The tour takes you around this thriving, multi-cultural, creativity fuelled area and shows you some of its hidden gems that are doing things a little differently and in a much more sustainable way then your run of the mill cafes, businesses, and stores.
I'm not going to give too much away in this article, because I don't want to ruin any surprises and want tour-goers to experience the inspiration and "oh wows" themselves. But, I will share my experience of the tour and a few things we saw along the way.
The people we met were incredibly knowledgable in their space and very generous with their time. Their enthusiasm was palpable, as were our guides, and they were more than happy to answer as many questions as we had for them.
This is what makes this tour for me - the opportunity to interact with these passionate people and find out more about the behind-the-scenes of these industries and sustainable initiatives face to face.
The other tour-goers were also very passionate about sustainability and interesting to talk to too. As the maximum amount of people on these tours is only 10 people, it is very intimate and you get to know everyone else on the tour as you go. No one gets lost in the crowd and everyone gets the chance to interact.
Our first stop was a local coffee roaster and cafe that has implemented a number of initiatives to lessen its waste and make it as eco-friendly as possible. A great first stop to get caffeinated before the rest of the tour!
Next, we visited a store that sells wares for people who produce their own food like honey, bread, preserves, and cheese. We tasted local honey and learnt about beekeeping and the local bee industry and were lucky to catch the end of a cheesemaking class they were giving on the day.
We then visited an ethical design store that only sells items made by local artists - from books to pottery to bags to uniquely printed fabric products. This gorgeous shop also had some exciting behind the scenes sustainability initiatives to share.
Our next stop was an inner city bean-to-bar chocolate makers! We had a chocolate tasting of a few of their utterly delicious vegan chocolates and learnt about how they make them.
We also stayed for some seriously refreshing iced tea made from fruits and herbs from this cafe's food garden, which is in a laneway out back and even includes some quails that produce eggs for the cafe's kitchen!
Another thing I loved about this tour is that it was never rushed; we were able to hang around and chat and look around for as long as we liked.
Lastly, we visited a local environmental park and discovered a few of its little-known enterprises. I have been to this particular place many times before and still found out a few things I had no idea about!
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone with an interest in sustainability or building eco-friendly communities. I learnt so much and went home feeling extremely inspired.
The urban eco-tour company also does tours of Fitzroy and Collingwood in Melbourne and its big sister GreenMe Berlin runs the original GreenMe tour in Berlin. There is loads of eco-inspiration out there and they help you find it!