Top 10 Weird & Wonderful Things To Do in Melbourne

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Got a major case of the been-there-done-that’s? I hear ya.

They say that magic happens outside of your comfort zone…so why on earth don’t we venture to this mystical area more often?

Sure, there are some people who thrive on routine. But there are also some people who feel like hotfooting it to the nearest liquor-stocked bar at the thought of another humdrum gallery visit.

Maybe you fall into this category. Maybe you don’t.

Either way, apparently change is as good as a holiday, so if you’re a Melburnian who can’t afford an exotic overseas jaunt right now, perhaps you’ll be interested in some of the kooky pastimes listed below.

Some are weird, some are wonderful…and some are downright wacky. But all will save you from a “not-another-museum-tour” this weekend.

You’re welcome.

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1. Test your problem solving skills

Orz Escapes, Level 3/180 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000

Somewhere along the way, unbeknownst to me, escape rooms have become a thing. Apparently people all over the city are getting involved in the group experiences that involve completing a physical escape from a locked room in a designated time frame. But don’t fear – this is less “Saw” and more “A*mazing” (90s kids’ game show, for those needing a reminder). Although the premise for the challenge is supposed to be a twisted horror story, the stark reality that you’re in a tired converted office space takes away from the terror. With that in mind, you and your mates will be mentally and emotionally tested under pressure through a series of cryptic puzzles, all the while creating a bond, exercising your lateral thinking and sharing a laugh. And don’t be fooled into thinking this is some adolescent pastime (it’s not called a challenge for nothing); your success rides entirely on how your friends perform as a group. Mission: accepted.

2. Master the art of latte making

Sensory Lab, 297 Little Collins Street, Melbourne 3000

A treat for the coffee connoisseurs, this creative class in latte art will see you learning all the tricks of the trade from the pros at Melbourne’s Sensory Lab. For complete beginners to coffee gurus, the classes are designed to take your latte making to the next level (in the home of the world’s best coffee, of course). After you’ve finished frothing and quaffing, all attendees will receive 250 grams of take-home coffee, plus 15% off retail Hario products.

3. Get your craft on

Crafternoon Café, 531 Nicholson Street, North Carlton 3054 and 718 Sydney Road, Brunswick 3056 Bringing crafty back, this inner city gem is sure to bring out the Playschool presenter in everyone. Rated as one of the best child-friendly cafés in town, Crafternoon (now in two locations) is the perfect spot to bring the tots on their holidays for a session of dining and decorating. Or, if you’re just a child at heart, book a Crafternoon High Tea for yourself and the gals (which includes their mouthwatering scones with plum jam and cream). If you’re just calling in, enjoy a delicious all-day brunch ­­while you colour, paste, paint, meld and decorate ‘til your heart’s content.  

4. Scare yourself silly on a ghost tour

Aradale Mental Asylum, Heath Street, Ararat 3377

For someone who couldn’t turn her light off after watching Wolf Creek for the first time, I have an eerie fascination with the macabre. Which is exactly why (if you’re at all similar) you’ll love this spooky two-hour exploration of the former mental asylum in Ararat, led by professional theatrical historians. Be haunted by stories of brutal treatments, bizarre tales and of course, plenty of ghost interactions as you wander the cellblocks, surgery theatres and even the morgue. Tours are currently operating on Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 8pm.

5. Sketch your way around Melbourne

Secret Sketch Crawl of Melbourne, host will notify before class

Consider yourself a wizard with the graphite? Or perhaps you’re not quite the Picasso, yet. Even if your still life sketches look like a pre-schooler executed them, this three-hour walking tour of Melbourne’s best sketching locations is guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired. With all materials provided, your instructor will guide you to a handful of hidden spots where you can try your hand at observational portraits and landscapes (while enjoying a complimentary beverage). Learn new techniques and practise your skills with a variety of materials, including pens, pencils, charcoal and pastels. Bookings are essential.

