If you’re looking to get off the tourist trail and want some quirkiness from your visit, here are 10 more things you can do with your time in Melbourne.
1. Kryal Castle Australia’s only medieval castle, Kryal Castle is home to brave knights, duelling warriors, dragons, mysteries, mazes, and plenty of medieval adventures. The kids will absolutely love it, and once they’ve slain the dragon and conquered the maze, they can even have a go at archery.
Visit: Open Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, as well as school and public holidays. Tickets start at $35.
Get There: Grab the train to Ballarat Station; the castle is just there
2. Cat Cafe What could be better than enjoying a latte in a homely cafe surrounded by dozens of friendly, happy, rescue cats? Melbourne’s Cat Cafe (the first one in Australia) does just that. Operating primarily as a cat rescue and a cafe second, the kitties are the priority and are spoilt rotten. You’ll get spoilt too, with a steaming hot cup of coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
Visit: Open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm. 1-hour sessions cost $12 and must be booked in advance.
Get There: Take the tram to Melbourne Central on Elizabeth Street. The cafe is nearby in Guildford Lane.
3. Crafternoon The perfect place to keep the kids happy, Crafternoon is a cafe where you can eat and create all under one roof. Choose from creating with playdough, painting, badge making, or a heap of other educational and fun sessions to keep the children entertained while you enjoy high tea. It’s not just for little people either — adults can also try their hand at something crafty while there.
Visit: Open daily (except Thursdays) from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Get There: Located on Sydney Road in Brunswick
4. Guided Boat Tours at the Royal Botanic Gardens Capture the historic beauty of the gardens from a watery vantage point. Jump on board a wooden punt and enjoy a serene cruise around the islands dotted throughout this picturesque ornamental lake. Your own personal guide will talk you through the Gardens’ history, flora, and fauna. Perfect for stress-free sightseeing!
Visit: Guided boat tours run from 10:15am-5:00pm (September to May) and 11:00am-3:30pm (June to August). Tickets start at $25 per person.
5. Make Your Own Gin At Bass & Flinders Distillery, you can make your very own gin. First, you’ll take a masterclass in gin distillation, and by the end of the tour will have created not 1 but 2 unique flavours of gin. You’ll get a large bottle of it to take with you afterwards, and the distillery will keep your recipe on file so you can order more when you run out (or decide to gift your creation to friends).
Visit: Book 2-hour classes in advance for $140 per person
Get There: The distillery is located on Red Hill Road in Red Hill
6. Western Water Treatment Plant If heavy machinery and large civic operations are your things, a tour around the Western Water Treatment Plant will show how the plant works and let you experience the scale and environmental importance of the site. Take a guided tour around the treatment rooms and processes to learn how energy is captured from methane gas and how the nearby wetlands are looked after.
Visit: Tickets start at $12 for adults, and tours must be pre-booked
Get There: The plant is located in Werribee and easily accessible by car
7. Eerie Ghost Tours If you like all things ghost related, Eerie Tours offers ghost tours around some unique sites, including a cemetery, a sprawling old asylum, and an unused gaol. There are talks and tales along the way, and if you’re lucky you might come face-to-supernatural-face with a ghost or 2. Not for the faint-hearted!
Visit: Prices start at $27.50 per adult (less for kids)
Get There: Tours are based in Ararat, Ballarat, and the Gold Rush Cemetery, and must be pre-booked
8. Join the Circus You no longer have to run away to join the circus; now you can do it while you’re here in Melbourne! Circus Oz offers classes in all things circus, including trapeze, hula hoops, German Wheels, acrobatics, flying, and even tumbling. They offer classes for both children and adults, and you can also book tickets to see one of their shows. Circus Oz does not use animals in their performances.
Visit: Prices vary depending on the course
Get There: Based in Johnston Street, Collingwood. Take the 86 tram to Johnston St/Smith St.
9. Neighbours Tour For fans of the long-running show, the Neighbours Tour is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You will be taken on a guided tour of the Ramsey Street set, as well as other key locations used in the show. There’s a very strong chance you’ll meet one of the stars on your tour, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take photos and learn exclusive story details too.
Visit: Open Monday to Friday. Prices start at $59 per adult.
10. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is an authentic Colonial tramcar that has been transformed into a 5-star dining experience. The beautiful wagons cruise through the city streets as you enjoy freshly prepared cuisine surrounded by Victorian history and opulence. The restaurant will arrive back at the departure point at the end of the evening, and bookings can be in short supply.
Visit: Open daily year round. Prices start at $90 per person, including all food and drink.
Get There: Take the tram to stop 125 Normanby Road