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Photograph: Lightscape

Things to do in Melbourne in August

August's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne in August

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier

Wondering what to do in Melbourne in August? We can help. Scroll down for our curated guide of the best attractions, events and places to visit in Melbourne this month. And if you're keen to make the most of winter, try these hot chocolates, mulled wines or great winter getaways

Looking to plan ahead? Here are the best things to do in Melbourne in September. 

The best things to do in August

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Melbourne

It’s Christmas for Potterheads. Three years after its celebrated opening at the expensively refurbished Princess Theatre, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is taking an apt step back in time with a second premiere, this time of a streamlined one-play version that carves a good three hours off of its original running time. There are various motivations for this. Even for ardent devotees or seasoned theatre veterans, six hours in a seat is a slog, and once killed-for tickets had become readily available. But what could have been a cynical hatchet job has turned out to be the making of this show. The main pillars of the story remain – picking up where JK Rowling’s novels ended, we meet the children of famed wizard Harry Potter as they depart for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, the enduring friendships that kept Harry alive are elusive for Harry’s awkward son Albus, and when he fails to live up to the towering expectations of not just his school but the entire wizarding world, his sole friendship becomes both his greatest refuge and his biggest vulnerability.

But while you might reasonably assume that this is a play about magic, you’d be wrong. This is a play about love. Which should come as no surprise – love is quite literally the most powerful, death-defying force in JK Rowling’s seven-book saga. What is surprising however, is how one of the greatest juggernaut fiction franchises of all time has leaned – comfortably, credibly, with heart-rending sensitivity – into a queer romance.

Many people who strapped in to the six-hour theatrical marathon that was the original two-show format of the Cursed Child were left frustrated by the almost-but nature of the relationship between the two main protagonists, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy (yes, son of that Malfoy). A story (no spoilers – #keepthesecrets) that spends such extravagant resources to explore a connection that overcomes alternative realities, the boundless void of uncreation and simply being a teenager with overbearing parents, yanked the rug from beneath the audience’s feet with a couple of clunky lines that frankly retconned the hours of storytelling they’d just witnessed. However, in this streamlined one-play version, whatever tentativeness that may have held back fully embracing this facet of the narrative seems to have lifted. Now, this wondrous show, jam-packed with spectacle and surprise, is one of the most authentic, moving, beautifully told coming out stories ever seen on stage.

The original conjuring of Cursed Child had one clear imperative. JK Rowling’s sequel to her blockbusting novels would be an unappologetic ode to the worldwide fandom that had embraced the wizarding world of Potter and Co down to the swish and flick of the smallest charm. But this also posed a problem. With a marathon performance (with a hefty pricetag) that relied so heavily on fan service, a swathe of potential ticket buyers, uninitated into the Potterverse, were held at arm’s length.

While some knowledge of Potter’s history is still somewhat a prerequisite, many of the recent changes to story have jettisoned the winks, nods, and barefaced indulgences to the novels and distilled the narrative to focus on more universal truths – of course packaged in a way that still makes use of the extraordinary stage craft and sorcery that made the two-show OG one of the most successful stage shows on both Broadway and the West End.

But how could such a success lose almost half of its running time and remain intact? It’s a question of economy of narrative. Those who are only familiar with the films of the original seven novels may be used to more disciplined plots than those that actually exist in Rowling’s pages. Indeed, the beats of the original script of the Cursed Child, penned by Rowling in partnership with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, were at times so head-spinningly convoluted with call-backs, flashbacks, back-to-the-future divergences, it was tricky to keep a handle on every parallel story arc in motion. By losing some of the zanier corners of the story, the action feels more nimble, the plot more agile, and the emotional poigniancy that thrives beyond the whizbangs of the wandwork shines even brighter. It makes certain scenes that might have seemed inconsequential in the scheme of six hours of theatre hit even harder and individual lines that might have seemed throwaway blaze into memory.

