The best escape rooms in Melbourne (and how to escape from them)

key in an unlocked padlock

Danny Baggs

Posted April 12, 2022

Beat any Melbourne escape room in minimal time with these proven tips and tricks.

Escape rooms are a favourite activity for people who crave a fun challenge that they can tackle with friends. But breaking out of an escape room within the time limit can be a struggle for players of all experience levels.

Whether you want some reassurance before your first escape room or you want to score the top leaderboard position, we’ve gathered the top tips, tricks and trends to help you break out with an impressive time score.  

Best escape room tips and tactics

Assemble a good team

Choose your team members wisely. Escape rooms are the most fun when you’re playing with people you know well, like friends, family members and work colleagues. The more cohesive your team, the better your chances at a successful escape. If your workplace organises an escape room event, it can also be a great chance to demonstrate your initiative, leadership and teamwork skills!

Opt for small team sizes over large ones to avoid unnecessary crowding and confusion, with 3-5 players recommended for an ideal experience. Some escape room companies offer “versus” rooms, so you can halve your group and race against each other as well as the clock!

See something, say something 

Shout out to your team whenever you spot a clue, lock or puzzle. This cuts down on time-wasting, ensures the team doesn’t miss a crucial clue, and prompts other players to look for possible solutions that relate to what you’ve found.

Divide and conquer 

Escape rooms are moving away from simple linear ‘storylines’ to rooms with multiple puzzles that you can tackle at once. Split up the team to simultaneously work on anything that’s available. If you’re staring blankly at your clue or puzzle and are truly stuck, pass the baton and swap places with another player.

group of women figuring out an escape room puzzle

Escape rooms feature many interactive puzzles. Image: Escape Hunt Melbourne

Work smart in an escape room

Identify locks and puzzles

Escape rooms begin with the host introducing the room’s backstory as they lead you into the room. Look around the room as you listen and take note of anything that could be a lock, puzzle or clue to investigate as soon as the timer starts. Keep an eye out for:

  • Obvious locks – take note of whether they need a key, word or number combination

  • Riddles, words or phrases hidden in posters, letters and books

  • Numbers, letters or directions pasted on objects

  • Repeating objects that may be collectable (e.g. Narnia books, chess pieces, rubber snakes)

  • Sounds such as background noise, voice recordings, or Morse code

  • Anything that looks suspicious or out of place.

Sort objects into piles 

The best way to avoid confusion and stay efficient is to sort your finds into piles so you aren’t left with clusters of keys, scraps of paper and five different lockboxes haphazardly left around the room. Imagine working out a solution, only to find that you’ve misplaced a key! We recommend making three different object piles:

  • Standby – anything that might come in useful, e.g. blacklight torch, map fragments or keys.

  • Used – anything you’ve already used to unlock or solve something.

  • Ignore – anything that could be mistaken for a clue or puzzle but is useless (a red herring).

Occam's Razor 

Is your team throwing out wilder and wilder ideas for solving a puzzle? Take a step back and think of Occam’s Razor. This is a problem-solving principle that encourages you to think simple and eliminate unlikely solutions. The most obvious explanation is often the answer.

Remember the backstory 

The room’s setting (e.g. crazy scientist’s lab), backstory (Dr. Nutty has captured you and intends to release a biohazardous chemical into the room to test its effects on live subjects!) and goal (break out of the experimentation room before the chemical is released) clues you in to possible puzzle answers. A word lock is more likely to read ‘SCIENCE’ or ‘INSANE’ than ‘UNICORN’.

Ask for hints 

Don’t let your ego get in the way. Most escape rooms offer hints upon request. Since escape rooms are set up with cameras, hosts can also see when you’re struggling and may offer you a clue themselves. Take their advice if you’re stuck so you can keep playing and having fun!

Padlocks are a common escape room puzzle. Image: Unsplash
Numerical locks are often found on briefcases and lockboxes. Image: Unsplash
Combination locks require careful number entry. Image: Unsplash

How to solve escape room devices


This one’s easy: find the key that matches the padlock. Note whether the keyhole is larger or smaller than on other padlocks so you can run any key finds directly over to the correct padlock. Padlock keys are usually ‘rewarded’ to you for completing an earlier puzzle and will unlock further clues.

Numerical and combination locks

Numerical locks require you to input the correct numbers in the correct order to open. The most common is a simple 4-digit lock. The answer could be:

  • The numbers listed on objects around the room when placed into a certain order

  • The solution to a simple mathematical problem posed by the room

  • The answers to 4 separate, linked puzzles that provide the full number at their conclusion

  • A short word with letters transposed for numbers (e.g. A = 1, B = 2, and so on).

