The best hidden secrets in Melbourne
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26.11.2015

The best hidden secrets in Melbourne

hidden secrets Melbourne
Words BY JAMES DI FABRIZIO

We count down some of the best hidden secrets in Melbourne, many of which no longer exist, and some perhaps never even did...

Pink Lake at Westgate Park

When you’re thinking of exciting, interesting aspects of our fair city – the Westgate isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind. However, the lakes that flow underneath have unusually high salt concentration, and when combined with a long spell of hot weather results in the water turning a surreal shade of pink. If this summer shapes up to be as hot as the last, we’ll have a pink Christmas to look forward to.

Find West Gate Park off Todd Road, Port Melbourne.

Underground Drains

Alright. This is a strange one, and no one at Beat would recommend pursuing it. However, Melbourne sits atop of an underground labyrinth of drains and caves that can be accessed from openings at waterways. There’s even secret societies that have made it their mission to explore these hidden caverns and underground parties rumoured to kick on until dawn.

Chopper Lane

Tucked away in Collingwood hides ‘Chopper Lane’: a street art laden shrine to the memory of infamous underworld figure Mark ‘Chopper’ Read. 29 artists collaborated to bring larger than life interpretations of a man characterised by violence and legend, immortalised in contemporary folklore. As an artist himself and former Collingwood resident, I’d say Chopper would be impressed. Then again, I wouldn’t want to imagine him angry.

Check it at the rear of 310 Smith Street, Collingwood.

Hidden Love Letters at The State Library

“I will now bury this note to you deep in words inside this book,” concludes a small card tucked away inside a weighty tome. Thanks to a brilliant evening of poetry and music held at the State Library as part of Melbourne Writers Festival, there are now a small collection of handwritten love letters tentatively placed inside books throughout the library – all with their own story waiting to be heard. Who knows how many are yet to be found.

328 Swanston St, CBD.

Melbourne’s Smallest Art Gallery with Trink Tank

I’ve heard of places being described as a hole in the wall, but this quite literally is. Melbourne’s smallest art space Trink Tank has showcased the work of some of the city’s most creative minds. The only catch is that the art must fit within the confines of a 20x30cm space. All in all, it’s pretty convenient seeing as it’s located just outside one of Australia’s smallest bars. Booze and art: together at last.

20 Presgrave Place, CBD.

Escape Room

You’re trapped inside a cement room with no windows and no doors. The only thing you have is a mirror and a piece of wood. How do you escape? If you see yourself as a modern day MacGyver, then the folks at Escape Room will let you and a team of mates put your cunning to the test with their escape challenges that have attracted an international cult following.

108 Burke Street, CBD.

Flying Sandwiches with Jafflechutes

Jafflechutes are Melbourne’s first airborne sandwich eatery. You can order a toasted sandwich from them, stand at a secret location marked with an X, and they will float a fresh jaffle down from the sky for your enjoyment. Trust me, everything tastes better when it’s been delivered with a miniature parachute.

Your myki is a Puzzle Piece

Your myki is a puzzle piece. Well, it can be if you choose to. The gang at Puzzle My myki are on a mission to breathe some life into everyone’s, ahem, favourite lime green transport card by offering a free service that will see your card personalised with a one of a kind artwork. But here’s the thing – you’ll only have half. The other half? You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for that one commuter who touches on with the tail end of your cat design. Find your match, Melbourne. Your myki soulmate awaits.

Lava Blisters at Williamstown

Millions of years ago, in a time before Netflix and 24-hour ramen houses, Melbourne’s west was thriving with volcanic activity. Though long dormant, Victoria has the world’s third largest volcanic field. Seeking out these often forgotten lava blisters are reminders of when molten lava flowed freely through Port Phillip Bay.

Point Gellibrand, Williamstown.  

The Docklands Elevator

It’s not quite the same as heading through a fireplace to Diagon Alley, but it’s as close as Melbourne is going to get. Picture this. One minute, you’re kicking among the hubbub of Collins Street. After a short trip in a completely nondescript lift, you’ve popped out in Docklands. Your next show at Etihad Stadium just got a hell of a lot easier to get to, and just a little more magical.

Look for a silver lift next to 707 Collins Street. Exit at Village Street, Docklands.

The Wreckage of HMVS Cerberus

First ordered in 1867, the HMVS Cerberus was once the flagship of the Victorian Navy. However, the public did not take kindly to the vessel, earning it the nickname of ‘Floating Gasometer’. After being fitted with torpedoes and travelling far and wide, it was eventually decommissioned and sold off to be broken up for scrap parts in 1924. Over one hundred years later, it now sits around 200m off the coast of the beautiful Half Moon Bay – one of Melbourne’s lesser known beaches.

Check out Cerberus at Half Moon Bay, Blackrock. 

A laneway statue of Bon Scott  

A new and permanent tribute to AC/DC legend Bon Scott has been erected outside Cherry Bar. The collaborative effort between the Victorian Government’s ‘Rockin’ The Laneways’ Initiative, Cherry owner and booker James Young and local street artist Mike Makatron arrives as a large-scale ode to the famed frontman. Rock on.

Melbourne’s first virtual reality cinema 

The Virtual Reality Cinema is a unique approach that has been developed for seamless viewing of VR Content across all the gear VR headsets which enables all participants to experience VR together and see each other. Pop down to have your mind blown.

The Greyhound Adoption Cafe 

Meet the GAP Cafe, a place where you can stop by for a coffee and come home with a lifetime mate. GAP Cafe gives retired racing greyhounds shelter, while they wait there until some kind-hearted specimen (i.e, you) comes to bring them home. You can even bring your own doggos along to chill, with the cafe serving up puppaccinos and doggy doughnuts for them to tuck in to.

Lead image via Flickr