First published on 13 Dec 2012. Updated on 1 Jan 2013.
Melbourne gets twinkly in December with houses across the city smothered in little lights – coloured ones, flashing ones, ones the shape of icicles. Some homes choose a sublte tracing of the window frame, others go all-out with blow-up santas half-sunk in chimneys, nativity scenes in the yard and perfectly framed miniatures of New England towns in their windows. (We know one family even syncs their lights to flash in time with a radio broadcast of Christmas carols that can be picked up within 100 metres of their house!)
Where should you go if you want to see great Christmas lights on the suburban streets of Melbourne? Start at the places below, where the neighbours have banded together to put on a streetwide show. But remember, this is no exhaustive list, and we'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.
Their Christmas display this year is called ‘Follow the Star’ where visitors are led through a nativity Christmas display, featuring thousands of lights. This is great for kids – they even get a free colouring book at the end. Revival Center, 275 Middleborough Rd, Box Hill. Dec 13-22, 7.30-10.30pm.
Perhaps Melbourne’s most famous Christmas lights strip, Ivanhoe Boulevard has really made a name for itself with its dazzling lights display that has been running for over 50 years. Houses, gardens and windows of those who live on the boulevard and surrounding streets are showered in Christmas lights and decorations. It attracts crowds of thousands every year. The Boulevard, East Ivanhoe. Dec 15-24.
These guys are hosting a technologically advanced Christmas experience for everyone this year. Not only will the lights be out in force, but their flashing will be synchronised to Christmas carols. Tune your car/portable radio to 96.9FM to hear the carols for the full experience. 360 Porter St, Templestowe. Dec 7-Jan 1.
The Tuppet family have over 35,000 lights that have been set up for this year’s Christmas display. The lights will be dancing to the music coming from 107.2FM. The Tuppets also collect money for the Starlight Children's Foundation, so if you are able to visit be sure to bring a gold coin or two. 88 Parkhill Rd, Kew. All December, 8.30pm-midnight.
Christmas Garden Railway display with many trains and trams running on separate tracks. Also, talking reindeer = awesome. 67 Parer Rd, Airport West. All December, 7.30-10m.
Three houses on Thompson St are banding together to put on a spectacular light display. Between them they have over 50,000 LEDs. One householder, Richard Francis, starts putting up lights for Divali, and keeps adding to them through to Christmas. His wife is Hindu and gets to decorate the roof, while Richard – who is Christian – gets free rein of thefront lawn. Lit-up characters include horses, trains, snow bears, shooting stars, reindeers, penguins. Actually, stuff those – we’re keeping our eyes peeled for the gigantic decorated elephant. 48 Thomson St, Northcote. All December, 8-11pm.
This house is more than just the 24,000 LEDs, it’s also got a singing polar bear, a mechanical reindeer that runs around, a 2.5-metre ferris wheel and a 10-foot blow-up carousel. Just when this couldn’t sound any more impressive, these guys have a snow machine. Yep, snow angels abound. 150 Reichelt Ave Montmorency. 7.30pm-midnight.
Fat Santa’s wave at you as you drive by a very Australiana Christmas. A swagman with bush animals surround Santa’s shed, and kangaroo’s flank the sleigh on the roof. This year look out for a seesaw with Santa on one end and Rudolph on the other. There are a few good ones on this street, and often an appearance from Santa via fire truck, so keep an eye out. 179 Watsonia Rd, Watsonia. All of December, dusk-11pm. Christmas eve is all night.
A papier-mache nativity scene set up in the garage invites visitors to wander in and marvel in its homemade glory. North St, Ascot Vale. December 9-11pm.
These guys are so onto it that their house has its own Facebook page and YouTube clip. Twelve thousand lights have been strung up, and the radio station for this house is 98.5FM. Because Christmas is all about giving, bring your coin purse along to donate to the Make a Wish Foundation. 24 Allumba Dr, St Helena. All December, 8.45pm-midnight
A canopy of rope and fairy lights hang over the driveway and Santa’s reindeers fly off into the night sky. Already a hit with kids in the neighbourhood, we recommend heading down. 28-30 Gale St, Brunswick East. All December, 9pm-12.30am.