I love the Harry Potter series, and I am always looking forward to new and exciting things that author J.K. Rowling comes up with. As soon as it was announced that the 2-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is coming to Melbourne, I hurriedly signed up for the mailing list to be alerted about ticket sales.
To be honest, I don’t want to write too much about the play itself, because I want to #KeepTheSecrets. Though the script of the play has been published as a book in 2016, it’s really just a very very small part of the entire production. You NEED to watch the play and experience the magical world of Harry Potter once again. I’m not even exaggerating. It’s really something else — it’s not like any stage production I’ve ever seen before. That’s the thing, it’s not just about seeing it: even now, while recalling the experience, I started feeling overwhelmed by emotions that the play evoked in me. It’s that powerful.
So I’ll just share some tips about watching the play in Melbourne, if you ever decide to watch it (and you should!)
Both parts in one day, or Part One on Thursday and Part 2 on Friday?
Since it’s a two-part play, you have the option to watch both on the same day (Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays), or on two consecutive nights (Thursdays and Fridays). Each part is about 2.5 hours long.
Personally, I was glad I booked the two consecutive evenings, because it gave me time to process all the ~feelings~. Part One ended on such a high that I was so pumped after leaving the theatre and was still riding that high the following morning. But if you’re only in Melbourne for a limited time, go for both parts on the same day.
Buying tickets and choosing the best seats
Tickets can be booked through the official Harry Potter and the Cursed Child website. Ticket prices start at AU$65 and goes all the way up to AU$175 for just one part. I was able to buy our tickets for AU$190 each for both parts. Our seats are in the middle of row H in the Dress Circle. It is the very last row of the theatre, but it gives you a wide view of the stage and the entire theatre. It does have some partial obstruction on the top, since the Grand Circle is right above us, but it just cuts off a small portion of the upper view of the stage (you won’t miss anything major).
One other thing to note: You need to climb up stairs to enter the Dress Circle, and climb up another set of stairs to get to the Grand Circle.
If I’m to buy tickets for the play again (and believe me, I am sorely tempted to!) I will most likely go for the Dress Circle again, but maybe in rows A through E. Row A would be optimal, since you get a really nice view of the stage, but of course, it comes with the hefty AU$350 price tag for both parts!
Living in Melbourne or traveling long term in Australia? You can take a chance to get last minute tickets for only $80 each by joining the Friday Forty lottery.
Applying for an Australian tourist visa
You can refer to my Australian tourist visa application guide for Filipinos for the full guide. If you’ve already purchased your tickets to the play, make sure to mention it in your application, and to include the confirmation email as part of your supporting documents.
Booking hotels or Airbnbs
When I am in Melbourne, I always stay at my sister’s house, but since I am seeing the play with a friend and since the play runs late in the evening, we opted to book an apartment through Airbnb right in the CBD.
Take advantage of Airbnb’s map search so you can pick a place near the theatre. Based on our search in the app, most of the places near the Princess’ Theatre are beyond or budget. Since we plan on doing some exploring in Melbourne aside from watching the play, we chose a place near Southern Cross station. This proved to be a great idea since 1) there’s a boom of new condominiums in the area, which resulted to more rooms available at cheaper prices, and 2) Southern Cross is pretty much the central station in Melbourne — it’s the terminus of the regional trains, Skybus from the airports, and all of the city trains pass through there.
From Southern Cross, you can also get on the number 86 or 96 tram to Spring Street/Bourke Street stop, and it’s just a short walk to the theatre.
Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up using my referral link and get $20 off your first qualified booking!
Pre-show dinner and after show nightcap
Our tickets was for two consecutive nights, so we made sure to have dinner before the 7:30 pm show. Since we love Asian flavors, we had dinner at Soi 38 (a literal hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant inside a carpark between Bourke Street and Little Collins) on the first night, and Juicy Bao (a Chinese restaurant with strong Dong Bei Binondo vibes in Little Bourke Street) on the second night. Both are very popular, so I would advise you head there early to make sure you can get a table and have enough time to eat before you need to head to the theatre. For coffee and desserts, check out a Melbourne institution: Pellegrini’s along Bourke Street
Shops, cafes, and some restaurants close early in Melbourne, so it’s really advisable to grab a bite before the evening show (or pay an arm and a leg for the snacks sold at the theatre). If you have a particular restaurant in mind, make sure to check their hours and days of operations, because it greatly varies per shop.
The Princess Theatre is a grand old dame, very regal and a perfect venue for the play. That said, despite the amazing architecture and impressive interiors, there is no dress code. You can dress as fancy or as casual as you want, just make sure that you will be comfortable inside the theatre. Bring a jacket or a scarf in case it gets cold. Melbourne’s weather has some pretty wild mood swings, so be prepared for anything. Seriously. Make sure to check the hourly weather forecast on Weatherzone.
Programs and official merchandise
The Harry Potter play is a completely different entity from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has ties with Warner Brothers. So expect the merchandise designs to be different and more modern, since the play is set in 2017 onwards.
Personally, I like the design much better than the aesthetic of the movie merchandise, and my friend and I greatly appreciate that the prices for the goods are not as steep (though not as extensive of a selection too).
If you’re on a budget, don’t worry because you get a freebie pin to remind you to #KeepTheSecrets.
Another great advantage of staying in the Melbourne CBD is that you can take advantage of the Free Tram Zone. We were able to travel from our Airbnb to the theatre without having to pay for our tram ride!
If you want to explore further though, you need to have a myki card. You can buy them at major train stations, myki machines, or retailers like 7-11. The card itself costs AU$6 each, and you need to top-up the card to cover your fares. The daily fare is AU$8.80 on weekdays, and $6.40 on weekeends. If you are only traveling within a 2-hour period, only AU$4.40 will be deducted from your card.
So what else can you do in Melbourne? Within the CBD, you can check out the exhibits at the National Gallery of Victoria (it’s just a short walk from Flinders Station, save your fare!), marvel at the La Trobe reading room inside the State Library, take that cliche Instagram shot with Melbourne street art at Hosier Lane, and have high tea at Hopetoun Tea Rooms inside The Block Arcade.
Beyond the CBD, you can compare the croissants of Agathe inside the South Melbourne Market and Lune in Fitzroy (they also have a CBD branch, but it’s closed on weekends), watch a movie at the beautiful art deco Sun Theatre in Yarraville, take that cliche Instagram shot with the Brighton Beach bathing houses, take a scenic ride aboard the Puffing Billy steam train, or ride a hot air balloon over Melbourne (or the Yarra valley vineyards).
I hope this helps you plan for your trip to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part One and Part Two! If you have any questions or want to share all your ~feelings~ about this play, just post them in the comments!