55 unusual & unique things to do in Melbourne
Think you’ve seen and done all that Melbourne has to offer? Think again. Here’s an epic list of unique things to do in Melbourne.
Keen to see a different side of Melbourne?
Perhaps you’re a soon-to-be or frequent traveller who want to go beyond the main tourist sites.
Or, you simply want to delve a little deeper into the city you call home.
Well, rest assured – there’s plenty of unusual and unique things to do in Melbourne.
Love art? Explore a ‘housemuseum’.
Want to learn something new? Discover how to make gin or go on a tour to discover which common weeds can be incorporated into your cooking routine.
No matter what your preference – history buff, nature enthusiast, foodie, adrenaline seeker or fitness freak – there’ll be something here to suit you. Even during the winter months in Melbourne.
Unique things to do in Melbourne
Here’s a list of some of the more unusual things to do in Melbourne.
1. Explore the Lyon Housemuseum in Kew
The Lyon Housemuseum is a hybrid private house and museum… hence the name.
It’s the private residence of Corbett and Yueji Lyon. Designed by Corbett, it plays host to works of contemporary art, architecture and design.
This housemuseum is open for tours on designated days of the year. Pre-bookings are essential. It’s definitely one of the more unique things to do in Melbourne.
There’s a second spectacular house museum in nearby Prahran – the Justin Art House Museum, which is also well-worth a visit.
Find out more about visiting the Lyon Housemuseum.
2. Punt on the Lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens
There are many things on offer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, but one of the coolest things you can do there is go punting on the lake.
Punt for a lazy 30 minutes by day or choose an evening hour-long tour. It’s a wonderful option for a quirky date in Melbourne.
3. Smash Things at The Break Room in Collingwood
An innovative and sustainable idea, this is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Melbourne.
At the Break Room you are given 20 minutes to destroy things in a self-contained room, to the music of your choice.
Work through any lingering issues with an ex lover/friend, or overbearing boss – or just have a smashing good time.
4. Visit the Heide Museum of Modern Art
Most visitors to Melbourne flock to the National Gallery of Victoria – and fair enough. Its two beautiful venues regularly feature world-class exhibitions.
However, it is very much worth making a trip to Heide in the city’s east. This museum houses modern and contemporary art.
It also has 16 acres of gardens and sculpture park to explore, which includes a renowned kitchen garden.
View the latest exhibition offerings.
5. Explore secret bars
One of the most unique things to do in Melbourne is to get out and explore the city’s themed bars.
Melbourne’s got a pretty happening nightlife, filled with themed and rooftop drinking venues.
The watering holes that are most fun are the secret bars, which are hidden across the city in dark alleyways, through clothing stores… even behind a sandwich shop.
6. Squish grapes and drink wine at Noisy Ritual
Noisy Ritual is at this point, the city’s only urban winery, making it truly unique place to visit in Melbourne.
The winery makes its own vintage, allows patrons to feast and drink onsite and offers wine-making classes.
Check it out for yourself and perhaps even book onto a wine-making workshop, where you can stomp and press to your heart’s content.
7. Or create your own gin
After a little ginspiration?
Head to Bass and Flinders Distillery to attend their gin making masterclass.
You’ll learn about the history of gin and create your own recipe. The take-home 500ml bottle of bespoke gin is sure to lift your spirits.
Looking for other things to do in Melbourne and Victoria? Check out these related posts.
↠ Fan of things that go bump in the night?
Explore Melbourne’s most haunted places
↠ Got a trivia night coming up?
Read these rather bizarre facts about Melbourne
↠ Love urban art?
8. Go on a mystery picnic
A mystery picnic is an excellent way to get to know an area of Melbourne – and satisfy any belly cravings in one fell swoop.
You’re given a series of clues to follow, to gather the gourmet goodies needed to enjoy a delicious picnic spread.
Find out more about mystery picnicking in Melbourne.
9. Dine out at Attica
Okay, Melbourne is admittedly a food lover’s paradise. I’m yet to have a bad meal in the city and have been lucky enough to sit down for what is considered one of the best fine dining experiences in the country, at Attica.
Located in the unassuming suburb of Rippon Lea, a table usually has to be booked at least three months in advance and it’s not the cheapest of experiences.
However, I can say from personal experience that it’s worth every cent. I’ve eaten at a few fancy digs in my life and this one blew my mind, to the point where I considered it a definite highlight of 2018.
10. Visit one of the city’s big beer gardens or foodie playgrounds
If food trucks is more your thing, head out to one of Melbourne’s massive brew-gardens and culinary precincts for a quirky day or night out.
