Melbourne is so crammed with vibrant shops, dining and sightseeing, you’d be forgiven for missing a hotspot (or six). 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.
The shrine to Elvis at Melbourne Cemetery
The Elvis Shrine is one of the Melbourne Cemetery’s most unlikely attractions. A carefully landscaped grotto decked out with succulents gives way to a kitschy black ‘tombstone’ in the centre – surrounded by flowers and stuffed toys. Commissioned by Victoria’s Elvis Presley fan club and unveiled by rock legend, Johnny O’Keefe, it’s believed to be the only authorised Elvis memorial outside of America.
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.
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.
The place under the stairs at Federation Square
Escape the city’s bustle in this new pop-up space under the stairs at Federation Square. Local groups often meet at this retreat to share their passion for everything from knitting to paper-craft. The rest of the time it’s a little lending library. Unlike Fed Square’s very contemporary hard surfaces and sharp corners, The Nook’s look is mid-20th century comfort, including retro couch and armchairs.