Essential Melbourne

Tour Creator

James is a Canberra-based travel writer who has explored extensively up and down the east coast of Australia. He honed his writing in Europe working for various magazines, websites, and…Read More Bio »



Remote Tour Included



Our Essential Melbourne tour is the perfect way to get your bearings in the city. Broadly covering the history and culture of the dynamic Victorian capital, we will weave through chic laneways and shopping arcades on the way to its iconic sights. At each stop, we’ll dive into the stories that shaped the city, from the 19th century gold rush to Melbourne’s status as street art capital of Australia.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional travel writer

Written by a Canberra-based travel writer, who has worked for magazines and tourism bodies

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

St. Paul's Cathedral, the Old Treasury Building and the Royal Arcade

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home


Essential Melbourne

  1. Federation Square - The unofficial heart of Melbourne, bordered by some of the city’s most important cultural institutions and home to many a public rally, concert, or event. At this starting point of our tour around Melbourne, we’ll look at the important buildings nearby you might like to visit, and the early beginnings of the city.
  2. St. Paul’s Cathedral - The city’s most impressive gothic cathedral, St. Paul’s is an important landmark in the city. But it wasn’t always a church – we’ll explore its early history and discover its story as well as contrast its old architecture with one of the city’s newer buildings across the river.
  3. Hosier Lane - Welcome to our famous street art laneway, an ever-changing open-air gallery. We’ll talk about Melbourne’s status as the street art capital of Australia.
  4. AC/DC Lane - In another of Melbourne’s most popular laneways, we’ll look at its history as the epicentre of rock n roll in the city, and the history of laneways in general.
  5. The Old Treasury - Taking a break from the laneways, we’re going to use the Old Treasury Building as an excuse to dive back in time and explore the important history of the Victorian Gold Rush.
  6. Parliament House - Home of Victoria’s parliament, and an ideal spot to talk more about the Eureka Rebellion in the 19th century that had big changes on the city.
  7. Bourke Street Mall - The beating heart of the CBD, filled with life year-round. It’s the perfect spot to investigate the layout of Melbourne’s streets and the laneways between them.
  8. Royal Arcade - Melbourne’s oldest arcade, Royal Arcade is wonderfully ornate and home to Gog and Magog, two giant timekeepers on either side of Gaunt’s Clock. We will delve into the story behind these two giants, who have been striking out the hours here since 1982.
  9. Block Arcade - One of Melbourne’s prettiest arcades, the Block Arcade is based on the incredible Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade in Milan, Italy. We’ll appreciate the wonderful architecture of this arcade and point out some of the staple stores that are present.
  10. Centre Place/Degraves Street - Another epicentre of street art, Centre Place and Degraves Street are the quintessential laneways to visit in Melbourne. Hole-in-the-wall cafés, restaurants, and bars line the laneway, while every inch is coloured with fantastic street art. We’ll use this last stop as an excuse to appreciate the culture of Melbourne, point out some great places to get a coffee, and wrap up the tour.

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