Melbourne is Australia’s second-largest city and capital of the state of Victoria. The second you arrive in Melbourne, you’ll immediately be swept off your feet by its infectious energy; at times brazen, often funky but always omnipresent. You can’t miss it. If you delve further, you’ll find a hidden Melbourne that’s full of little surprises!
On my previous visit to Melbourne in 2008, I remarked:
Melbourne is a city with aspirations and you can tell. It’s a large city with loads of character, a laid-back pace and a lifestyle that oozes quality. Magnificent Tudor and Victorian buildings graciously reflect the city’s colourful history while impressive skyscrapers and other buildings by world-renowed architects boast the city’s prosperous present. Upon arrival, the visitor might notice the car license plates which read: “Victoria: The place to be”. I wouldn’t disagree.
Since then, the city has developed in leaps and bounds, with an astounding array of cultural and culinary offerings. I was really impressed back in 2008. This time, I was simply blown away! The culinary, fashion and design landscapes in particular have flourished beyond recognition. And the coffee scene is arguably second to no other!
Melbourne’s hidden lanes and arcades
Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) is a vibrant grid of boulevards and lanes. The main streets are lined by a dizzying array of grand Victorian buildings and shiny skyscrapers. These are packed with an equally impressive variety of shops, restaurants and cafés, but venture into the lanes and arcades that connect the main streets and you’ll discover some of Melbourne’s best secrets!
If you don’t have much time to explore the back lanes and arcades on your own, I can highly recommend the Melbourne Lanes and Arcades tour! The tour, which lasts a whole morning and ends with lunch (optional) is the ideal way to learn more about Melbourne’s heritage and discover its many hidden gems (think amazing street art, quirky cafés, independent designers and historical tales). I would rank it as the best tour of Melbourne CBD. Follow me on the tour:
Along the way, we passed many intriguing shops, cafés and restaurants – I was just bowled over by the great variety and eclectic styles. I was equally excited by the thriving independent retailer scene – small shops selling all sorts of clothing, furniture, ornaments and jewelry. Add to that the gorgeous architecture of the arcades and the terrific street art! This lanes and arcades tour truly opened my eyes to a side of Melbourne that I, perhaps, would not have seen due to the limited amount of time I spent there – four days are simply not enough to explore this incredible city!
Note: this trip is part of the iambassador #MelbourneTouring project in partnership with Tourism Victoria and Royal Brunei Airlines. Velvet Escape maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.