Weird Tours of Melbourne Once you've covered the well-known landmarks of Melbourne, you may think there's not much more to see. However, these quirky tours reveal Melbourne's hidden culture to even the most seasoned locals.
There's more to Melbourne than meets the eye. Photo credit: s2 art.
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Get acquainted with an expert tour guide who will pass on their knowledge about Melbourne's ghosts, or edible weeds, or even the feng shui of Chinatown.
Or, go on a self-guided tour at your own pace, map in hand, and learn about the secrets lurking in Melbourne's past, or about women's often overlooked history. Self-guided tours are usually cheap or free, and can be done to your own schedule, although they lack the social experience that can be had on a group tour.
Click through the pages for a selection of the best and most unique tours that take to Melbourne's streets.
Edible Weeds Walk Snacking on the go is so much easier if you know what kind of weeds are edible and nutritious. Apparently, plenty of the urban weeds in Melbourne are perfectly fine to eat, and some even taste good, as you learn on the Edible Weeds Walk. Other weeds can be put to use for composting or used for their medicinal properties.
Can you eat this one? Find out on the Edible Weeds Tour. Photo credit: Gramody.
Despite this tour taking place outdoors amongst plant life, you don't have to travel to an obscure country location for it. It takes place in the inner suburb of Brunswick, culminating at the leafy CERES Community Environment Park. The fully guided walk takes about two hours to complete.
The Edible Weeds Walk costs $20 per person, or $15 concession. The walks are run by Very Edible Gardens, which also offers courses for beginner gardeners including drought-proofing your garden, designing an edible oasis and a guide to chicken ownership.
Ghost Tours Despite having only been founded in 1835, Melbourne is home to plenty of ghosts, as these ghost tours would have you believe.
The original and most well-known Melbourne ghost tour, Haunted Melbourne, is run by Drew Sinton, who is known for his role hosting the Channel 31 TV show Haunted Australia and being the owner of the Haunted Bookshop. With a fascination with the occult and an expert on local supernatural happenings, he is the perfect tour guide for discovering Melbourne's ghosts.
Haunted Melbourne runs every Saturday night at 8:30pm, starting at the Haunted Bookshop, and takes you to the city's creepy dark laneways in search of spirits. The tour costs $20 per person, or $18 concession, and takes two hours.
Drew Sinton doesn't have a monopoly on Melbourne's ghosts, however. Old Melbourne Ghost Tours are run as more of a narrative, whisking away your imagination on a journey of murder though Melbourne's laneways by dark.
Old Melbourne tours run on Friday and Saturday nights, at 8:30pm and again at 10:30pm. The tour has a duration of one and a half hours, and costs $25 per adult or $20 concession, and $15 per child.
Feng Shui Tour of Chinatown
When you walk through Chinatown, you don't usually notice how much effort traders go to in adopting Feng Shui principles for their buildings and shop fronts. You can see that this city street is vastly different from the rest, having a culture of dragons, pillars and plenty of gold and red. On the Feng Shui Tour, you are invited to consider the influence of the Chinese art on Chinatown's distinctive look.
Learn the Feng Shui principles which underlie Chinatown.
Hosted by Master Jodi Brunner, a qualified Feng Shui expert, the tours are informative and entertaining. Jodi explains how Feng Shui governs the choices of local merchants to decorate their stores to invite harmony, prosperity and luck.
The two-hour tour runs at 10am on some Sundays, at a cost of $25 per person. Enquiries and bookings can be made through Jodi's website, which has details about upcoming tours as dates are established.
Delve into the city's mysterious past with the Strange Tour. The audio tour directs you to landmarks and little-known buildings, and lets you listen in on events speculated to have occurred in that place at various periods in Melbourne's history. The voice re-enactments are supposedly true, having been based on rumour and news articles of the day, although just how true is left for the listener to decide.
You begin in 1891, with an explanation of how the original parliamentary mace disappeared, and weave your way through the city in the twentieth century before ending at a 1994 nightclub raid. Some are disconcerting, such as the secret about the ingredients of dim sims, others are adorable, with one of the secrets being told from the perspective of the gargoyles atop the Gothic Bank. There are seven secrets in total, each with of duration of just a few minutes.
The Gothic Bank reveals its secrets on the Strange Tour.
The Strange Tour is self-guided, so you can do it whenever you want. It takes about two hours to complete the tour if you walk between locations, however you can shorten the journey by getting on a tram where possible.
Seven day access to the tour costs $30, or twenty-four hour access to individual secrets costs $7 each. Buy access here.
The Women's Map of Melbourne Tour
Another self-guided tour, the Women's Map of Melbourne takes you to places in inner-city Melbourne that are of particular relevance to women in our city's history. It may not have crossed your mind that there was ever a first women's public toilet in Melbourne, but before 1902 there were only facilities for men. This map will direct you to the first women's public toilet and other historically significant landmarks.
See where this very protest took place on the self-guided tour of the Women's Map of Melbourne.
The map pamphlet can be downloaded for free online, or you can obtain a hard copy from the Union of Australian Women at 247 Flinders Lane. You can walk the tour at any time or get on the free city circle tram, which goes past each of the nine notable sites.
A few other sites not in the city circle loop significant to women's history, such as the Women's Peace Garden and Pioneer Women's Garden are mentioned in the pamphlet, for those wanting to venture further out of the city.