But fear not, this edit doesn’t shortchange audiences when it comes to jaw-drops. Oooohs and aaahhs and how-the-hells? still abound in this bewitching triumph, amplified by the fleet-footed choreography of Steve Hoggart and buoyant, poppy score by Imogen Heap. Which is important, because seeing magic tricks before your eyes is an experience that the sterile ease of CGI simply cannot touch. To see wands waved in real life and for spells to literally spring from them is a thrill that remains entirely unchanged in the new Cursed Child, but without the uniformly stellar performances of this Australian cast, they would be nothing more than parlour tricks. Nyx Calder as Scorpius is deeply endearing in his awkward, quirky account that is clearly the product of many hundreds of hours inhabiting this role, while Ben Walter’s quiet frustrations and subtle yearnings as Albus Potter are a perfect echo of the internal battles many young people conceal while they are discovering their identity. 

Harry Potter and Cursed Child was always more than the sum of its parts; such is the way of magic. But somehow, it has pulled out an even more impressive trick – by losing so much of its length and yet somehow saying more. 

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Footscray

Keen on eating and drinking outside this winter, but less keen on the bone-chilling cold? Thanks to four venues across Melbourne, you can book in for your own private winter wonderland in the form of cosy winter igloo gardens. Enter your igloo, settle into the cosy chairs draped with blankets and furry pillows and prepare to warm yourself up from the inside with delicious food and beverage packages. 

The igloos are open from now until the end of winter, and we've rounded up their individual offerings below. Date and time availabilities vary across venues.

The Wharf Hotel

Cosy up beneath a sky of twinkling fairy lights on the banks of the Yarra in this cosy private igloo that can fit up to eight people. For $59 per person, you can graze on a sharing platter and enjoy your choice of two beverages including mulled wine or cider, Hot Toddies, Espresso Martinis and house wines, beers and ciders. For an extra $20 per person, you can also enjoy a chocolate fondue station and a boozy hot chocolate. Make your booking here.

The Station Hotel

Snuggle with your partner or up to five of your nearest and dearest friends at this private winter wonderland. For $75 per person, you can enjoy a drink on arrival and a three-course meal with options like Wagyu tartare topped with truffle and black garlic mayo, chargrilled rump of lamb, sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream and more. Make your booking here.

The Auburn Hotel

For $69 per person, enjoy a three-course meal under a sky of twinkling fairy lights. Your booking entitles you to 2.5 hours in the igloo while you enjoy a winter cocktail and a share-style set menu. Think winter favourites like pumpkin arancini, roasted heirloom carrots, pan-roasted Murray cod and sticky toffee pudding. Make your booking here.

Studley Park Boathouse

When you think high tea, you likely think of a posh affair in an old-world hotel. But thanks to the Studley Park Boathouse, now you and up to five guests can enjoy your treats in the great outdoors with enchanting views of the Yarra — while staying warm in your igloo, of course. For $52 per person, you'll enjoy a high tea comprised of sweet and savoury bites, plus unlimited tea or coffee. You can upgrade to the bottomless Spritz and Mimosa package for an additional $25 per person. Make your booking here.

Looking for more things to do? Check out our round-up of the best things happening in Melbourne this week.

  • Art
  • Melbourne

The UK's Tate museum is known as one of the world's foremost art institutions – but this winter you won't have to leave Melbourne to see works from this renowned gallery. 

Light: Works from Tate’s Collection is bringing more than 70 works from the Tate's impressive national collection to ACMI as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series. As the exhibition title suggests, the works coming to this Australian exclusive showcase all relate to the theme of 'light' and span 200 years of art history and mediums such as painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, kinetic art, installation and (of course, it's ACMI) the moving image. 

As part of the exhibition, you can see works from painters famous for their depictions and mastery of light in natural environments– think J.M.W. Turner, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley – as well as those who work with light in a more abstract sense, such as Wassily Kandinsky and Bridget Riley.

