You are visiting Melbourne for the weekend to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but – don't be a muggle – you can also get your wizard on at these magical Melbourne locations.
Every good wizard needs a wand, so your first stop should be to visit the Olivanders of Oz, Spellbox, run by resident witch Danae Thorp. "A witch is someone who believes that magic exists," says Thorp. "And it's not the magic of making something disappear or levitating, it's the magic that resides in nature – a beautiful sacred energy."
Spellbox is as enchanting as it sounds, with intricately carved spell wheels and cabinets full of fairy charms created by Thorp's husband, film production designer Jeff. Spellbox also holds bewitching workshops that coincide with the changing of the moon and there are tarot readers in the upstairs rooms to tell your future.
As for the wands, Thorp says they are an important tool for creating spells, which are essentially an ancient name for wishes. "Wands have been around for centuries," she says. "It's a directional tool, a focusing tool to help you to focus your magic. You might use it to create a circle before you do a spell, you might use it write invisible words in the air."
Thorp opened the store two decades ago just before the first Harry Potter film and says she now gets second-generation witches and wizards visiting her shop. "We have city workers who come in to spin the wheel every week so they can get their weekly oracle," Thorp says.
The Royal Arcade itself makes for a slightly more polished version of Diagon Alley with sweets shops like Chocomama and Spellbox all watched over by brothers Gog and Magog, mystical beings who have kept time in the arcade since 1892.
How about a Hogwarts-esque library? The old-school State Library of Victoria has the octagonal La Trobe Reading Room with a giant dome covering 32,000 books. Readers and chess players alike can sit in the creaky wooden swivel chairs that seem to come from a previous century surrounded by the original spiral metal staircases from 1913 (they don't move like Hogwarts', but you can pretend).
London may have Platform 9¾ but Puffing Billy offers muggles the chance to pretend they have boarded the Hogwarts Express as the steam locomotive zigzags its way up into the Dandenong Ranges. For the full experience try a steam and cuisine luncheon in one of the antique dining cars and make sure you look out the window at the wooden bridges for your peak Potter experience.
Perhaps the Forbidden Forest is more your thing, so why not "apparate" yourself out to the Californian Redwoods beech forest in Great Otway National Park. This 85-year-old plantation is a popular picnic spot, with over 200 secret waterfalls hidden throughout the park, but it's a case of BYO centaurs.
And just keep your eye out around town as there are a range of wizarding pop-ups, from the Imperial Hotel rooftop serving Hawthorn Brewing Co's Buttah Beer New England Milkshake IPA to TRAPT's magic-themed Alchemy escape rooms.
Then, when you are all Pottered out, there is no need for a kip under the stairs. The Hotel Windsor offers the resplendent Wizards Suite created in collaboration with the Store of Requirement, the Collingwood shop packed with official Harry Potter kit. The suite is packed with wands, specially licensed artworks and other ephemera so you can have a magical nights sleep.
Melbourne is going Potter mad. Grab a wand and join in.
The Windsor's Wizards Suite starts at $699 for mid-week stays for two guests and is a five-minute walk from the Princess Theatre where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing; thehotelwindsor.com.au
Spellbox casts its spells in Royal Arcade, 17/331-339 Bourke Street, Melbourne; spellbox.com.au. About two hours west of Melbourne are the Otways; visitotways.com. Catch Puffing Billy at 1 Old Monbulk Road, Belgrave; puffingbilly.com.au. The Store of Requirement is at 6 Smith Street, Collingwood; thestoreofrequirement.com.au.