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Melbourne Storm Water Drains (Maze Drain or Tunnels)

Last Updated: July 21, 2024 City Secrets
avatar By Sam Baldwin
The tunnels are an engineering project designed to manage stormwater and prevent urban flooding. They are crucial for the city’s infrastructure, particularly during heavy rains.

Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia


The tunnels are an integral part of the city’s infrastructure, designed to manage stormwater and reduce the risk of flooding. Hidden beneath the city, these tunnels are a testament to Melbourne’s advanced engineering capabilities and commitment to urban sustainability.

While primarily functional, the tunnels also represent the city’s proactive approach to environmental challenges. They ensure the city’s resilience against extreme weather, playing a crucial role in protecting vibrant urban areas.

The Story of the Maze

Completed in the early 21st century, it represents a significant engineering feat designed to address the city’s challenges with flooding and stormwater management. These tunnels are part of a larger strategy to protect the urban environment and ensure the sustainability of Melbourne’s water systems.

By diverting excess stormwater to the bay, the tunnels mitigate potential damage and disruption caused by natural weather events, safeguarding both historical and new developments. Beyond their practical purpose, the Storm Tunnels highlight the city’s commitment to innovative infrastructure solutions.

They offer an example of how modern engineering can intersect with urban planning to enhance city resilience and quality of life. Tours of the tunnels provide a unique insight into the hidden aspects of city management, showcasing the complex systems that operate beneath the bustling city streets.

artistic representation of Melbourne Storm Tunnels


What Are Melbourne Storm Tunnels Famous For?

They are an integral part of the city’s modern infrastructure, designed to protect against flooding and enhance water management. This network of underground tunnels, capable of diverting large volumes of stormwater, showcases Melbourne’s commitment to innovative engineering solutions.

The tunnels are a critical asset in safeguarding the city’s central business district and surrounding areas from water-related disasters. Besides their practical function, the Storm Tunnels are a marvel of civil engineering, attracting those interested in urban planning and sustainability.

Tours of the tunnels offer a unique perspective on the complexities of managing a modern city’s infrastructure needs. They exemplify how Melbourne combines urban development with sustainability and resilience, making them a notable example of effective urban management.

Did You Know?

How To Get There?

Remember that it’s illegal to enter the underground tunnels. However, if you want to see the maze drains, the following transit lines have routes that pass near it.

Bus: 609, 624, 200, 207

Train: Alamein, Belgrave

Tram: 75, 48, 16, 70

Taxi: Go Catch, Uber, OLA

Nearest Parking and Cost

The following parking places are located near Maze Drains:
Linda Cres – free

1 Wakefield St – free

5 Park St –   free

3 Alfred St – $2/hr

Nearby Attractions – Make A Day Of It!

Planning on touring the tunnels? These nearby places also offer other perspectives on city life.

This scenic waterfall, located within the Yarra River National Park, offers a tranquil escape from the city, with walking trails and breathtaking views of cascading water.

This renowned museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits showcasing the rich history and natural wonders of Victoria and beyond.

Top 5 Closest Hidden Gems – Recommended By Adventure Clues

Destination Distance from the Maza Drain
Coop’s Shot Tower 0.3 km
Royal Arcade 0.4 km
Federation Square 0.5 km
Hosier Lane 0.6 km
The Block Arcade 0.7 km

Your Hidden Gems Itinerary

  1. Start above the Maze Drains, but don’t go there.
  2. Visit Coop’s Shot Tower: Learn about its fascinating history and marvel at the impressive architecture.
  3. Take a walk to the Royal Arcade: Wander through this iconic shopping arcade, filled with boutiques, cafes, and historical charm.
  4. Make your way to Federation Square: Experience the cultural hub of Melbourne, where you can catch live performances, visit art galleries, or simply relax and people-watch in this bustling public space.
  5. Head towards Hosier Lane: Immerse yourself in a vibrant street art scene as you explore this iconic laneway filled with colorful murals and graffiti.
  6. Conclude your day exploring The Block Arcade: Step back in time as you wander through this stunning heritage-listed arcade, renowned for its ornate decor and upscale boutiques.