These paintings are complemented by contemporary, large scale installations that capture and explore light in all its forms. Highlights include James Turrell's immersive glowing work 'Raemar, Blue'; Olafur Eliasson's reflective, interstellar 'Stardust Particle' installation; and Yayoi Kusama's 'The Passing Winter' – one of Kusama's famed infinity spaces, which you can peer into. 

Light has been curated by the Tate and will be supported by a series of talks, performances, film screenings, workshops and events that will further reflect (pun intended) on the themes within the exhibition. 

Light: Works from Tate’s Collection opens at ACMI June 16, 2022. Head to the website for more information. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Southbank

The NGV's Friday Nights series is back for another round, and this time the gallery is pairing a string of gigs alongside the highly anticipated exhibition The Picasso Century.

Few things go hand-in-hand like music and art, and NGV Friday Nights’ set-up is the best way to take in the latest NGV exhibition after dark while enjoying the best in local music.

Performing in the NGV's Great Hall every Friday night from 10 June to early October, this season's line-up features performances from the likes of Ngaiire, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Polly and the Pockets, and heaps more. See the full line-up on the NGV's website.

To tie in with the exhibition, Bar Lourinhã will be running their Picasso-inspired pop-up, taking over NGV’s Garden Restaurant, from June 10-October 9. While the small Spanish wine bar is usually tucked away on Little Collins Street, it will make an appearance with a bespoke menu for the exhibition's run. Expect golden croquettes filled with jamón and manzanilla-braised beef cheeks from culinary stalwart and executive chef Matt McConnell to warm you up for a pre- or post-exhibition feed.

Every Friday evening visitors can enjoy the Yering Station Wine Bar in the Great Hall and choose from a menu of fine wines from the Yarra Valley or wine flight tasting experience. Meanwhile at the Pommery Champagne Bar in the Gallery Kitchen café guests can get a flute of Pommery Pops at the Pommery Cart. Or you can embrace the Melbourne winter at the mulled wine bar on the Garden Terrace: sip on a mulled wine or dessert wine, warm up under blankets and heaters, and enjoy views of the city lights and night sky.

The most influential painter of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso changed art forever. His works are among the most famous in existence, hanging on gallery walls and in private collections the world over, as well as being instantly recognisable to millions both in and outside of the fine arts. NGV Friday Nights allows you to make a full night of experiencing this blockbuster show. 

NGV Friday Nights runs June 10 to October 7. Tickets are available now on the NGV website

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  • Art
  • Installation

Victoria, you've heard of pink lakes and pink cliffs, but this might be Melbourne's first pink pond. This December, the NGV unveils a pink pond in the Grollo Equiset Garden (the gallery's sculpture garden). The blushing body of water, titled 'Pond[er]' is the work of the winner of the NGV's 2021 Architecture Commission, and is designed and produced by architecture firm Taylor Knights and artist James Carey. 

Unsurprisingly, the pond is inspired by Australia's pink salt lakes but also draws from the original architectural designs for the NGV International. In addition to the large, pink pool of water, 'Pond[er]' also features beds of native Victorian wildflowers that will bloom at varying stages throughout the installation's tenure. It's sustainable too, with the installation's materials to be sourced or made locally and to then be distributed to Landcare, Indigenous and community groups for further use following deinstallation. 

NGV director, Tony Ellwood, said "Through an elegant interplay of architectural and landscape elements, this work draws our attention to the challenges facing Australia’s many catchments and river systems, whilst also ensuring that the design itself has minimal environmental impact by considering the future lifecycle of the materials used."

If you're anything like us, you're probably thinking "can I jump in the pond?". The answer to that is yes, yes you can. Once installed, visitors to 'Pond[er]' will be able to walk along a series of walkways and accessible platforms to explore the work and even dip their feet in the pink pool itself. 

The NGV's pink pond opens December 6 and be available to experience until October 28 2022.

