DreamHack Melbourne: The Ultimate Survival Guide

DreamHack Melbourne: The Ultimate Survival Guide

DreamHack Melbourne is only days away, bringing with it all things esports, gaming, cosplay and streaming. Returning to Victoria for a third year running from April 26-28, the event is yet another jewel in Melbourne’s gaming convention crown. If you’re attending for the first time or just need a little refresher on all the important bits, we’ve compiled the ultimate DreamHack Melbourne survival guide.

Whether you’re going to watch the ESL Challenger, dance along to the Hololive 3D concert or just catch up with mates this weekend, we’ve got you covered with all the essential info, how-to’s, and hot tips to make the most of DreamHack Melbourne.

Let’s dive right in.

When is DreamHack Melbourne?

DreamHack Melbourne
Image: DreamHack Australia / ESL FACEIT

DreamHack Melbourne runs from Friday, April 26, to Sunday, April 28. The precinct will be open from 9:30 a.m. Friday and 11:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with the expo itself open from 11:00 a.m. all three days. Expo doors close daily at 6 p.m. Outside of the expo, there are a heap of different events and panels running before and after hours, so be sure to check the schedule to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Getting to DreamHack Melbourne 

DreamHack Melbourne is being held at the Melbourne & Olympic Parks – which you might know as the location of Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arena. If you’re not from Melbourne, the venue is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the city centre. There’s also a bunch of cost-efficient ways to get there. If you’re driving, though, expect to shell out a pretty penny to park anywhere remotely nearby. The Eastern Plaza Carpark is one of the closest, although on event days, expect to cop a $30-a-day parking fee if you don’t pre-book. 

If you’re planning to take public transport to DreamHack Melbourne, there are a few different ways to reach your destination. You can train into the CBD, then take Tram 70 from Flinders Street and Richmond Stations. You can alight at Rod Laver Arena (Stop 7B), John Cain Arena (Stop 7C), or AAMI Park (Stop 7D). There’s also Tram 48 (North Balwyn) and Tram 75 (Vermont South), which stop on Wellington Parade near the MCG. Alternatively, if you want to take in the fresh air and go for a wander, you can walk from the CBD along Birrarung Marr to Rod Laver Arena. If you’re coming from the East, you can easily walk from Richmond station.

Download the DreamHack app beforehand

DreamHack Melbourne ESL Challenger
Image: DreamHack Australia / ESL FACEIT

While reception woes at events are less frequent than they used to be (thank God), it’s still worth pre-downloading the DreamHack app, which has the event map and up-to-date schedule on hand for navigating where to go and when on the day. There’s also the DreamHack Melbourne RPG scavenger hunt available in-app (or via scanning QR codes, but the app is way easier) to score prizes during the event. The app is available on the Apple App Store and via the Google Play store for smartphones.

What to bring

Given you’re likely to be wandering around DreamHack Melbourne, standard convention rules apply: pack light and wear comfortable shoes. You can bring along small, handheld personal cameras, although cameras with interchangeable lenses over 300mm aren’t allowed, nor are tripods. If you’re planning to bring a backpack, keep it small. We’d recommend taking a water bottle to refill throughout the day. Event pricing for food and drink can be eye-watering, so bring a light lunch and put that money toward splashing out at the Artist’s Alley or showfloor. If you want to be extra thrifty, homemade food in small amounts is allowed to be brought in. That means no smuggling in 1kg of KFC, unfortunately.

What to do at DreamHack Melbourne

Image: DreamHack

There’s plenty on across the whole weekend to pack out your days, so be sure to check out the schedule so you don’t miss out. There are panels, ESL Challenger, the LCO Grand Final, cosplays, community meets and more running throughout DreamHack Melbourne. If you’re more keen to wander and look around, the Artist’s Alley has doubled in size to include 100 artists, as well as the expo floor to explore.

Our top picks for what to do and see

DreamHack Melbourne
Image: DreamHack Australia / ESL FACEIT

The variety of events and things to do and see at DreamHack Melbourne is almost overwhelming, so if you’re unsure where to start, here’s what we’d recommend checking out.

  • Hololive production x DreamHack Melbourne: Down Under concert: international VTuber group hololive is set to perform their biggest 3D concert in the Southern Hemisphere at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday, April 27 at 7:00pm. This is bound to be hype as all hell and is one of our top recommendations for the weekend.
  • ESL Challenger: It wouldn’t be a DreamHack event without checking out the Counter-Strike 2 ESL Challenger. Matches are taking place across the whole weekend in Margaret Court Arena, with the Grand Finals happening at 7:30pm on the Sunday to close out the event. We’d recommend catching the Grand Final at the very least – crowds at these events are almost as entertaining as the plays happening.
  • Extreme Cosplay Gathering Qualifier: If you love seeing cosplayers with amazing builds, the ECG Qualifier is a must-see. This is the first time Australia is participating in the ECG which was previously exclusive to Europe, and is the first qualifier held on our side of the planet. The winners of this qualifier will represent Australia in the grand finals held in Paris, so we’re bound to see some out of this world cosplays. You can catch all the action from 12-2pm on Sunday.
  • Trash Taste: In their only Australian stop on the tour, the Trash Taste podcast will be hosting a show and then two Q+A’s (the Friday Q+A is only available to those with upgrade tickets) across the weekend.
  • Artist Alley: As mentioned, the Artist Alley has been upgraded to double the size of DreamHack Melbourne 2023 with 100 artists selling their wares. If you love fanart or just want to check out the talented art on display, don’t forget to do a victory lap of the massive area. There’s also a separate tabletop artist alley on the showfloor that’s worth a look-in.

There’s a heap more to do than just these highlights – head to the DreamHack Melbourne website or app to view everything that’s happening over the weekend to nail down your gameplan.

If you need a break, head to Cozy Corner

Heading to any event with heaps of people and activities can get overwhelming, and sometimes you need a breather. The Cozy Corner is a chillout zone with board games, bean bags, a bookshelf full of books, a cafe, and charging stations if you bring your own device to unwind with. Don’t forget to take breaks if you need them – this is the ideal spot to sit back and relax before charging back in to the fray.

DreamHack Melbourne kicks off on Friday morning, with tickets still available if you’ve not yet copped a pass. Will you be attending? Let us know what you’re most excited for in the comments.

Image: DreamHack Australia / ESL FACEIT

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