Forty and Fabulous: Melbourne’s Best 40th Birthday Ideas

18 mins read
Forty and Fabulous: Melbourne’s Best 40th Birthday Ideas
Written by: Jaya Ramchurn
April 11, 2024
18 mins read

Ah, the big four-zero! You’re at that sweet spot – not too young, yet far from old. Turning 40 marks the beginning of a transformative journey filled with opportunities for growth and fresh starts.

Whether you’re embracing this milestone with mixed emotions or bursting with excitement, fear not! We’ve curated a list of 40th birthday ideas in Melbourne that promise to arouse a sense of joy and gratitude.

Because let’s face it, turning 40 isn’t an everyday affair. It’s a rare occasion deserving of celebration, whether you choose to go all out, keep it intimate, or go on some solo adventures – the choice is entirely yours this year!

So, let’s dive into planning your party!

First things first: let’s book your venue!

Explore relaxed party venues and the most luxurious spots in Melbourne for an epic birthday.

🎊🎂Unique 40th Birthday Ideas in Melbourne 

Whether you fancy a ride in a party bus, getting creative in an art workshop, or going on a winery tour, your wish is our command!

Let’s dive right in and explore some unique 40th birthday ideas in Melbourne!

1. Attend an Art Workshop

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Studio Inqu, Kew, is ideal for intimate art and crafts workshops.

Organise an art workshop for those who wish to explore their creative side and relax at the same time.

Art workshops are perfect for tapping into your creativity and relaxing. After all, it’s not a secret that art relieves stress and helps us express our emotions

Whether you’re feeling blah or excited about turning 40, it’s your chance to shine and paint!

At Studio Inqu, you can paint, sip, and even host a birthday lunch! The venue can accommodate up to 20 guests, which is great for small groups.

So, are you ready to conquer the new decade with your art?

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Choose a theme you adore for the painting class to make your day extra special. 

2. Hire a Party Bus

Why bother driving to the party when you can kick off the celebration early with your own party bus? You won’t have to worry about having one too many drinks!

Party buses add a unique touch of fun and flair to any milestone birthday bash. Cruise around the city, enjoy your favourite drinks, and dance to the beat!

With music, lights, and even a dance floor, party buses ensure the fun starts the moment you step on board.

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Create a playlist of your favourite tunes and get ready to groove!

3. Winery Tour at The Del Rios Vineyard 

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Nothing beats celebrating your 40th birthday at a stunning vineyard like Del Rios in Anakie.

Wine tours are a great way of learning something new and are a wonderful excuse to enjoy a tipple or two while looking classy. 

One of the joys of wine tours is the chance to sample various wines and discover new favourites

At Del Rios Vineyard and Winery, birthday celebrants can enjoy the raw beauty of Mt Anakie and even indulge in a delicious repast at the rustic-style family restaurant. 

From cosy corners for intimate parties to spacious terraces for group gatherings, every space is designed to create a memorable experience. 

Get ready to have a wonderful birthday experience with their heavenly wines and beautiful views!

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Dress comfortably, especially for outdoor tours involving lots of walking.

4. Visit a Haunted Spot

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Feeling spooked about hitting 40? Shake off those fears with a haunted building tour!

Trust us, turning 40 won’t seem so daunting anymore. Step into the eerie world of ghosts and ghouls. 

Grab some courageous friends and family to join you on this spooky adventure – holding hands is optional, but you might find it comforting!

Find out whether ghosts are real or simply a trick of the mind. Bring your EMF detectors, FLIR cameras, or spirit boxes to enhance the experience! 

And remember, bring some holy water or garlic to ward off evil spirits!

Here are some of the best haunted places in Melbourne to get your spook on

  • Old Melbourne Gaol – Hop on their one-hour tours, where you will be taken through dark winding tunnels and hear tall tales of the most haunted cells in the country. Warning: stay away from Cell 17 –  the most haunted cell in the gaol.
  • Kew Asylum – Despite its modern design, Kew Asylum still retains the dark secrets of its past patients. Visitors have reported paranormal activity, such as doors opening on their own and mysterious sounds echoing through the halls.
  • Pentridge Prison – This former penitentiary is infamous for its harsh punishments. Join a two-hour Ghost Tour to explore the eerie corridors and hear haunting tales of former inmates.

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Don’t end the day with a haunted house tour. Plan a horror movie night at a private screening room to turn this visit into a ‘hell of a birthday party’!

5. Plan a City Break

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Explore eateries, museums, galleries and more while on a city break. | The Glasshouse Jardin Tan, CBD

Nothing screams relaxation quite like a city break when you are hitting forty. 