  • Art
  • Paintings
  • Southbank

The most influential painter of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso changed art forever. His works are among the most famous in existence, hanging on gallery walls and in private collections the world over, as well as being instantly recognisable to millions both in and outside of the fine arts.

The NGV is bringing more than 80 of Picasso's works to Melbourne, organised into 12 thematic sections – and yes, Cubism is more than ably represented – along with an exciting Friday night music program.

An artist doesn't exist in a vacuum, and Picasso learned from and influenced countless numbers of his contemporaries. The works of more than 60 of them are also included in the exhibition, carefully and thoughtfully curated by scholar of 20th-century painting Didier Ottinger, deputy director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Artists included in the exhibition include underrated names such as Natalia Goncharova, Julio González, Wifredo Lam, Suzanne Valadon and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, as well as more familiar names like Braque, Dalì and Giacometti.  

"This exhibition offers visitors an extraordinary insight into the development of modern art and the preeminent figure at its centre, Pablo Picasso," says NGV director Tony Ellwood. "Through more than 170 works of art – including many that have never been seen in Australia – audiences will come to appreciate the many ways in which Picasso influenced – and was influenced by – the artistic community that surrounded him."

To celebrate, NGV Friday Nights will return from June 10 with after-hours access to the exhibition and a line-up of live performances, bespoke bars, and Spanish-inspired dining. The concert series kicks off with Ngaiire (June 10) and Emma Donovan and the Putbacks (June 17) with doors opening at 6pm. Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros’s Bar Lourinhã will take over the NGV’s Garden Restaurant for a celebration of Spanish culture and dining on Friday evenings from 6pm and daily for lunch service throughout the exhibition’s run.  

Find out more and book tickets to The Picasso Century and NGV Friday Nights.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals

Dolly Parton's stage version of hit 1980 comedy 9 to 5 is coming to Arts Centre Melbourne this July, almost two years to the day that the production was originally due to premiere.

The musical features an entire score of Dolly songs, including the landmark title track '9 to 5', and follows the plot of the film pretty closely: workmates Doralee (played by Parton in the film), Violet (originally Lily Tomlin) and Judy (Jane Fonda) have been pushed to the edge by a narcissistic boss. So they hatch an elaborate plan to extract their revenge, and hilarity ensues. The book is by Patricia Resnick, who penned the film.

The local version is led by a fabulous cast of musical theatre veterans and rising stars: Marina Prior plays Violet with Erin Clare as Doralee and the inimitable Casey Donovan as Judy. Caroline O'Connor plays Roz, an administrative assistant desperately in love with her boss.

The show opened on Broadway in 2009 and wasn't an enormous hit. But when it was reimagined for London's West End in 2019, it became an immediate smash, scoring rave reviews and extending its run multiple times. 

Originally the production was slated to open July 2020 at Her Majesty's Theatre, but will now open July 10, 2022 at Arts Centre Melbourne's State Theatre. Tickets go on sale February 11.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Melbourne

The Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street opened its doors to guests in March 2021, having taken over the old Italian Romanesque bones of Melbourne's heritage-listed Equity Chambers. The boutique hotel is a gorgeous blend of old and new, with lofty ceilings, old barrister's offices laden with gold detailing and dark natural wood panelling that's reminiscent of the State Library. Stepping inside is like going back in time, and in celebration of the hotel's one-year anniversary, you're invited to experience the lavish Celebrations Stay Package. 

When you check into your stylish guest room, you'll find a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine by Mornington Peninsula's Quealy Winemakers, a box of chocolates by local bean-to-bar chocolatier Atypic Chocolate, coffee by Cacao Chocolate and bathroom amenities by Hunter Lab. Settle in, crack open that bottle and munch on those chocolates before sinking into your plush bed.

