, but I’m also getting a lot out of it.”

Are you kind and curious, keen to listen, and like a good chat? We’re calling for volunteers to host face-to-face English Conversation Clubs and more.

Volunteer Jack Migdalek at City Library

Got a green thumb? Be a Gardens for Wildlife volunteer

Do you love native plants and animals, and have a knack for knowing what to plant where?

Make a meaningful contribution to conservation through gardening.

Gardens for Wildlife volunteers are trained to visit private land to provide insights on improving spaces for wildlife.

Check out a few city gardens that go wild for wildlife and get to know the program.

Call or email us to book a visit or become a volunteer. Phone: 03 9658 9658.

Explore your local library

Join a book group to talk about your favourite genre and authors. Add to a lifetime of learning, get help with technology and ‘Ask a Librarian’ for advice. Join a social support group, make use of the free wi-fi, computers, research your ancestry.

Create a podcast in the recording studio and editing suite. Visit the makerspace and use equipment for free, such as sewing machines, overlockers, 3D printers and more.

You can even bring the grandchildren to a playgroup or a storytime session designed for three age groups, babies, stompers and pre-schoolers. Find more activities with children.

Book list

Discover the beauty of every life stage with our hand-picked booklist that celebrates the journey of ageing and the remarkable individuals who defy stereotypes.

From the exuberance of youth to the wisdom of the golden years and everything in between, our collection explores the diverse  experiences that make each age unique and valuable and might offer some inspiration on living your one life to the fullest. 

Where to find libraries in the City of Melbourne

  • East Melbourne Library: 122 George Street East Melbourne VIC 3002. Phone: 03 9658 9600
  • Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre: 251 Faraday Street, Carlton. Phone: 03 9658 7310
  • Library at The Dock: 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade Docklands. Phone: 03 9658 9998
  • North Melbourne Library: 66 Errol Street, North Melbourne. Phone: 03 9658 9700
  • Southbank Library at the Boyd Community Hub: 207 City Road, Southbank. Phone: 03 9658 8300
  • City Library: 253 Flinders Lane Melbourne. Phone: 03 9658 9500 (currently closed for renovations)
East Melbourne Library

The library that comes to you

It’s a library on wheels. Mel-van brings free wi-fi, books, games, craft activities, events and educational resources to people across the City of Melbourne who may find it difficult to access our libraries.

Mel-van features a publicly accessible wi-fi hotspot, allowing library staff to connect community members with City of Melbourne Libraries’ digital collections and provide digital literacy support.

This helps more people get online and boost their connectivity to services such as email, online government services, online banking, telehealth, streaming services, and other online learning platforms.

Books and biscuits

Join us every fortnight to read together and talk books while enjoying morning tea.

Librarians will read poems, short stories, articles and chat about interesting topics. Tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

Every second Wednesday 11am to midday. Bookings essential.

Children’s Storytime

Share the wonder of books with the little people in your life. Take them to story time at your local library for fun stories, songs, rhymes and activities.

Activities include Songbirds for babies to 18 months old, Stompers for children aged 18 months to 3 years, and Preschool Storytime for children aged 3 to 5 years.

Ask your local librarian or find out more.

Victorian Seniors Festival

The good times rolled out across Victorian Seniors Festival in the City of Melbourne during October 2023, including:

  • Val’s Spring Celebration recognises the role that older members of the LGBTIA+ community have played in shaping our diverse and inclusive city.
  • Makerspace pop-up showcasing equipment available to everyone at our local libraries that can sew, quilt, monogram, embroider, 3D print, laser cut, paint, make stickers and badges and much, much more.
  • Ageism Awareness Day lit up Melbourne Town Hall in green, and the Artful Ageing Exhibition to show our commitment to ending age-based discrimination and violence.
  • National Carers Week and our annual Lunch for Carers to recognise and celebrate the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend.

Resources

Stay up-to-date with the latest in healthy ageing news and opportunities. Subscribe to our newsletter today and explore our services for older people.

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