Hidden gems in Melbourne waiting to be found

Punting on the lake at Royal Botanic Gardens

Alice Piper

Posted December 01, 2021

Melbourne is renowned for always having something to do – but have you tried these hidden gems?  

Melbourne has always had a sense of mystery to it; from new restaurants, hidden laneway bars and underground comedy clubs to intimate art exhibitions and weekend farmers’ markets, it really is a city with everything going on. 

However, even when we think we’ve discovered all the hidden secrets Melbourne has to offer, something comes along to surprise and delight, reigniting our love affair with our great city and reminding us that we really do live in the cultural capital of Australia. 

Keep reading to uncover some of Melbourne’s hidden gems in the CBD and just beyond.  

Melbourne's hidden gems 

Punting on the Lake 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne CBD

Known as ‘Punting on the Lake’, this experience is hidden inside Melbourne’s famous Royal Botanic Gardens where you take an old-fashioned tour around the lake on a wooden punt boat.  

Even the guides dress up like you’re on a gondola in Venice while pushing the boat around with a long wooden stick, as you take in the Royal Botanic Gardens' stunning landscapes and natural wildlife.  

Le Petite Gateau 

458 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

Situated right behind RACV City Club, treat your tastebuds to handmade cakes and tarts at Le Petite Gateau, where award-winning chefs use original recipes to create some of Melbourne’s best pastries.  

Go for the Brownie Passionfruit Chocolate Gateau with a brownie base, crunchy praline, passionfruit custard, chocolate mousse, chocolate glaze and mango jelly – it’s a house special! 

Brownie geteau at LPG

Brownie Passionfruit Chocolate Gateau at Le Petite Gateau is available as both a whole cake and individual slices. 

The lost Melbourne tour  

Southbank, Melbourne CBD

Discover everything ‘lost’ about Melbourne with a three hour walking tour through vanished laneways and buildings, waterways, basements, and lost hills where you’ll hear true stories and myths about iconic landmarks and locations.  

You’ll also get to handle archaeological artifacts dug up from right under the CBD and learn more about the lifestyle of the Melbourne of old.  

Starting at Southbank, you’ll explore CBD locations specifically chosen to tell a piece of Melbourne’s history from Dreamtime to Settlement, and Gold Rush to Federation – this is one hidden gem you need to immerse yourself in.  

Buxton Contemporary 

Southbank, Melbourne CBD

Not too far from the famous National Gallery of Victoria, hidden down in Dodds Street is Buxton Contemporary – smaller in scale, but just as grand (and not as busy).  

This gallery gets its name courtesy of Michael Buxton, who in 2014 donated 350 major artworks to form a new, and very intimate gallery, attached to the Victorian College of the Arts.  

Enjoy four exhibition galleries, as well as an outdoor screen devoted to moving image art - just be sure to check out what’s showing, as the exhibitions are in regular rotation.  

Underground cinema Melbourne

Melbourne CBD and inner city 

Ever wanted to see a film performed live? At Underground cinema Melbourne they do exactly that – perform live immersive cinema experiences in secret undisclosed locations in Melbourne from the team at Secret Squirrel Productions.  

Merging traditional forms of storytelling, performance, and cinema, you’ll be treated to a performance for all the senses, as you explore new ideas of what film is all about.  

Past performances have included Children of Men, Little Caesar, The Crow and The Good German.  

Tickets are released only a short time ahead of any performance, so check here for more information.