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

Hear an aesthetic pink toilet read the story of your life

Melbourne's one and only Science Gallery is home to the most confronting 'public toilet' in town. Step inside the plush pink pod and key in your Instagram handle. Take a deep breath, then sit down on the designer dunny. An AI voice will read (and sometimes sing) your social media posts out loud, from cringe captions to incomprehensible strings of emojis. Want more weird? The current exhibit also lets you: sing karaoke to fruit flies, sit beside a giant population tracking egg, and launch your corpse into space.

An art installation that looks like a toilet booth.
The toilet will see you now

Go to the city's first axe-throwing bar

Melbourne's first – and we'd hazard to say only – axe-throwing bar just opened on Elizabeth Street. From the outside, Maniax looks like a black tunnel into nowhere. Approach the stairs and you're met with a dazzling neon sculpture. Head down and learn how to throw from the pros in a purpose-designed axe arena. Then refuel with pizza, cocktails and craft beer in the separate bar.

Get served by robot kitty waiters

Love them or hate them, robots are becoming a bigger part of daily life. To combat staff shortages, and to give hard-working waiters extra assistance, heaps of Melbourne's best new restaurants are utilising these cute animatronic kitties. See the machines in action at Morpha, Kata Kita and Din Tai Fung. Then swing by Sam Sam to see the ultimate invention: a massive robot arm that does nothing but cook fried chicken.

A robotic machine serves food at a restaurant.
Robot kitty waiters at your service

Live like a pirate in a century-old building

To get your pirate on, heave ho to the Mission to Seafarers. Indulge in some liquid courage and enjoy a pirate cabaret dinner from Queens of the Damned. Expect a night of swashbuckling burlesque and cut-throat comedy. Then test your pipes at a free sea shanty sing-along session. These ever popular sessions are the ultimate way to blow off some steam, pirate-style.

Eat the silliest dessert in Melbourne

Not one to be outdone, Monster Bing makes already OTT desserts a little more extra with the addition of cute monster faces. Order your bingsu in a haze of nitro smoke, then dig into chocolate button eyeballs and wafer cone horns. Pair with boozy bubble tea and ice cream croffles for the full Monster experience.

A purple dessert with a face and cream being poured on it.
Monster Bing

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

Visit an NFT gallery at the Metaverse Store

What is an NFT? Such a good question. We could totally tell you, but it's probably best you find out for yourself at the Metaverse Store. Part exhibit, part cautionary tale, 100 per cent mind-boggling, it's a pop-up shop with it all. See NFTs on display, be terrified and inspired in equal measure, and impress your mates the next time NFTs come up in conversation.

Peruse pop-culture art toys

Step inside this quirky and colourful store on Little Collins Street and enter the world of art toys. This Is Not A Toy Store is not where you’d pick up a teddy for a toddler. This is where you come for the best independent Australian collectable toys and artful curios. Objects with a pop culture bent and a side of modern art. Think Pop Vinyl figures, Wendy Olsen pieces and all other manner of wild and wonderful things. 

Two flesh-coloured sculptures on a table
This is not a toy store

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.

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.

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

Discover hidden coin booth karaoke

Private karaoke rooms and the odd open mic night are pretty well-known in Melbourne. Mini coin-operated singing booths? Not so common. Enter Kono, a hidden gem lined with disco-lit nooks perfect for solo or small group singing. Regulars can be heard singing along to BUZZ ballads in perfect Korean, but there’s a bumper book of English tunes to pick from, too.

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.

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