Welcome to Thornbury in the city’s north boasts a huge beer garden, with plenty of eating options and regular events and trivia nights.
Welcome to Brunswick boasts BBQ, brews and bullrides and Preston’s Moon Dog World has 72 beers on tap and its own lagoon.
The Ascot Lot is located in Ascot Vale and open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It’s quite a unique thing to do in Melbourne and not a very well-known one, either.
Out west is Melbourne’s newest culinary precinct Grazeland. Here you’ll find cuisine from around the globe, live entertainment and market stalls – and you can bring your pooch.
11. Go walking with a llama at Hanging Rock
For an unusual thing to do in Melbourne or just outside it, take a gentle 5 kilometre hike around Hanging Rock… with llama in tow.
On this three hour tour you’ll meet and greet your llama, before setting out on an easy hike, stopping to take photos with the dramatic rock as your backdrop.
Find out more about walking with llamas to Hanging Rock.
12. Grab some custom fit jeans from Dejour Jeans
Dejour Jeans is located in Brunswick and sell magical denim pants for a pretty reasonable price.
These jeans made in Melbourne and will probably make your butt look banging.
Local tip: Go on a weekday, or get there early, because they only allow a few people inside the store at a time. The line can get mighty long.
13. Take your pooch to the DogHouse in Collingwood
Australians love their mutts and Melbourne is basically a dog lover’s paradise. There’s plenty of fun places you can rove with Rover around the city.
Melbourne’s love of canines and coffee combine at the DogHouse, where you can sip on a caffeinated beverage while your pupper scoffs down its very own dogachino.
14. Visit the Cat Cafe
Consider yourself more of a cat person?
Then head on down to Melbourne’s Cat Café where rescued felines are feeling fine, waiting for you to pet, cuddle and shower love upon them.
15. Go on a ghost tour
There are plenty of opportunities for spooky sightings in Melbourne.
Lantern Ghost Tours offer a bunch of tours, from Pentridge Prison, to Williamstown and a walk through “Old Melbourne” after dark.
There are also a few tours on at the Old Melbourne Gaol after hours… I was properly frightened during a ghost tour there!
16. Explore Open House Melbourne
Open House Melbourne is certainly an event worth keeping an eye out for, where buildings around the city open their doors to the public, for one weekend of the year.
It’s an excellent chance to poke your nose into Melbourne’s unique architecture and historic places.
17. Clip ‘N Climb your way up a wall
Clip ‘N Climb have a range of activities for all ages.
Big kids might want to try the Leap of Faith, or climb The Dark Tower, which has glow in the dark holds.
18. Hang ten at URBNSURF
Always wanted to learn how to surf, but never seem to catch the perfect wave?
Head out to URBNSURF, Australia’s first surf park.
Here you can play in the bay, or opt for more advance waves. If you’re a beginner, you can book onto a ‘learn to surf’ lesson, taken in a controlled and relaxed environment.
If you want to go surfing at an actual beach, consider hitting one of the famous surf spots near the Great Ocean Road.
19. Discover Melbourne’s drinking history
Learn all about Melbourne’s love affair with booze, discover hidden bars and hear creepy tales of times gone by – all with a drink in hand.
20. Devour delicious dumplings on an edible tour
I can attest that Melbourne has some damn good dumplings, because I’ve been slow-eating my way around various dumpling venues in the city for some time now (all about that sustainable food slow movement, yo).
However, if you want to eat many delicious dumplings in a shorter period of time book yourself onto a dumpling discovery walk.
Your taste buds will thank you.
21. Check out a chocolate tour
Who wants to see the sights of the city whilst stuffing themselves full of delicious choc treats?
Um, I certainly do.
22. Catch a flick outdoors
In the summer months, the Royal Botanic Gardens open up their grounds for the Moonlight Cinema, screening new releases and cult classics.
You can bring a picnic blanket, or upgrade to Gold Grass, to reserve a beanbag in a prime position.
23. Take a hip hop yoga class
If you’re after something a little more lively, consider giving hip hop yoga a go!
Located in Brunswick, you’ll sweat, stretch and breathe your way through a flow, accompanied by smooth Hip Hop and RnB tracks.
24. Start your day with an early morning rave
Imagine rolling out of bed, heading on down to a dance party at dawn where you’ll sip on green smoothies and dance your heart out sober, before heading off to work?
It’ll either be your greatest dream or worst nightmare, come to life.
Either way, you can experience it with Morning Gloryville, who run these events in cities across the world, including Melbourne.