Whether you go on an adventure in Yarra Valley or dine alfresco, a city break is truly comforting.

City breaks offer plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, cultural experiences, and culinary delights.

Visit the Melbourne or Immigration Museum galleries, such as ACMI or the City Guide, and enjoy the nightlife by strolling through picturesque neighbourhoods like South Yarra or Fitzroy

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: To make your city break extra special, consider splurging on a luxurious hotel or unique accommodation, booking a private city tour, or making dinner reservations at top-rated restaurants. 

City breaks don’t require you to break the bank!

Celebrate your milestone birthday with a private dining experience! 

6. Rejuvenate at Willow Urban Retreat

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Treat your body right with love and kindness at Willow Urban Retreat, Armadale.

You only have one body, so why not treat it well? If you’ve never indulged in a spa session or retreat, there’s no better time to start. 

Whether you are a man or a woman, it can be hard to exist without internalising negative messages about your body. With unrealistic beauty standards all over the internet, it’s super important to treat your body like it is a precious, dear friend of yours. 

Learn to nourish your body with healthy food, explore spirituality, and manage your emotions at Willow Urban Retreat. True to its name, this space is great for cultivating healthy habits in the city.

Make the most of their workshops and presentations on nutrition, stress management, emotional wellness, longevity, and specialised cooking classes.

It’s a meaningful way to celebrate your birthday while embracing good habits.

💡You might like: 19 Ideas for a 40th Birthday Party that Will Make Her Swoon in 2024

🎈🥳Surprise 40th Birthday Ideas in Melbourne 

If you are planning a surprise birthday party for anyone turning 40 but don’t know what to do, fret not! We’ve included some of our top ideas for an awesome surprise birthday party.

7. Throw an 80s Birthday Party at Evie’s

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Throw an 80s-themed party for the guest of honour, and watch them channel their inner dancing queen! | Evies’s Disco Diner, Fitzroy

An 80s-themed birthday party is always a blast! Set a dress code, groove to an 80s tribute band or, craft your nostalgic playlist, and deck out the venue in neon colours. 

To keep the theme rockin’, serve retro treats like mini quiches, potato skins, and pizza rolls, as well as vibrant cocktails such as the Blue Lagoon and Pina Colada.

At Evie’s, you don’t have to break the bank to capture the perfect vibe. The diner boasts private spaces adorned with giant disco balls and a vibrant purple and blue decor, making it the ultimate spot for an 80s throwdown!

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Take cues from iconic 80s films and TV shows like The Delinquents or Starstruck, for some extra inspiration. 

💡You might like: Melbourne’s Must-Visit Birthday Dinner Venues for A Memorable Celebration.

8. BBQ on Aquadonut

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Host a BBQ while cruising on the water! | Aquadonut, Docklands

“Can you have a BBQ on a boat?” Yeah, nah yeah!

On Aquadonut, everything is possible. 

If your 40-year-old is a fan of BBQ parties and adventures, they’ll be thrilled with a BBQ bash on a boat. Aquadonut has a gas BBQ station and a picnic round table with seating for up to 10 guests.

Plus, they’ve got you covered with shade umbrellas – perfect for those scorching days!

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Pack those sausages, lamb chops, halloumi and a birthday cake for a delicious surprise birthday party!

💡You might like: 39 Fabulous 40th Birthday Ideas for 2024

9. Dinner for Two at The George on Collins

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Make their birthday party stand out with a private or semi-private dining experience! | The George on Collins, CBD

It’s always a great idea to take your friend, partner or parent on a dinner date in a private or semi-private setting. Private dining makes anyone celebrating their milestone birthday feel extra special. At The George on Collins, putting a birthday party together is a breeze.

This venue, located in the CBD, is open from morning until night, and its staff is ready to make your event a success! Whether you plan to have a birthday party at breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, they’ve got you covered. 

With its elegant designer interior and versatile function spaces, you can effortlessly organise intimate gatherings and larger birthday parties for the guest of honour.

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Work with the venue manager to tailor your dinner party and make sure the menu is customised for the occasion.

10. No Responsibilities for the Day 

This is hands-down the best surprise birthday idea ever!

Imagine the look on their faces when they wake up to the realisation that they’re off the hook for all the usual tasks – no trash duty, laundry, dishes, or school runs for the entire day!

All they have to do is sit back, relax, and do whatever they want. 

Taking on all responsibilities for the day is like a dream come true for anyone hitting the big four-zero!

Are you ready to shoulder their duties while they unwind?

Trust us, your act of kindness will be remembered forever!

💡You might like: 8 Ideas to Help You Pull Off a Surprise Birthday Party

Party like you’re forty!