Combination locks (like the ones on high school lockers) can be fiddly depending on their age. Make sure to pause on each number you enter and reverse direction between numbers.

Word and cryptex locks 

Word locks are usually unlocked with 4-6 letter words. You might need to unscramble a word, find a specific word in a book, or solve a riddle. One time-saving trick is to take an informed guess at the answer. For example, if you’re in a fairy-themed room and you have a 5-letter word starting with M and ending with C, try ‘MAGIC’.

Cryptex locks are word locks with 5-6 rings that each display the full alphabet. Don’t be daunted: just keep it in mind as you move through the room. You will often find the answer by piecing together the solutions of several different puzzles.

Directional locks 

See a compass, map, or directional points around the room? Chances are you’ll need to open a directional lock. Simply move the knob to the directions highlighted in the room in the proper order.

Mechanical puzzles

Sometimes you’ll unlock secret compartments or doors by physically manipulating objects in your room. For example, you might need to:

  • Move a chess piece in a certain way over a chessboard

  • Dial a specific number on an old-timey phone

  • Turn the lights off and use backlight torches to find symbols on the walls

  • Play a certain song on a piano

  • Use magnets to retrieve a key from a maze

  • Turn statues to face a certain way

  • Use mirrors to deflect lasers. 

Carefully check the room for cryptic hints and instructions on what to do.

VR players in a VR escape room

Some escape rooms feature cutting-edge VR technology. Image: Virtual Room Melbourne

Best escape rooms in Melbourne

Melbourne is blessed with a wide variety of escape rooms, but these are some of the top-rated escape rooms in Melbourne. Each business typically changes their rooms once a year, so you’ll never run out of rooms to escape from!

1. Escape Hunt Melbourne, Melbourne CBD 

Delve into mind-boggling mysteries with Escape Hunt’s excellently themed escape rooms. You might be infiltrating a gangster den to gather evidence of chilling murders, investigating strange disappearances at a museum, breaking into a top-secret facility to track down a spy, or following clues down a mine shaft to catch a famous thief. RACV Members receive a 10% discount on tickets at Escape Hunt Melbourne.

  • Players: 2-5
  • Time Limit: 60 minutes
  • Room Themes: 4

2. Virtual Room Melbourne, West Melbourne

Experience the best of virtual reality (VR) with Virtual Room Melbourne’s escape rooms, with full 3D cinematic experiences, fully immersive interactions, and powerful technology that is specifically designed to avoid any nausea or discomfort typically associated with VR. Each player has their own dedicated room, but you’ll be able to talk to each other, walk around, move objects and collaborate to solve the puzzles. In keeping with the VR experience, the rooms are themed around futuristic and sci-fi adventures. RACV Members receive a 10% discount on tickets at Virtual Room Melbourne.

  • Players: 2-4
  • Time Limit: 40-50 minutes
  • Room Themes: 4

3. EscapeXperience, Oakleigh 

EscapeXperience is conveniently located near Chadstone Shopping Centre, so you can book in a room before or after you get your retail therapy fix. This escape room business is moving beyond traditional escape room puzzles to even more immersive experiences. Prepare for lots of dark secrets and high-five moments!

  • Players: 2-6
  • Time Limit: 60 minutes
  • Room Themes: 3

4. TRAPT Melbourne, Melbourne CBD 

TRAPT Melbourne is a super popular escape room located in the heart of Melbourne’s bustling CBD, with bookings typically needed at least two weeks in advance. Their rooms are challenging but excellent fun, with great attention to detail and plenty of gratifying “a-ha!” moments. They also have an on-site bar with old-fashioned lounges and delicious cocktails themed to their current rooms.

  • Players: 2-8 (depending on room)
  • Time Limit: 50 minutes
  • Room Themes: 5

5. Excape, Frankston

If you’re located in south-east Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, head over to Excape to race against the clock. Excape’s rooms feature classic escape room themes like zombie outbreaks, kidnapping rescues, Illuminati secrets and wacky science experiments. These rooms are each currently given a solid 3.5 - 4 stars (out of 5) difficulty rating, so they’re perfect for beginner to intermediate players.

  • Players: Variable
  • Time Limit: 45-60 minutes
  • Room Themes: 4

Planning a real escape? RACV Members get 25% off accommodation at RACV Resorts when booking direct.
Discover RACV Resorts →