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Melbourne - Beyond the Ordinary

Uncover The Top '16' Unusual Things to Do in Melbourne

Last Updated: June 24, 2024 Articles
avatar By Marium Tariq

Explore Melbourne’s City Secrets With Adventure Clues

Melbourne is a city that surprises and delights. Beyond the iconic landmarks and bustling crowds, there’s a hidden world waiting to be explored.

Dive into Melbourne’s secret corners and discover a treasure trove of unique experiences in the CBD. From historic sites whispering tales of the past to quirky laneways in South Melbourne bursting with creativity, this guide will unlock the city’s hidden gems.

Koorie Heritage Trust

The Koorie Heritage Trust is one of the most unique experiences in Melbourne.

Koorie people are Aboriginal people who live in southeastern Australia. The Koorie Heritage Trust gives tours that teach you about their amazing history and culture.

The tours are led by friendly guides who know a lot about the place. They will tell you stories about the Aboriginal people and show you cool things like art installations and more. Normally, the tour starts with a special greeting to the traditional landowners.

The tours are only about an hour long and anyone can join on weekdays at 1 PM.

The Koorie Heritage Trust is at Fed Square, a fun place in the city! You can get there easily by bus, train, or tram. Here are some lines that go close by:

The closest bus stop is just a 4-minute walk from the Trust! Look for the one on Swanston St/Lonsdale St or Tattersalls Lane/Lonsdale St.

Koorie Heritage Trust - Yarra Building photo by Canley (Wikimedia Commons)
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Koorie_Heritage_Trust_-_Yarra_Building,_Fed_Square.jpg

Coop’s Shot Tower

In the heart of Melbourne’s bustling shopping centre, you’ll find a hidden gem – Coop’s Shot Tower! This isn’t your ordinary brick tower. It’s a piece of Melbourne history that’s super cool!

In the past, the tower was used to make tiny lead balls for shooting. They’d melt the lead and pour it from the very top. By the time it splashed into the water below, it would be a perfect, round ball, ready for action.

But times changed, and they don’t make lead shots anymore. Thankfully, they didn’t knock it down. Instead, they did something amazing! They built a giant glass cone around the tower, blending the old tower with a new style. It’s like a history lesson right there in the shopping centre.

Now, inside the tower, there’s a museum where you can learn all about how they used to make lead balls. Feeling adventurous? You can even climb to the top of the tower for a breathtaking view of the city! And if all that climbing makes you thirsty, there’s a cosy cafe on the second floor where you can grab a yummy snack or some high tea.

worm's eye view shot inside Coop's Shot Tower
Source: https://openverse.org/image/5a001111-99fd-499d-a61d-c9926ac020bd

Old Melbourne Gaol

On Russell Street, you can find a cool place known as Old Melbourne Gaol. It’s the oldest jail in Victoria and an important part of Australian History. The building is made of dark and blue stones giving it a perfect historical look. Back in the day, scary criminals were locked up there, including a famous outlaw named Ned Kelly.

Now, if you’re a history buff you should visit Old Melbourne Gaol. Explore the cells, check out the places where they hung criminals, and learn all other interesting facts about the place.

This jail is special and it’s now part of the National Trust of Australia. That means they take care of it and make sure everyone can learn from its history.

The place is an open source to learn how crime and punishment have changed in Australia. Did you know that this jail functioned from 1845 to 1924? And more than 130 people were hanged there. Even though its past is a bit scary, you can still learn from it. So, if you wanna Australia’s history you should visit Old Melbourne Gaol.

facade of Old Melbourne Gaol at night
Source: https://openverse.org/image/cf252733-ffc0-4bd2-a6fe-3e93b195a8d8

Williamstown Botanic Garden

There’s a hidden gem in Melbourne near Melbourne’s scenic coastline called the Williamstown Botanic Garden! It’s just like Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens: secret, full of beauty and history.

This garden is super old, in fact one of the oldest in Victoria. It’s a place with giant trees, all kinds of flowers, and winding paths to explore. The garden is quiet and peaceful, or should I say a perfect escape from the city noise.

The garden is beautiful like a painting! It has a fancy pond and a cool line of palm trees. You can even pack a yummy lunch and have a picnic on the grass.

This garden is perfect for anything you want to do. Take a walk, relax with your family, or even take pictures for a special occasion! The Williamstown Botanic Garden is a fun place to enjoy nature.

Williamstown Botanic Garden walk path with a signage on the side
Source: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSUcSo1zl9qQ6R1WLzT4K9cXeGLKoNkczgnrQ&usqp=CAU

Explore Melbourne CBD And It’s Street Art

Hosier Lane

If you wish to see amazing street art then you should visit Hosier Lane.

