Delve beneath the surface, and there’s a world of weirdness to discover in Melbourne. Take a walk on the wild side with 12 offbeat things to do in the city.

Don a mask and robe for immersive dark theatre

Landmark production Because the Night is an unmissable experience serving Twin Peaks vibes. On at The Malthouse until June, a labyrinth of 30 spaces offer a portal into a world on the edge of collapse. Put on a creepy mask, cloak yourself in black robes and choose your own adventure to explore.

See an eerie exhibit in an abandoned ballroom

Something very special is coming to the RISING festival. Not only will you get to step inside the Flinders Street Station ballroom, closed to the public for decades. You’ll also enter the mind of Australia’s leading visual artist, Patricia Piccinini. Her exhibition will fill the ballroom and surrounding rooms with fabulous art. A Miracle Constantly Repeated includes dioramas, hyper-realist sculptures and more.

A woman and a figurine standing in an abandoned room
Patricia Piccinini and her ballroom creations

Get chased by zombies

Put on your VR headset and pick up your free-roam controller. Then be transported to a virtual world at Zero Latency. Fend off undead swarms in Zombie Survival. Or fight to the death against killer robots in Singularity, lost in the depths of space. Choose your adventure in this huge virtual-reality gaming arena. You’ll be amazed by the ‘reality’ of this immersive experience.

See the future in a secret magic shop

The Nicholas Building's most mystical hidden treasure is definitely Muses Of Mystery. Climb the stairs (or jump in the iconic heritage lifts) to level 2 to find this world of wonders. Peruse unique items like purifying sage, obsidian hearts and even burnable 'hell money'. You can also book for a tarot reading or reiki healing session.

A woman in a magic shop
Muses of Mystery

Pay homage to Elvis at the cemetery

The closest the King of Rock and Roll got to Australia was Hawaii. But no matter, Elvis Presley is honoured with a shrine in the Melbourne General Cemetery. It’s believed to be the only authorised Elvis memorial outside the US. Commissioned by Presley’s Victorian fan club, the landscaped grotto was unveiled by rock legend Johnny O’Keefe in 1977.

Shop for scorpions and skulls in Melbourne’s wonder chamber

Wondering what to buy the person who has everything? A framed set of scorpions, perhaps, or a beautiful handmade kaleidoscope. You’ll find them at Wunderkammer. The many cabinets of curiosities in this unique little store are filled with weird and wonderful things. Taxidermy, skulls, fossils and archaic scientific instruments are just the beginning.

A shop with framed imagery on the walls
Wunderkammer

Live like a pirate

To get your pirate on, heave ho to the Mission to Seafarers. Get some liquid courage under your belt and sing-along to rousing sea shanties. Join in the chorus or even take the lead on a rousing rendition of ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’. Or be entertained by a pirate cabaret dinner brought to you by Queens of the Damned. Expect a night of swashbuckling burlesque and cut-throat comedy.

Visit a gallery frozen in the 19th century

Multi-award-winning, critically acclaimed and held at an undisclosed East Melbourne location. The Johnston Collection is quite literally a hidden gem. The home’s maze of rooms are filled top to bottom with all that’s gilded and antique. Think chequerboard floors, glittering chandeliers and portraits of ruffle-necked figures. The special house museum hosts exhibitions and events year-round. Like Objects of My Affection, showcasing items from the founder’s amazing collection.

An old-fashioned dining room with a chequerboard floor
The Johnston Collection

Dine in a futuristic eco house

Did you know that a zero-waste urban farmstead has taken up residence in Fed Square? Futurefoodsystem invites you to explore the future of food production and living. To learn more, stop by for a grown-on-site dinner with the eco home’s inhabitants, chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett. Or take a $10 tour and watch a live stream. Expand your mind with vertical veggie gardens, mushroom walls and aquaponics.

Order cocktails in Berlin

Will it be the glitz and glam of the West? Or the Soviet-styled shadows of the East? The choice is yours at Berlin Bar. Start your cocktail adventure in West Berlin, with its opulent decor and drinking booths. Then enter the darker world of East Berlin, with its agitprop posters and portraits of Uncle Joe. Find the door, ring the bell and fire your imagination. Welcome to Berlin.

The inside of a dimly lit bar
Berlin Bar

Leave reality behind in an escape room

Want weird rather than everyday challenges? Find the clues and solve the puzzles posed by Melbourne’s perplexing escape rooms. Bring a team along to Trapt to journey through the wonderful world of Oz. Dial up the fear factor to explore the paranormal world of Annabelle at Lost in Melbourne. Or use your critical thinking skills to unlock the Odditorium at Escape Hunt.

Prep for disaster at a doomsday festival

How would you prepare to face a climate-caused disaster? Share your thoughts and insights with experts at the Refuge Festival. This annual program brings together artists, scientists and the community to explore a series of 10 projects. Come along to the festival hub at North Melbourne Town Hall. You’ll discover an immersive program of interactive theatre, games, conversations and exhibitions.

More unique Melbourne experiences

Natural History

Large bar and grill that serves up an American southern-style steakhouse menu.

Little Mandarin Yoga & Pilates

An inclusive and welcoming yoga and pilates studio for people of all abilities.

West Side Place Artcade

West Side Place Artcade is a public art collection celebrating the vibrancy of art and the city.

Last updated on Fri 14 May 2021

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