Similarly, No Lights No Lycra run events throughout Melbourne and the world, where people gather together to dance in the dark. And it all started in Fitzroy…
25. Visit the pink lake
This is one of the more unique things to do in Melbourne, if the weather is right for it.
If it’s been a hot summer with little rain, the salt lake at Westgate Park will turn a startling shade of pink.
It’s something worth seeing but be mindful of local vegetation and prepared for there to be a heckload of other people milling around, particularly if it’s the weekend.
26. Go on an edible weed eating tour
Have you ever looked around your garden and wondered what you can or cannot eat?
Well, this two hour will take you along the Merri Creek, where tour leaders Adam and Annie demonstrate which weeds you can forage and add to a meal and which you should avoid.
Tours are held every couple of weeks and are very reasonably priced.
27. Try some Rooftop Honey
Rooftop Honey is a fabulous local initiative, with beekeepers aiming to bring bees back to the city, by encouraging cafés, restaurants, hotels and individuals to keep hives in available spaces – from rooftops, to gardens.
You can visit specific sites for taste testing, order honey to help with hayfever symptoms and when the season begins again, adopt an off-site hive.
28. Kayak along the Yarra River
Here’s one cool way of seeing the city.
You can take a tour along the Yarra River, right at sunset by kayak.
As the sky darkens, you’ll see the city come to life.
This is the perfect activity to do during summer in Melbourne.
29. Visit the Planetarium
It can be hard to impossible to properly see the night sky in big cities like Melbourne, but star enthusiasts can head to The Planetarium for an astronomical experience, followed by a live presentation of the current night sky.
30. & check out the Scienceworks Museum
The Planetarium is located in the Scienceworks Museum, which celebrates everything, well, science-y.
There’s also the old Spotswood Pumping Station out the back – once the heart of the city’s sewage network and a setting in many Australian films and TV shows.
31. Ride a hot air balloon over the city
I love waking up early on Sunday mornings and seeing hot air balloons floating across the city – it’d be something else to be sitting in one!
Riding options include places such as the Yarra Valley and Geelong as well as Melbourne city.
Discover other things to do in the Yarra Valley.
32. Attend the Royal Melbourne Show
For ten days in late September to early October, the Melbourne Royal Show is on in full swing at the Flemington Showgrounds.
Running since 1848, this agriculture show has rides, animal contests, showbags and stalls from local companies and producers.
It makes for a fun day out for families and friends.
33. Take a cruise down Maribyrnong River
Melbourne’s other river is far less populated than the Yarra.
It’s lovely to walk along and if you want to experience it from the water, there are small cruises available on a very cute boat.
Noting cruises are currently not available, but may return – so I’ll leave this here for now.
34. Or take a cruise with your dog
Can’t bear to leave Fido at home? Gourmet Pawprints have a range of pup-friendly tours, including their Doggy Urban Explorer, which includes a cruise down the Yarra River.
They also organise dog-friendly winery tours out to the Yarra Valley.
35. Pick up some sewing skills at the Thread Den
Always wanted to know how to sew, but not sure where to start?
The Thread Den offers classes for beginners, along with classes on more advanced things like pattern drafting.
They also have ‘sewcial’ nights, where you can get together and chat with others, whilst you work on your sewing projects.
36. Take a class at Laneway Learning
Or if you want to spend an hour learning about almost anything (from money management, to arts and crafts… I’ve even seen one on tantric sex), you can book a class at Laneway Learning.
Classes are usually held at their space in the city. Find the perfect class for you.
37. Go on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk
Melbourne is a great place to get to know a bit more about Australia’s First Peoples.
A good place to begin your learning is on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, within the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The walk is run by an Indigenous guide, who will explain cultural aspects of the Aboriginal People and their connection to the land, while demonstrating which native plants were used for cooking and medicinal purposes.
You’ll also get to experience a smoking ceremony and drink some delicious lemon myrtle tea.
38. & Check out the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre
The Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre is located at Melbourne Museum in the neighbourhood of Carlton.
Visit to learn about Australia’s unique Indigenous culture, particularly that which is endemic to this part of the country.
39. Visit the Islamic Museum of Australia
Australia is home to a growing population of Muslims, with many notable Aussies being of the Islamic faith.
The Islamic Museum showcases the contributions Islam has made to civilisation, providing educational and cross-cultural experiences.
40. Have a picnic at the McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery
The McClelland Gallery is located east of the city and requires a gold donation for entry.
You can stroll around and admire the art, or have a picnic.
41. Visit Australia’s first film studio
Here’s a really unique thing to see in Melbourne that not many know about.
