Melbourne is so crammed with vibrant shops, dining and sightseeing, you’d be forgiven for missing a hotspot (or seven). Just in case you’ve been too busy to stop and smell spring in the air, here are six spots in the city you’ve probably never visited.
Mailbox Art Space
Mail might be going out of fashion, but Mailbox Art Space is anything but old school. A contemporary art space supporting local emerging artists, the site at 141 Flinders Lane encourages creative experimentation through its rotating exhibitions. Using small restored mailboxes, artists are invited to create size-challenged site-specific work for this public space.
Winter is the perfect time to visit the indoor Tropical Glasshouse at the Royal Botanic Gardens, which showcases plants from tropical regions. Explore rainforest plants that you won’t see in your backyard – from the enormous, Alice In Wonderland-style Titan Arum to the aggressive leering Tiger-spotted Stanhopea.Wunderkammer
Meaning ‘cabinet of curiosities’ in German, Wunderkammer is not your ordinary gift shop. Forget soaps, diaries and candles – Wunderkammer is home to everything rare, unusual and unique in Melbourne. A collector’s emporium, products include minerals, fossils, insects, taxidermied animals and ancient science equipment. You’ll never purchase a boring Christmas gift again.
The Little Library
Quietly opened and usually unattended, Melbourne Central’s Little Library encourages reading and the love of books through its free book exchange. Visitors are encouraged to borrow a book of their choice and return it once they’ve finished, or grab a book they fancy and replace it with one of their own favourites. Welcoming every age, The Little Library is the cooler, laid back cousin of your public library.
If you can’t afford the ten-hour flight to Japan, skip the canned air and head into Onsen Ma instead. A traditional Japanese spa house, guests are expected to strip off before entering the bath area. And yes – you aren’t allowed to wear bathers (or towels) in the water. If you’re game enough for this traditional experience, Onsen Ma is the ridiculously convenient CBD location to do it. Along with an onsen, Onsen Ma also offers a sauna and Japanese massages. The experience may take some getting used to, but it’s one of the best places to relax, naked, in the CBD.
Australian Mediateque at ACMI
Settle into a booth and watch digital films on demand at Australian Mediatheque at ACMI. A free exhibition showcasing the history of Australian and international screen culture, it features highlights from over 100 years of film. This wealth of filmography treasure, which also includes student-made short films, is available for viewing daily from 12pm to 5pm.