As evening sets in, you might enjoy taking a scenic drive or a tram ride through the city to see Melbourne illuminated at night, offering a different perspective on its beauty.

Best Eateries Around

In the area above the tunnels, there are several options for a meal.

Ninis offers a vibrant atmosphere with stunning indoor and outdoor seating. Their menu features a delicious blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, perfect for a memorable dining experience.

renowned for its authentic Italian cuisine. Established in 2014, they serve classic Venetian dishes alongside world-class cocktails, creating an unforgettable dining journey.

artistic representation of a map of Melbourne storm tunnels


No Entry Price, Don’t Trespass

It is illegal to enter the Maze Drains, so no one should ever ask you for a fee.

Final Thoughts

The tunnels offer an intriguing glimpse into the city’s efforts to manage its waterways and prevent flooding. These tunnels attract those interested in engineering and urban planning, showcasing a vital aspect of the city’s infrastructure.

Tour the tunnel openings to uncover their utilitarian role beneath the city. Engage with Melbourne Scavenger Hunts by Adventure Clues for an informative exploration.

Melbourne Storm Tunnels FAQs

Find answers about the storm tunnels, focusing on their history and the current legal restrictions concerning entry.

When is the best time to visit Melbourne Storm Tunnels?

Check busy times and typical weather patterns to decide the best timing for your trip.

Month Avg. Temperature (C) Avg. Rainfall (mm) Tourist Crowds
January 19.8 46.4 Very Busy
February 19.3 44.1 Busy
March 17.7 47.6 Busy
April 15.2 54.9 Very Quiet
May 12.9 59.3 Quiet
June 10.6 58.2 Quiet
July 9.4 53.3 Very Quiet
August 10.5 51.3 Quiet
September 12.6 52.1 Very Quiet
October 15.4 57.3 Busy
November 17.6 49.6 Busy
December 18.9 43.5 Very Busy

What is a maze drain?

A maze drain refers to a complex network of stormwater drains designed in a labyrinthine manner, often resembling a maze. These structures are integral components of modern city infrastructure, ensuring efficient water outflow management to reduce the risk of flash floods.

In Melbourne, maze drains are particularly fascinating due to their intricate brickwork, spacious cylindrical tunnels, and numerous junctions. Urban explorers, like the Cave Clan, are drawn to these subterranean waterways for the thrill of navigating their cobwebbed passages and peering into murky intersections.

What are the dangers of entering a storm drain?

Entering a storm drain poses several dangers. The risk of sudden flash floods is a primary concern, with explorers often hearing rushing water up ahead. Toxic gases and low oxygen levels can lead to suffocation, while confined spaces can cause claustrophobia and cramping.

Physical injuries from slipping on filth, coming into contact with rusted rungs, or encountering sharp objects on concrete walls are common. Wildlife, such as spiders with neurotoxic venom, and cockroaches, can also be hazardous. Additionally, explorers face legal risks, as many entrances are secured by grates or located near high-traffic areas like freeways.

Who is the Cave Clan?

The Cave Clan is a group of urban explorers who originated in Melbourne, Australia, in the late 1980s. They are renowned for their exploration of underground tunnels, drains, and caverns, particularly those beneath Melbourne. The Cave Clan has become a cultural phenomenon, emphasizing the thrill of exploring hidden passages and maze drains.

Their adventures often involve navigating the elaborate storm drain systems around Melbourne, signing their names on walls, and documenting their journeys in guestbooks. The group’s activities have been featured in various media, including Atlas Obscura.

What is the Anzac Drain?

The Anzac Drain is a notable storm drain located in Melbourne, named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Known for its spacious passages and intricate archways, the drain is a favorite among urban explorers and graffiti artists.

It’s recognized for its historical significance and its elaborate network of tunnels, which include intersections like the “pit of death” and long stretches where traffic passes overhead. The Anzac Drain’s entrances are often hidden, requiring adventurers to wade through black water and navigate through manholes, making it one of Melbourne’s most famous underground sites.


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