The Limelight Department has the honour of being Australia’s first film studio, with the Salvation Army producing the world’s first moving picture film in 1898.
There’s a little museum in the attic of The Salvation Army Heritage Centre, which pays homage to this historical event.
42. Spend the night at Werribee Zoo
Werribee Zoo offers up the opportunity to sleep onsite within their eco-tents. The experience also gives you two day entry to the park and is accompanied by several separate tours and animal experiences.
I’ve spent the night at Dubbo Zoo in NSW – it’s a great experience.
43. Go hiking in Werribee Gorge State Park
Melbourne’s full of great walks, but if you want to go hiking, you can head to the Werribee Gorge State Park.
There’s opportunities for bushwalking, hiking, rock climbing, accompanied by some spectacular views.
44. Enjoy a flurry of colour at Victoria State Rose Garden
The Victoria State Rose Garden is home to around 5000 different types of roses.
It’s open every day and entry is free.
45. Grab High Tea on a ferry
There are plenty of High Tea options in tis city, but this is one of the more unique things to do in Melbourne.
Fancy having a High Tea on the High Sea?
These ferries depart either Sorrento or Queenscliff. You can add on a High Tea, whilst you enjoy the view of the surrounding bay.
46. Visit the Altona Homestead
The Altona Homestead was once the home of the Langhorne family and offers an opportunity to see what life in the suburb was once like.
Entry is free, but a gold coin donation is appreciated. They serve Devonshire Tea on the first Sunday of every month and run a ghost tour on the first Saturday night.
47. Explore a castle
Did you know Australia has castles… kinda?
Located in Melbourne’s west is Overnewton Castle, a private residence which opens itself up once a month for tours and high teas.
There’s also a very random but cute castle in a small town in Tasmania.
48. Spend the night in an airstream trailer
Nestled on the roof of a carpark just off Flinders Lane are six chrome airstream trailers, which are available for rent for the night.
Each has its own deck and fridge filled with booze and other delicious bevs. The most exclusive trailer of all has its own private Jacuzzi.
49. Snap a picture at ARTVO
Here’s a unique thing to do in Melbourne that the whole family will love.
ArtVo is an immersive gallery, where visitors are encouraged to interact with the artwork, by taking photos alongside it.
There are 11 zones of different themes, featuring some truly amazing paintings.
50. Grab some cheese and vino at Milk the Cow
Milk the Cow is a fromagerie with two venues – in Carlton and in St Kilda.
Head on in, order some cheese and a flight of wine and enjoy.
51. Partake in a wild night of axe throwing
Yep, you read right. Over a two-hour session at Maniax in Abbotsford or Lumber Punks in South Melbourne.
You and friends, family, or even a date, can freely through axes at a target – like darts, but with hatchets.
For those wanting to get more involved, there’s even a league tournament that you can play in. Certainly an activity everyone should try once.
52. Let art alight your senses at THE LUME
This digital art gallery takes the world’s finest art and turns it into a multi-sensory, immersive experience.
The first exhibit features the works of Monet. Grab a ticket to watch his world-famous pieces come to life around you.
53. Explore our Solar System in St Kilda
In the seaside suburbs of St Kilda and Port Melbourne you’ll find a truly unique art trail.
The St Kilda Solar System Trail curls along the City of Port Phillips foreshore, starting with the sun and ending with Pluto.
Built to scale, every centimetre you walk is 10,000kms. Pluto is a staggering 5.9 billion kilometres from the sun, but along this trail it is 5.9kms.
Likewise, the sun measures 139cms across, to represent its 1,392,000 km diameter. The earth is a tiny 1.28 cm.
Find out more about the trail and perhaps walk it yourself.
54. Check out views of Melbourne from inside a historic icon
Museums Victoria is putting on something special.
The Dome Promenade of Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building is opening for the first time in a century to visitors.
Bookings are essential.
55. See an art exhibition at one of Melbourne’s secret spaces
Every city has its secret spaces and for a long time, the ballroom above Flinders Street Station was one of Melbourne’s most intriguing.
Previously closed to the public, it’s recently been reopened as an installation space for local artists.
Geelong-born, Melbourne-based artist RONE has taken over until the end of April. His thing, for the uninitiated, is painting portraits of beautiful young women.
Tickets to TIME are selling like hotcakes. Get in before the end of April 2023, if just to see the ballroom itself.
Phew! That should keep you busy for a long while yet!
How many of these have you seen and done? Any there any other unique things to do in Melbourne that you think should make this list?
Moving to Melbourne? Check out this extensive guide.