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Navigating The Wilds

Program Guide

Thu 17 March

If there's too much to see on a visit to The Wilds, don't stop at one night.

Emerging through the trees and into The Wilds, the first thing you'll notice is that Sidney Myer Music Bowl has been turned on its head. But that's just the beginning.

Enter via the backstage gate (search "Sidney Myer Music Bowl stage door" in Google Maps). Between the choir, inflatable installations, and food and drink pop-ups, you might find your itinerary is overflowing. And we haven't even gotten to the ice rink on the stage.

Here's a guide to approaching a visit to The Wilds—whether you're popping after a show (it’s walking distance from Chunky Move, Malthouse Theatre, Forum Melbourne, Arts Centre Melbourne, NGV Melbourne), or going big for an evening. The Wilds is designed as a place you can return to night after night.

Enter The Wilds

The first stop on your entry to The Wilds is the art park, filled with inflatable alien organisms from the minds of Tin & Ed.

Tin & Ed have nurtured a glowing biosphere of inflatable sculptures and digital art. The New York City-based, Australian artists are creative technologists whose playful installations shape a new dimension in which plants, humans and technology take on otherworldly forms in a multicellular meadow.

As you weave your way throughout this illuminated ecosystem, pause for impromptu performances from "Melbourne’s least-professional feminist water ballet team" The Siphonophores (AKA The Clams, who are beached on dry land for a limited time only) and Discordia — the country's most absurd art troupe (including members of The Huxleys).

And snaking around The Wild's lawn, Leeroy New's otherworldly sculptures use the recycled bamboo bones from last year's imagining of the space.

Big Rink Energy

A throwback to the era of winter iceskating at the Bowl, Rinky Dink is The Wilds' centrepiece experience. Whether you're still finding your feet or practicing for the 2026 games, strap on your skates and slice through the ice.

Reverberating off the crystalline surface are the harmony of voices from Night Chorus, RISING's very own community choir made up of 200 community members. At various points each night they’ll belt out reconstructed ‘80s and ‘90s hits while you tear up the ice.

Not much of a skater? Tundra Bar is both the rink-side spot to hire skates and people-watch, and a fire-side spot to curl up with a cocktail to warm your insides. Think: alpine ski chalet with a psychedelic twist.

Rinky Dink tickets are sold separately and include entry to The Wilds. Please see the note below on dining at The Lighthouse, if you’re interested in booking both.

You can explore The Wilds before or after skating—you'll need 45—60 minutes. If you suspect you’ll have some topples, we recommend exploring The Wilds first because you may be wet from the ice.

Eat and drink at The Wilds

Stop by before a show for a slice of (we're calling it) Melbourne's most delicious lasagne from 1800Lasagne, a glass of lo-fi wine or a plate of Shannon Martinez's cult vegan dishes. A post-show detour calls for a cone of gelato from Piccolina Gellateria—they'll be serving collaborative scoops created with The Wilds' featured chefs.

If you’re one for the finer things in life, you’ll want to make a booking at The Lighthouse.

Perched high above the amphitheatre is The Lighthouse, our glowing beacon of gastronomy. Make a booking and make a night of it. Inside, the glass atrium serves plates from David Moyle, Mat Stone and Jo Barrett, with matched wines from Blackhearts and Sparrows, among a jungle of foliage. It's the perfect place to take in the spectacle of The Wilds and plot your return visit.

Tickets to The Lighthouse are sold separately and include entry to The Wilds. We recommend you come back another night to skate, rather than squeezing Rinky Dink in as well. But if you’d like to do skate and dine, we suggest skating first—especially if you’re indulging in the paired wines.

Up High Bar

If you're just after a drink or a quick bite to eat, head to the Up High Bar a psychedelic lodge overlooking The Wilds.

IMAGES:

THE WILDS. RISING 2022. PHOTOS: EUGENE HYLAND

FOOD IMAGERY. PHOTOS: ZARINA HERON

OTHER IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS AND RESTAURANTS

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