By @muser74 “Sketching with @getclassie.” A photo posted by Classie. (@getclassie) on

6. Get up close with sharks and rays

The Australian Shark & Ray Centre, 41 Princes Highway, Dandenong South 3175

Throw yourself in the deep end (metaphorically, please) and test your courage with the majestic underwater creatures at The Australian Shark and Ray Centre. An amazing opportunity awaits for the littlies (and the not so little) to hand feed, pat and admire the inhabitants of our waters, while navigating a series of indoor pools. Go beyond the aquarium glass and get as up close as you can get to Port Jackson sharks, leopard sharks, eagle rays and an impossibly friendly 3.1-metre tawny nurse shark named Gigantor, all while learning from the incredibly friendly and knowledgable staff. An ideal venue for kids’ parties or school excursions, the centre offers a unique and exciting day out for the whole family. And if the appeal of donning a Scuba Steve-esque wetsuit isn’t enough for you, the chance to “cuddle” a 2-metre wide black ray will surely win you over. Open every day, 9am–5pm.

Showing off a little. Raspy love all the attention. A photo posted by Australian Shark & Ray Centre (@ozsharkandray) on

7. Create your very own bespoke gin

Bass & Flinders Distillery, 232 Red Hill Road, Red Hill 3937 There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a gin and tonic on a breezy summer’s day. Heck, any day is good for a classic G&T, am I right? The only thing that could make the experience better is knowing that you crafted the beverage to your very own palate, which is exactly what you can do at the Bass & Flinders Distillery on the Mornington Peninsula. Journey down Peninsula Link to this charming establishment and embark on a Gin Masterclass, which delves into the unique world of gin history and production (while allowing you the occasional cheeky sample). You’ll have the opportunity to experiment with flavours and produce your own gin from a range of Bass & Flinders vapour infused botanicals, before being presented with the bottle sporting a personalised label. Add in some fruit and cheese, and you have yourself a fabulous day out.

8. Run away with the circus

Circus Oz, 50 Perry Street, Collingwood 3066 If you’re as fascinated with carny folk as I am, then this is for you. Step right up for a spectacular session of tomfoolery, hosted by the masters of entertainment, Circus Oz. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you can practise your skills in hula hooping, acrobatics, trapeze and pole climbing, while working up a sweat and having a ball. Term-based classes are available for kids, teens and adults, and offer a unique way to get fit and learn amazing skills that are guaranteed to impress your mates. Clown make up, optional.

9. Indulge in a chocolate tour of Melbourne

Chocoholic Tours, 45/28 Southgate Avenue, Southbank 3006

Indulge your inner child and embark on a tantalising tour around Melbourne’s famous arcades and laneways, while discovering the city’s most delectable desserts and chocolates. Not only will you learn all about the chocolate industry and how the delightful treat is made, you’ll have the chance to taste so many “samples”, your sugar levels are sure to skyrocket.* Choose from a handful of tours including the aptly named, “Chocolate Lovers Tour” and “Chocolate And Sweet Temptations Tour” and relish a couple of hours of absolute chocolatey bliss. *Not for those devoid of a sweet tooth.

The perfect recipe for a rainy day! #hotchocolatewithmarshmellows A photo posted by Chocoholic Tours (@chocoholictours) on

10. Step back in time

Kryal Castle, 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek 3352

Polish your armour and sharpen your lance! After reopening its doors in 2013 after a refurbishment, Australia’s only medieval theme park is back, and better than ever. Kryal Castle, located on beautiful grounds overlooking the Ballarat region, gives guests the opportunity to experience all things fortresses, knights and swords – just a short drive from Melbourne. Visit with buddies or take along the kids and enjoy a day of medieval-themed activities including craft, archery, pantomime, jousting, pony rides and militia training. See the knights and warhorses of Kryal Castle compete in challenges, and if you’re really keen to stay in character, you can sleep like royalty in one of the 17 onsite Castle Suites. The kids will think they’re in a Shrek film; you’ll think you’re an extra in Robin Hood.

(Feature image: _TC Photography_)

Top 10 Weird & Wonderful Things To Do in Melbourne was last modified: November 24th, 2015 by Alexandra Oke
Author: Alexandra Oke (26 posts)

Alexandra is a Melbourne-based freelance writer with previous experience in copywriting, magazines and, of course, travel. You'll find a collection of her writings at aaoke.wordpress.com.