Melbourne is more than just the ‘Sporting Capital of the World.’ This city is one of the most liveable places globally and a popular tourist destination. While it’s fun to visit well-known spots indicated on a fixed itinerary, finding hidden gems some locals might not know is exciting. Sometimes, these secret locations may add flavour to an otherwise simple trip.
You don’t need to go on a treasure hunt to find these spots. This article will give you Melbourne’s best-hidden attractions that’ll make your tour in the city a little more worthwhile:
1. Fitzroy Saturday Markets And Gardens
East Melbourne, particularly in Fitzroy, is a haven for hipster aesthetic enthusiasts. The eclectic street art, bars, and galleries are popular sites where the student and professional population of the city come to unwind. Take a stroll down Brunswick Street for eateries, or try the markets or reserves nearby. Fitzroy’s Saturday markets are a true gem for tourists looking for thrifty and trendy items to bring back home.
If the crowds overwhelm you, you can find sanctuary in the Fitzroy Gardens behind the State Parliament. Here, you can enter the Conservatory, which houses many florals displayed all year round and plays classical music nonstop. It’s open daily to the public from 9 AM to 5 PM and only closes during Christmas or December 25th.
2. Cat Café Melbourne
Themed cafes with living animals are like petting zoos with a twist, and Melbourne isn’t straying far from the trend. The Cat Café Melbourne is Australia’s first themed cat café where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while snuggling with a little kitty.
To find this enigmatic café, you’ll need to pass through Guildford Lane, which leads to three other laneways. Once you spot a brick wall and a building that resembles a warehouse, you’re there! Feel free to order any available drinks and snacks and play with their friendly cats in this secret nook in the middle of a metropolitan town.
The café also has merchandise available for cat fans and cat owners alike. If you have room in your heart and home, you could even adopt one of the kitties or donate to the café and the local cat shelters.
3. Williamstown Botanic Gardens
If you can’t get over Fitzroy Garden’s Conservatory, you’re just in luck. The Williamstown Botanic Gardens is one of the best places to enjoy the greenery while having a picnic near the sea.
Once an area dedicated to assessing imported plant life living in the Australian climate, it’s now a venue for tourists to visit. Head over if you’re tired of getting sand in your toes from nearby Williamstown Beach and see the ornamental pond and exotic plants featured in the gardens.
4. The Meat Market Stables
One of the world’s best public art displays makes Melbourne its home. The Meat Market Stables in North Melbourne, in particular, provides both visual and performance arts for visitors and locals looking for some creativity on a monotonous day. It’s also, surprisingly or not, challenging to find on your first time in the city. So, it makes this list, but it has other reasons for you to check out, too.
If you’re fortunate to be at The Stables when an art exhibit or the Poppy Seed Theatre Festival is on schedule, don’t pass the opportunity. It’s one way to see the local art scene and enjoy talented people providing a grand show for their audience. Afterwards, you could visit one of Melbourne’s best cafes called Auction Rooms on Errol Street near Vic Market.
5. Shrine Of Remembrance
This location isn’t precisely hidden per se since it’s a massive building on Birdwood Avenue. It’s also a well-known tourist location, but there’s a ‘secret’ location inside, which is why it’s on this list.
You may notice a particular stairway when you enter the Shrine of Remembrance. Climb up here, and you’ll find yourself in a viewpoint on the building’s first level. Take your camera out next because this may be the best view you’ll have of Melbourne’s magnificent skyline.
6. Chuckle Park
No, this hidden gem in Melbourne won’t hit you with the giggles. But if you walk past this bar and learn what you just missed, you could start chuckling. Chuckle Park is an alleyway bar and café hidden in a tiny path of Little Collins Street.
It’s a fantastic place to relax and have some pulled pork rolls and sangria on a lazy afternoon. The café is also beautifully decorated with living plants and hanging lanterns and is perfect for taking pictures. Drop by and hang out with your travel companions when you need to recharge before checking out the other hidden attractions.
7. Gin Palace
Not all dark alleyways are terrifying. Sometimes, they lead to bright and safe places, like the Gin Palace. Located in Russell Place, this is Melbourne’s original gin bar, and it’s an elegant venue filled with velvet drapes, lounges, and all the embellishments. Sip gin martinis here to your heart’s content if you’d like to feel fancy after a long day of touring the city.
If you visit in June during World Gin Day, you may get a chance to learn some drink mixes from the staff and have refreshing cocktails afterward. You could even choose from their extensive menu if you prefer something that suits your tastes.
Drinks in the Gin Palace lean towards the expensive side, however. It might be too much for Melbourne backpackers looking for food and beverages on a budget. But if you have the extra funds or would like to splurge just once during your trip, this place is the one to visit.
Melbourne is a lovely modern city with fascinating secrets waiting for tourists to find them. So, pay attention to where you’re going when in the area. You just might miss the next best spot the city has to offer.