Forty years call for a grand party in the city. Discover cosy bars, post restaurants and classy party spaces for your birthday.

11. Cocktail Making Class at Ruby Riviera

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Located along the banks of the Yarra River in South Wharf, Ruby Riviera offers breathtaking views of the river as well as cooking and cocktail crafting experiences. 

Do you know what makes a surprise party great? A fun activity like cocktail making at a premier venue like Ruby Riviera. 

If the birthday honoree enjoys experimenting with new drinks or is up for an adventure, why not combine a dining experience with a cocktail crafting session?

At Ruby Riviera, they can savour riverside views while trying their hand at cooking or mixing drinks.

With a capacity of 12 to 320 guests, it’s the ideal spot for a family gathering or a lavish soirée!

💄🎁40th Birthday Ideas for Her in Melbourne

Are you feeling the pressure of planning the perfect birthday bash for the love of your life? Worry not! Dive into our top 40th birthday ideas tailored for her in Melbourne. Whether you want to treat her like royalty, stick to a budget, or venture into uncharted territory, we’ve got you covered!

12. Take her on a Shopping Spree

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No party can be better than a sponsored shopping spree!

They say money talks, especially when it comes to shopping! Instead of just window shopping, why not treat her to a shopping spree sponsored by you?

You can even ask friends and family to chip in if they’d like! Instead of another customised mug or scented candle, let her be the mistress of her own choices and splurge on whatever her heart desires.

Here are our top picks for shopping spots in Melbourne:

  • Bourke Street MallThis iconic shopping destination boasts leading department stores, high-end boutiques, and independent designers.
  • Collins StreetA must-visit for fashion enthusiasts, offering international brands and ultra-chic local designers.
  • Chadstone Shopping CentreKnown as ‘The Fashion Capital’, Chadstone is a paradise for style-focused shoppers, offering a wide array of luxury and high-street brands. Standout names include Dior, Chanel, Tiffany & Co, and H&M.

13. Have a Potluck Dinner 

For those who hate overspending on their birthday but love spending time with family and friends (and delicious food!), nothing can be more exciting than a potluck party! 

Get creative with these potluck dishes and enjoy a variety of mouth-watering food!

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Invite friends and family to bring a dish, and consider choosing a theme or asking guests to prepare the guest of honour’s favourite dishes to make her feel extra special.

14. Host a Tea Party

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Celebrate your loved one’s 40th birthday with a charming tea party at Olinda Tea House and watch their faces light up with joy.

Do you remember when Pam launched The Finer Things Club in The Office? If the guest of honour is a ‘Pam’ at heart, she will absolutely love the idea of a tea party at Olinda Tea House.

Its unique butterfly roof and stunning forest setting will surprise them and make them feel truly special, knowing you’ve gone the extra mile to find such a dreamy venue. 

Gather a few of their closest friends to sip on fragrant Jasmine tea and savour the modern Asian fusion dishes at Olinda.

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Add a dress code to the event. Invite guests to dress from a specific era or get inspired by movies like Alice in Wonderland or Pride and Prejudice.

15. Private Movie Night at RSPCA Pawdatorium

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Plan a pawtastic movie night at RSPCA Pawdatorium, Burwood, for a magical birthday party!

Imagine having a movie theatre all to yourselves, with a balcony offering views of goats, sheep, and mini ponies. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But at RSPCA Pawdatorium, dreams come true!

Gather your partner’s closest friends, grab some blankets, and let her enjoy her favourite movie in this private space with a charming rural view.

16. Plan a Photo Session

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Capture the precious moments of turning 40 with a photo session at Coparadisio, Brunswick East.

Are you worried about those fine lines dampening the birthday girl’s spirits? Fear not! A professional photoshoot can work wonders—it serves as a reminder of the beauty of ageing and the importance of celebrating every moment of life!

Choose a venue like Coparadisio, whose white walls provide the perfect backdrop for a classy photoshoot. 

With a hair and makeup room, clothing racks, tabletop mirrors, and a fully equipped kitchen, this venue is ideal for a minimalist photoshoot.

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Frame the photos and give them to the guest of honour as a reminder of their beauty and uniqueness!

17. Cook, Share, and Celebrate at Otao Kitchen

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Otao Kitchen offers a space for cooking classes and hosting a private dinner party in Richmond.

If you’re searching for the perfect cooking class and dining space for your partner but need help finding where to look, Otao Kitchen has got you covered!

This spot is ideal for learning tips and tricks from top international chefs who will also share their travel experiences with the guests.

A diverse range of cuisines, including Sri Lankan, Mexican, Japanese, and Korean, includes a selection of cooking classes that are available to delight your partner.

