Filled with green open spaces, superb gastronomy and a vibrant cultural scene, Australia’s most cosmopolitan city is also brimming with unique experiences. If you’re on the hunt for unique things to do in Melbourne, this guide is for you.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #1: Hunt For Street Art
Melbourne’s iconic Parisian-style laneways and Diagon Alley-like arcades, covered with constantly changing street art, are an essential part of Melbourne’s cityscape. The best ways to explore Melbourne’s urban art scene is to take a street art tour run by the street artists themselves.
Discover the stories behind the famous street art at Hosier Lane and Degraves Street, and check out lesser-known spots such as AC/DC Lane, Croft Alley and Centre Place. If you’re heading out on your own, we recommend waking up early to beat the crowds.
Pro tip: On Degraves Street, don't miss a scoop of delicious gelato from Pidapipó Gelateria, a shop selling authentic Italian ice cream in original flavours, including ricotta, cannelloni and Nutella, mascarpone berry and biscotti crumble, and pina colada.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #2: Enjoy Green Spaces Inside The City
With its abundant green open spaces, Melbourne consistently ranks as one of the most liveable cities in the world. Within the inner city, you’ll find the serene Royal Botanic Gardens, the unusual yet beautiful Fitzroy Gardens, and the award-winning Victoria State Rose Garden — all offering uniquely Melbourne experiences.
To get a unique, close-up view of the Royal Botanic Gardens and its abundant wildlife, try a guided boat cruise on a punt, which will glide between the bays and islands of Ornamental Lake. Take the Aboriginal Heritage Walk to discover the rich history and thriving culture of the local First Peoples, including their connection and traditional uses for Australian native plants. If you love succulents, check out the sprawling succulent and cacti garden at Guilfoyle's Volcano.
Find quiet sanctuary from the bustle of the Melbourne CBD in Fitzroy Gardens, where you can take a stroll to explore unusual and fun places, including a model Tudor Village (perfect for kids), a Spanish mission-style Conservatory (with its spectacular floral displays), and Captain Cook’s 1755 family cottage (relocated from Yorkshire and reassembled here).
Does the sound of being surrounded by 5 hectares of lovingly cultivated, blooming rose gardens sound appealing? Head over to the Victoria State Rose Garden, which was the first garden outside Europe to win the coveted International Garden of Excellence Award by the World Federation Of Rose Societies.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #3: Explore Melbourne’s Cultural Scene
Melbourne is a mecca for people who love comedy, films and the performing arts. If you’re in the neighbourhood, we recommend heading to the Astor Theatre, an Art Deco cinema that opened its doors in 1936, to see a classic old Hollywood film or newly released movie. A cultural hub for film buffs, the venue offers double features, remastered classics, new and independent movies, film festivals and special events throughout the year.
Prefer live performances? Catch a live performance at the Comedy Theatre, which hosts a wide range of comedy and theatre shows in a stunning building whose facade mirrors a Florentine palace.
For a surprisingly fun peek behind the scenes at the State Library of Victoria, check out their Dome to Catacomb tour, a free tour that will take you through the hidden surprises at the library. Roam the building from top to bottom, venture into the depths of the catacombs, learn about the local ghosts and ghouls, and enjoy an aerial view of the domed reading room.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #4: Explore The Local Markets
Melbourne is brimming with fun markets to explore. The Chapel Street Bazaar is a treasure trove of retro kitsch and antiques, while the bustling open-air Queen Victoria Markets are a favourite among locals and tourists alike for its fresh local produce, meat and dairy, secondhand and new clothing and bric-à-brac.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #5: Get Your Art Fix
Art lovers can rejoice knowing that Melbourne is home to some stunning world-class art galleries. One of the most celebrated art galleries in Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria boasts 75,000 works of art from the likes of Monet, Picasso and influential Australian artists, not to mention an awe-inspiring stained glass ceiling in the Great Hall: the largest suspended piece of stained glass in the world.