Here every piece of art delivers a mini-story, as all the artists have poured their hearts out on the walls. The lane stretches over two streets and delivers a colorful and creative vibe.

Hosier Lane wasn’t always an art gallery. It used to be a regular backstreet, but then some artists decided to use it as their canvas in the early 2000s. Because it’s close to all the cool places in Melbourne, it became a popular spot for both artists and people who love art.

The coolest thing about Hosier Lane is that the art keeps changing! New pictures pop up all the time, so you never know what you’ll see on your next visit. In fact, they even had a giant art party in 2013 where a few of artists came together to paint the whole lane!

So next time you’re in Melbourne, be sure to check out Hosier Lane! It’s a hidden gem with tons of amazing art to see.

people admiring the art at Hosier Lane
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hosier_Lane_Melbourne._%2821380271866%29.jpg

Presgrave Place

Presgrave Place is a secret surprise in Melbourne! It looks normal outside, but walk in, and BAM! Amazing art everywhere.

There are all kinds of cool things to see: pictures in frames, words on the wall, even statues. The art is different for everyone, some might be pretty, some a little scary, but all interesting.

Right outside Presgrave Place, you can also find yummy food from local sellers. We’re talking coffee, pastries, cheese, chocolate, gelato, fresh fruit – everything delicious you can imagine! It’s a great way to try Melbourne’s yummy treats.

Presgrave Place is a special lane in Melbourne that’s full of stories! It started with picture frames on the wall, and now artists use them to show off their cool artwork. Over time, more and more art has been added, making it a collection of different styles.

It’s not fancy like other artsy alleys, but that’s what makes it special. It’s a bit hidden too, tucked away off Little Collins Street. But if you can find it, you’re in for a treat.

framed artworks at Presgrave Place photo by Jacqui Szyrpallo
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152022817@N08/48670020316

Fortress Melbourne

There’s a super cool place in Emporium Melbourne called Fortress Melbourne. It’s like a giant playground for gamers! They have all sorts of video games, from classics like Mario Kart to brand-new ones. Want a break from screens? They have a huge selection of board games, too.

This place is massive! They have tons of high-powered computers for serious gamers, plus comfy spaces for playing on consoles or with friends. They even have special areas for watching esports tournaments, which are like video game competitions.

The staff there are super friendly and can help you find the perfect game. And the best part? Just walking in is free! So whether you’re a pro gamer or just starting out, Fortress Melbourne is a fun place to check out.

gamers inside Fortress Melbourne
Source: https://stevivor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/fortress-esports-990×556.webp

Federation Square – Yarra River

Fed Square is a cool place right in the center of Melbourne! It opened in 2002 and is like a giant town square for everyone to enjoy. You can find Fed Square between Flinders Street Station and the Yarra River.

In the 90s this place was nothing but an old factory site. However, in the late 90s, the city’s administration turned it into a special place to celebrate Melbourne’s creativity, culture, and all the people living there.

The design of Fed Square is one-of-a-kind. It’s like a mini city within the big city, with buildings connected and open spaces for people to relax. Some people didn’t like the modern design at first, but now they’re in love with this place.

There’s always something happening at Fed Square. Here you can find the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the National Gallery of Victoria’s Ian Potter Centre, and the Koorie Heritage Trust. Also, there are different activities including outdoor concerts, art exhibits, and festivals.

BMW Edge, Federation Square photo by Travellers travel photobook / Thesupermat2 (Wikimedia Commons)
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BMW_Edge,_Federation_Square,_Melbourne_CBD_%287548830024%29.jpg

Ponyfish Island — Yarra River

Ever been on a boat that doesn’t move? Sounds weird but we have got that in Melbourne. Ponyfish Island is a cool bar and restaurant floating right on the Yarra River in Melbourne.

Founded by Grant Smilie from 360 Agency and Jerome Borazio of Sister Bella and 1000 Pound Bend to be a hidden hangout in the busy city. They even redesigned it recently to make it even more comfy.

Sit on comfy chairs and watch the city go by while you enjoy a delicious drink or yummy food. They have all sorts of beverages, from fresh cocktails to local beers and wines. Feeling peckish? They have snacks too, like waffles or fancy toast.

What makes Ponyfish Island special? Well, besides being on the water, they have amazing cocktails, friendly staff, and a killer view of the city. It’s the perfect place to relax after a long day or enjoy a yummy brunch on the weekend!

