Melbourne is filled with newer constructions than your average ye olde European town, so it’s hard to imagine the troubled spirits that hide away in the alleys or laneways we know and love. But Ben Oliver, an ex-European tour guide and founder of Drinking History Tours, has set out to showcase our spookier side. The company’s latest Scary Tales and Hidden Ales tour takes groups of up to ten through the city’s nooks and crannies and stops off at three of the city’s much-loved bars for a cocktail, beer or wine along the way.
The tour kicks off at Queen Victoria Market, which was the site of Melbourne's first official cemetery, and talks you through the spooky goings-on of the disturbed graveyard. From there, wander throughout the CBD on foot as your knowledgeable host gives you tidbits of information on the city and the horrors that took place in it. Learn about a WW II serial killer who roamed Swanston Street, the man reported to have been Jack the Ripper, the infamous Gun Alley murder and the spirit of the young victim. See the city in a different light and, if you’re from Melbourne, feel like a tourist in your own backyard.
The three-hour tour takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays from 3.30pm to 6.30pm and ends in a bar where you can discuss all that you’ve experienced with your fellow group members. It costs $129 per person, and this covers the costs of three drinks, too. Wear your best walking shoes, take something comfortable to wear and settle in for an afternoon of spine-chilling tales. A specially designed Drinking History Tours app is also free to download that contains photos of various locations and people to further extend the goosebumps on your arm.