Are you looking for a unique, out-of-the-box experience to give someone as a gift, but the dark, stormy weather outside is throwing a wrench in your plans?
Here are a bunch of fantastic winter-friendly experiences available across Melbourne and the Victorian countryside, where you can give someone the ultimate gift – amazing memories that’ll last a lifetime!
The best part of these experiences is that you don’t even need to choose one specific option – they’re all available in BananaLab’s wonderful gift boxes, so you can let your grateful giftee make the final decision on which of these memorable adventures they want to embark on!
1 – “Happy Birthday… you’re going to jail.”
What better way to embrace these gloomy thunderstorms and dark, wet weather than by embarking on a terrifying ghost tour of an abandoned prison?
Walk the steps of death row at Pentridge Prison and stand where Ronald Ryan (the last man to be executed in Australia) took his final breaths. Spend time behind the same bars that Australia’s most hardened criminals served their time, including Ned Kelly – whose remains are still there to this day, along with 43 other bodies.
This bone-chilling Pentridge Prison Ghost Tour by Lantern Ghost Tours is not for the faint-hearted!
2 – Send them off to go swimming with the sharks
Who cares what the weather is like outside when you’re underwater?! Let me rephrase that… Who cares what the weather is like outside when you’re underwater, face-to-face with a deadly shark?!
Offer your mate the experience of a lifetime at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, where they can get up close and personal with sharks, stingrays and other exotic sea creatures while you and the rest of their buddies watch from the underwater viewing tunnel below.
All training and scuba diving instruction is provided on the day, so all your lucky giftee has to do is show up with their game face on and try not to make the sharks mad…
3 – The gift of blind destruction!
Know someone who’s been a little stressed out lately? Perhaps they’re growing frustrated at not being able to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy warm weather!
While you might not be able to afford to send them on an all-inclusive holiday to a tropical island, perhaps the best gift you can offer them is the opportunity to vent some anger and destroy some stuff!
Send them to The Break Room so they can relieve themselves of pent-up aggression in a fun, controlled environment. In fact, this offer is for two people so maybe you can go along with them!
4 – Possibly the cheesiest gift ever…
We’re all guilty of stacking on a bit of extra “winter weight” this time of year, so why not roll with it and make your own selection of delicious cheeses to take home?
Cheese-making expert Maurice Gonella will show you how to whip up everything from feta and haloumi to blue cheese and Camembert… yum! Not only will you get to eat a wide selection of mouth-watering cheeses, but you’ll walk out of Maurice’s workshop at The Artisan’s Bottega as an expert on cheese storage, ageing, and wine pairings.
This experience is for a group of four, so with any luck you’ll be one of the three friends or family members that your giftee chooses to bring along, and then it’s cheese and wine parties every weekend from now on!
5 – Indoor rock climbing and abseiling, anyone?
What better gift can you offer someone than making them jump off a 20-metre-high wall with nothing but a rope?
No but seriously… Cliffhanger is Australia’s number one indoor rock climbing centre, with a huge array of climbing walls available. Some are easy, some are hard – just about the only thing they all have in common is that they’re indoor, so you can leave your rain jacket at home.
Whether your lucky gift recipient is a nervous beginner or a seasoned pro, they’re sure to get a kick out of a free 60-minute abseiling session (plus unlimited rock climbing for the day).
6 – Guided tours of Melbourne’s finest sporting institutions for the sports lover
Have you got a sports-lover friend with a birthday coming up? Why not take them on a thrilling behind-the-scenes tour of any two of the awe-inspiring MCG, Rod Laver Arena and National Sports Museum?
From fascinating insights into our international cricketing legends and priceless memorabilia from countless sporting events forever bookmarked in history, these tours offer all kinds of thrills and interesting information that will be news to even the most dedicated of Australian sports fans.
Once this amazing tour by Melbourne Sports Tours is over, the two of you can head over to the Docklands for a couple of complimentary pub meals with the incredible Etihad Stadium in sight.
7 – Help your giftee express their creative art streak
Do you know someone striving to be the next Banksy?
Why not give them the ideal gift of working alongside artists from the Blender Studios at this awesome Street Art Stencil Workshop? Here, they can learn how to be crafty and creative with stencils, spray painting and other mind-blowing street art techniques that will help them hone their skill into a fine craft.
The best part is that they get to take their work home to hang up on the wall or start a portfolio!
8 – Hang out with some real life dragons! …Okay, sea dragons
If your friend loves marine life but you’re pretty sure they won’t be thrilled about swimming with sharks and stingrays, maybe they’ll appreciate an invigorating experience snorkelling with sea dragons in Port Phillip Bay.
Weedy Seadragons are extremely rare, and this amazing experience from BayPlay offers the opportunity to see them roaming about in their own natural habitat, while gaining insight into marine life in the area and seeing what beautiful things lie beneath the water’s surface.
If nothing else, it’s a relaxing way to spend the day!
9 – Do what you wanna do, be who you wanna be… smell how you wanna smell
Perhaps your friend is notorious for spending hours on end in pharmacies and beauty salons trying different perfumes and searching for that one perfect scent that helps them express their personality… with this workshop from renowned perfumists Fleurage, they can literally create their own!
First, a professional perfumer will assess their “personal scent profile” and then help them create an original, authentic perfume from scratch that pairs with their natural scent to produce an idyllic essence.
By the end of the session, your giftee will have a bottle of their very own elegant fragrance to take home and name as they wish!
10 – An intimate evening of witnessing true magic together
Do you believe in magic? After a life-changing experience with the master illusionist and magician Luke Hocking, you and your friend sure will!
Impossible Occurrences is a mind-boggling exploration of the marvellous, the intriguing and the downright inconceivable.
Treat yourselves to an intimate evening that will make you challenge your perceptions, question reality and enjoy genuine astonishment, at the Marriott Hotel in Melbourne CBD every week.