Ponyfish Island at dusk with a partial view of the city skyline
Source: https://openverse.org/image/2adcf112-038c-40aa-913d-b963c35334f7

Adventure Clues Scavenger Hunts For A Unique Melbourne Experience:

Cool Clues of Fitzroy & Collingwood

Cool Clues of Fitzroy And Collingwood
Cool Clues of Fitzroy And Collingwood

Want to be super cool? Try the new Cool Clues tour of Fitzroy and Collingwood.

It’s a fun hunt to discover Melbourne and its hippest neighbourhoods. You’ll walk by unique shops and streets that look like something out of a magazine.

There are 11 clues to solve, and they’ll help you learn all about the cool history, art, fashion, and style of this area. Look out for amazing giant paintings on walls by famous artists, a fence with every colour of the rainbow, and a rhyming statue.

Halfway through, you get a break to explore Brunswick Street, the centre of this cool area. Here you can grab food or drinks with your friends. This is a special adventure, different from a regular walk. It will show you hidden parts of Fitzroy and Collingwood in a fun way.

Ready for an awesome outdoor scavenger hunt? Let’s go explore Melbourne and its cool neighbourhoods together. Click here to get your tickets.

Melbourne Arts and Culture Scavenger Hunt

Melbourne Arts and Culture Scavenger Hunt
Melbourne Arts and Culture Scavenger Hunt

Love art and history? This is the perfect city scavenger hunt for you.

We’ll take you on a secret adventure to find cool art and hidden spots in Melbourne’s art centre. You’ll learn fun facts about the area and the artwork you see along the way. Starting at Federation Square, a big plaza with amazing art, gardens, and buildings.

The walk will also go by the Yarra River, where there are lots of great cafes and bars, if you get thirsty you can grab a drink from them.

We won’t tell you where the walk ends that’s part of the surprise 😉

So take out your artist’s hat and camera, and get searching for clues. It’s the best way to explore your city! Get your tickets here.

Stories & Secrets

Stories & Secrets
Stories & Secrets

Ready for a magical mystery around the University of Melbourne?

This fun adventure feels like stepping into a wizard’s world!

You’ll learn cool secrets about the university’s history, funny stories about students and teachers, and even see where a famous movie was filmed.  There’s also delicious coffee and yummy crepes to enjoy along the way.  Get ready to discover hidden treasures, like Australia’s first underground parking lot.

The university is super old and has taught many amazing people.  This tour will show you all the cool things that happened here.

So are you ready to experience Melbourne? Let’s start by getting lost in the charm of its oldest university. Get tickets to the best treasure hunt in Melbourne here.

Street Art Melbourne

Street Art Melbourne
Street Art Melbourne

Love colourful art? This could be a thrilling scavenger hunt for you.

This next destination will take you on a fun hunt to see the coolest street art.   You’ll walk through hidden alleys filled with amazing paintings and murals by famous artists from all over the world.

There are over 260 cool streets to explore, filled with cafes and shops.  We’ve picked the best streets for you to see, so get your camera ready and follow the clues. This is a great way to spend your day amidst Melbourne’s unique art scene.

Experience includes stop for a coffee break at one of the many cafes along the way.

Melbourne is famous for its vibrant street art. The Street Art tour is perfect for anyone with an eye for a good mural. If you need additional info about the scavenger hunt or buy tickets, click here.

Conclusion

So put on your walking shoes, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to discover a different side of Melbourne. Explore Aboriginal history with the Koorie Heritage Trust, get lost in the artistic wonder of Hosier Lane, or take a trip back in time to the Old Melbourne Gaol. Melbourne’s secret corners offer something for everyone, waiting to be unearthed and cherished.

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Choose Your Melbourne Adventure

Cool Clues of Fitzroy & Collingwood

  • clock
    1.5-2.5 hours
  • difficult
    Medium
  • price
    $25 per person

Get ready to up your cool game with the all new Cool Clues of Fitzroy and Collingwood! This adventure takes you on a whirlwind scavenger hunt of Melbourne's coolest neighbourhoods. Within moments of beginning this trail you'll be wandering past quirk

Melbourne – Arts and Culture Scavenger Hunt

  • clock
    2-3 Hours
  • difficult
    Medium
  • price
    $25 per person

Arts and Culture Lovers, this is the trail for you! This cryptic adventure will lead you through the lesser-travelled spaces on a search for public art and sights in the Melbourne arts precinct and surrounds.

Stories & Secrets

  • clock
    1.5-2 Hours
  • difficult
    Medium
  • price
    $25 per person

This cryptic adventure takes you around The Historic University of Melbourne and you’ll feel as if you have been transported into a wizards magical world! You’ll get to discover the university’s rich history, ranging from its cultural impact