The Ian Potter Centre offers a unique experience with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian art from the colonial period to the present day, while the Heide Museum of Modern Art houses a broad range of expressionist and abstract art, assembled over five decades. Its impressive collection is hosted inside three buildings, encircled by sixteen acres of heritage-listed gardens and a sculpture park.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #6: Feast On Street Food
If you consider yourself a foodie, one thing you cannot miss is investigating Melbourne’s food scene. From street food haunts to fine dining, Melbourne has it all. Tuck into street food at Northcote’s Welcome To Thornbury or find yourself in food truck heaven at the Queen Victoria Markets Wednesday Night Market. Treat yourself to an exquisite experience at Attica or Dans Le Noir, where you dine in the dark to focus and sharpen your senses, savouring first-class wine and food. Fancy stretching your legs while discovering what makes Melbourne’s food culture special? Try a Chocolate tour, Multicultural Food tour or the Dumpling Discovery Walk tour.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #7: Explore Nature Outside of the City
Tucked close to Melbourne are some truly wondrous natural landscapes and scenery that are worth exploring if you have the time. First of all, the winding stretch of road, the Great Ocean Road, is world-famous for its beautiful vistas for a reason. If you like chasing waterfalls, spend the day at Steavenson Falls, where you can find one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls.
Best of all, if you are travelling in September, seize the opportunity to view Australia’s own version of the Northern Lights – the Southern Lights or the Aurora Australis. Our picks for places to view this spectacular natural phenomenon include Point Lonsdale, Flinders, Cape Schanck, the south side of Phillip Island, Tidal River at Wilsons Promontory, Aireys Inlet or Anglesea.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #8: Take A Class and Pick Up New Skills
Do you secretly harbour a longing to learn traditional skills such as wine-making, gin-making, butchery skills? You’re in luck with Melbourne’s wide array of artisan classes.
At Noisy Ritual, Melbourne’s only urban winery, you can not only feast and drink, but you can also squish grapes with the venue’s winemaking classes. If you’re more of a gin lover, you can try your hand at making your own gin recipe at Bass and Flinders Distillery’s masterclass, where you’ll learn about the history of gin and take home a 500ml bottle for your efforts. Learn about organic farming practice, how beef is broken down into its primal cuts, and different uses for each cut of meat at Hagen’s Organics’ butchery class.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #9: Explore Melbourne’s Secret Bars
You may not realise it based on how Melbourne looks during the daytime, but Melbourne’s labyrinthine laneways are full of hidden bars that come awake at night. Each secret bar has its own unique personality. If the idea of turning a few unlit corners, pushing through an unmarked door and discovering yourself in a secret bar thrills you, we recommend checking out Melbourne’s landscape of hidden bars. Here are some ideas for your adventure:
- Whiskey and blues lovers: Check out Beneath Driver Lane, a speakeasy-style bar hidden inside a subterranean bank vault below the Melbourne CBD
- Pizza and cocktails: In the back doors of the humble pizza restaurant, Pizza Pizza Pizza, you’ll find a moody, unnamed bar that offers top-notch classic cocktails
- East meets West Berlin atmosphere: Berlin is a quirky, retro-style bar that draws inspiration from history to split its space between an opulent West Berlin and communist East, serving up interesting and classic cocktails
- A fancy garden party with rooftop views: Madame Brussels — a pink-and-white vintage style bar that resembles a kooky Alice in Wonderland garden party — is only accessible by an unmarked lift
Discover more unique secret bars in Melbourne.
Unique Thing To Do In Melbourne #10: Take A Spooky Ghost Tour
Interested in exploring Melbourne’s fascinating and grisly colonial history? Melbourne offers lots of spooky tours, from ghost tours to Pentridge Prison to Williamstown and a walkthrough ‘Old Melbourne’ after dark. You can also visit the Old Melbourne Gaol after hours or take a night tour of the Melbourne General Cemetery.
Interested in a Melbourne adventure? Contact Hughes Limousines on 1300 615 165 and hire one of our luxury chauffeured vehicles to explore the city today.