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 things to do in the city.

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. 

Four flesh-coloured sculptures on a table
This is Not a Toy Store

Visit 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.

See an eerie exhibit in an abandoned ballroom

After years in the dark, the mysterious Flinders Street Station ballroom has finally reopened to visitors. Inside you'll find an epic exhibition by renowned artist Patricia Piccinini. Wander endless rooms filled with eerie creatures, towering installations and hauntingly beautiful displays.

A sculpture in front of a projected image of a fish
One of Patricia Piccinini's creations

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

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.

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.

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

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