Christmas in Australia is obviously during the southern hemisphere’s summer and the hottest part of the year, but these days you can increasingly celebrate Christmas in July during Australian midwinter.
A somewhat different way of celebrating Christmas in Melbourne is having a 3 course Christmas lunch with drinks and all the trimmings onboard a moving historical tram. Now, I had been looking for a reason to experience the Colonial Tram Restaurant and the Christmas in July lunch offering provided that opportunity.
So this rainy Sunday in July, Good Mrs and I went out to enjoy a full Christmas lunch aboard a moving, old tram.
The tram restaurant cars have their own tram stop in South Melbourne and below we are eagerly waiting for the tram to arrive. Dressed for the occasion of course, well, sort of. Advertising for the event behind us…
Two single trams arrived given the number of guests and our expectant grins got even wider.
Entry and kitchen in the middle of the tram, tables on either side. A single bathroom for all to share. Tables for two or for four people. All pre-allocated by two “Christmas in July Tram Coordinators” in Santa hats beforehand.
We found our table, sat down and enjoyed the “colonial” Christmas atmosphere. A glass of bubbly or beer and appetizers on arrival. So far, all good…
All food and drink included in the one single price we paid when signing up. Hence, you could drink yourself senseless if you wanted… Although from not a huge variety of alcohol given the confined kitchen and storage space. Understandable. Mulled wine, however, was given.
We began chatting to the two couples at the adjacent table, who offered to take this happy snap of us. “Repeat offenders”, the four of them enjoyed the fifth Christmas lunch on a tram. Must be addictive…
Our neighbors mentioned that the Colonial Tram owner needed convincing for organizing Christmas in July, doubting the business sense of it. It appeared that those doubts were unfounded. Our tram was full and likely the other as well.
Apologies for the time jump to next photo. In between, we ate… and ate. And then ate some more…. Surprisingly good and tasty food (see below for menu). Yep, you may say that we enjoyed ourselves.
The tram made a sudden stop and… In comes… Santa. We heard that Santa’s name was Joe, Italian, a sometimes tram worker with a fondness for singing. He kept breaking into opera tunes while wandering up and down the tram aisle, looking for anybody innocent (none found, but we were given presents anyway).
I tried to dob in Good Mrs. Saying that she’s been a very naughty girl, but Santa wanted none of that. Santa happily squeezed himself onto the seat next to Good Mrs, who didn’t seem to mind either…
Needless to say, Santa spent some time “getting through” all the guests. Everybody had words for him, not just accepting being quiet and thanking Santa for the present (I can’t even remember what I received, so couldn’t have been anything valuable).
Here is Santa with two of our neighbors.
The event finished after two and a half hours of tramming, eating and drinking as we arrived back at the South Melbourne tram stop where it all began.
The tram had taken us to Acland Street in St Kilda and back, first up to Spencer Street, then back through South Melbourne and Albert Park. The route is not supported by any regular tram to the best of my knowledge.
Needless to say, both Good Mrs and I were full full full… And quite drunk too. Not much else to do this rainy Sunday at 4 pm than returning home and have a “well-deserved” afternoon snooze. Which we did.
So was it worth it? Absolutely!!!
Good Mrs and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The food was far better than I expected, nothing wrong with the drinks on offer, service fantastic, atmosphere brilliant. Nowhere as “daggy” as you may expect.
Added bonus with four fun-loving people at the next table, whom we bantered and laughed with. And Santa was a real character and gave as much as he took. LA, LA, LA… (that’s is Santa breaking out in yet more song…)
We may well return next year for another “Christmas dose”. We may well become serial offenders just like our tram neighbors…
Refer Colonial Tramcar Restaurant for details on Christmas in July (in season) and other events.
The 2017 Christmas in July menu was as follows (courtesy of Colonial Tramcar Restaurant):