After cooking, enjoy your freshly made dishes with your group!

🍻🎁40th Birthday Ideas for Him in Melbourne

Are you struggling to plan the perfect birthday bash for your better half? Whether he’s into mini-golfing or wine tasting, there are plenty of unique and memorable ways to celebrate his 40th birthday in style!

18. Magic Mini-Golfing at Potion Putt

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Calling all wizards, witches, and mystical creatures to rise and conquer the 10-hole magical mini-golf course. | Potion Putt, District Docklands

Creatures of the mystical world, it’s time for you to shine at the most magical place in town!

If your man has been longing to hit the golf course and have some fun, he’ll be thrilled to celebrate his birthday at Potion Putt.

This place is a dream come true for Harry Potter fans, but don’t worry, it’s not just limited to them! Anyone who appreciates themed cocktails and wizardry mini-golf courses will surely have a blast celebrating their birthday here!

💁🏽‍♀️Pro tip: Turn the birthday party into a fun tournament with mini-prizes for the winners.

19. Whisky Tasting at The Elysian Whisky Bar 

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Whether or not whisky is your preferred libation, The Elysian Whisky Bar caters to all tastes. | The Elysian Whisky Bar, Fitzroy

For those with impeccable taste, nothing screams celebration quite like a whisky-tasting experience at The Elysian Whisky Bar.

This small and cosy party haven can accommodate up to 20 people and is perfect for discerning connoisseurs and casual drinkers. 

This spot speaks for itself with its warm ambience, jazz melodies, and 350 bottles of rare whiskies. 

Get ready to be ‘whisked’ away on a tasting journey!

20. Party at a Sports Bar

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Opt for a relaxed birthday venue like The Sports Bar at Hallam Hotel, Hallam

For those who prefer a laid-back night out with their buddies on their birthday, why not host a party at a sports bar? Here, they can catch up on the latest games, play pool, and indulge in tasty food and drinks.

With a private bar and Bluetooth music capabilities, guests can enjoy their favourite tunes while hanging out with their mates.

21. Head to a Beer Garden

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Beer gardens are a fun birthday idea that’s easy to pull off. | Twang Brewing, North Melbourne

If your partner is a fan of local and original brews, Twang Brewing has you covered. With eight taps offering in-house brews and innovative craft beers from local breweries, there’s something for every beer enthusiast.

But don’t worry if beer isn’t your thing. The menu also includes a variety of cocktails, wines, and mixed drinks to satisfy all tastes.

Whether you’re planning a family gathering or a night out with friends, this birthday venue will surely please.



As W. B. Pitkin famously said, “Life Begins at Forty.”

Whether you choose a low-key celebration or a lavish party, the choice is yours – because you deserve to celebrate your milestone in the right way!

With options ranging from spa days and game nights to themed parties and vineyard tours, there’s no shortage of ways to spice up your 40th birthday celebration in Melbourne.

Take the time to consult with the guest of honour and plan a party that truly reflects how cherished and loved they are.

Happy Birthday!

Celebrate your 40th birthday with a bang!

With over 1,000 venues in Melbourne, you’re in for a great time!


How can I make a 40th birthday special?

Turning 40 marks a significant milestone in most people’s lives. It’s a time to reflect on the past and think about the future. Celebrating this transition in a meaningful way is important. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – consider planning a dinner for two, taking a stroll in the neighbourhood, giving a symbolic gift, or simply spending quality time with the person celebrating. The key is understanding their desires and preferences and organising something enjoyable and memorable for them. Pay attention to their hints or ask them directly what they want to do on their birthday.

How long should a 40th birthday party last?

If you are going for an activity like an escape room, book at least two hours. For longer activities such as museum or haunted house tours, make it at least four hours long. Dinner parties are usually between three and four hours long, while club parties can last a whole night, depending on the mood of the guest of honour. 

How do you prepare for a 40th birthday party?

Start planning early by searching for a venue and activity at least a month in advance. Set a budget before considering venues or activities.

Keep the guest list concise to allow for quality time with each guest and avoid overwhelming the guest of honour.

Choose a date and time that works for the celebrant and guests, considering weekday options to save on venue costs.

Adding a theme to the event can improve the decor and add an element of fun.

Lastly, request RSVPs at least two weeks to adjust the headcount accordingly and avoid overspending at the venue.
If you need further assistance in planning an upcoming birthday party, check out these helpful resources:

1. The Ultimate Guide to Planning the Perfect Birthday Party
2. Beyond Cake and Candles: 20 Creative Ideas for Your Friend’s Birthday

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Forty and Fabulous: Melbourne’s Best 40th Birthday Ideas