If that didn't sound lavish enough, you'll also receive a $50 celebration credit that you can use to upgrade your stay. There are several ways that you can use it, including amenity upgrades like a pampering kit by Hunter Lab, tickets to the NGV's current exhibition and minibar cocktails made by the hotel bar, the Douglas Club. If you'd like to feel like an A-list celebrity, add on the limousine transfer to the hotel or request celebratory balloons to be waiting for you in the room upon your arrival. After a restful sleep, head downstairs in the morning to Luci for breakfast for two. 

The package is available until October 31, and you can book online through the website

Trying to stick to a budget? Check out our round-up of Melbourne's best cheap hotels. 

  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • Melbourne

The world's most ambitious augmented reality art exhibition is on now at Melbourne's two Royal Botanic Gardens.

Seeing the Invisible is an alfresco art exhibition showcasing works by some of the world's top contemporary artists, including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol (who you might remember did the massive quantum computer work, 'Quantum Memories', for the 2020 NGV Triennial), El Anatsui, Isaac Julien, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz and Timur Si-Qin.

From September 2021 until September 2022, visitors to the Botanic Gardens can explore Seeing the Invisible for free, viewing the artworks via an app available on smartphones and tablets. When you visit Seeing the Invisible you'll also be taking part in an exhibition that's happening simultaneously around the world in 12 different locations.

Melbourne's Botanic Gardens are the only Australian location taking part, with other venues including the Eden Project in Cornwall, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario, and the San Diego Botanic Garden. 

Seeing the Invisible is on at both the Melbourne and Cranbourne botanic gardens from now until September 30, 2022. 

  • Shopping
  • Markets
  • Melbourne

Melbourne’s new cutting-edge craft fair, Crft*wrk, is popping up at Queen Victoria Market from June to October this year, after a successful launch in May 2022.

Curated by the team behind Fitzroy’s popular and long-running The Rose Street Artists’ Market, the pop up delivers an inspiring range of bespoke and unique wares, works and pieces made by locals. Pick up a few new pieces for your home including handmade, small-batch ceramics from Made By Ness, or some artisan handcrafted jewellery from Mediya Jewellery.

Head to Queen Victoria Market's open air buildings, at the rear of K and L sheds, on the last Saturday of each month to check out Crft*wrk. For more information, check out their website.

  • Art
  • Paintings
  • Ballarat

Max Meldrum was a controversial personality in the world of art, and his Tonalist movement made an undeniable impact on Australian Modernism. At the Art Gallery of Ballarat this winter, you can see a selection of noteworthy artworks, some created as far back as the 1920s, produced by two-time Archibald Prize winner Max Meldrum and his ‘Meldrumites’ – the Australian artists from the Tonalist movement.

After developing his distinctive theory of painting, Meldrum opened a school in 1916 where
he taught his philosophy of Tonalism: essentially, where tonal variations are the focus, over
drawing skill and colour. Adapting to this shadow and highlight method of painting,
Meldrum cultivated a group of students who admired his outlook on painting, eventually
forming the Tonalist Movement.

Characterised by its signature muted tones, lack of colour, and ‘misty’ appearance, Tonalism made its way through the art scene during the early to mid-20th century, remaining one of Australia’s most memorable movements to this day.

This group, and subsequently this exhibit, includes famous names including Clarice Beckett
and Colin Colahan who were both inspired by the works of Meldrum and early Tonalism,
along with other ‘Meldrumites’ including Alma Figuerola, Jock Frater, Harry Harrison and
Percy Leason.

“We hold some fabulous examples of the work of Tonalist artists, including important works
by Clarice Beckett and Max Meldrum, but we also hold works by many of Meldrum’s
students and followers," said Louise Tegart, the director of the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

“We have also used the exhibition as an opportunity to build on this area of our collection,
by acquiring works, including a gorgeous landscape by Meldrum, a spectacular still life by
Harry Harrison and an early Clarice Beckett still life which is quite different in tone from the
two sublime grey seascapes already in our collection.”

The exhibition will feature as part of the annual Ballarat Winter Festival, running from June 25 to July 17. In addition to the exhibit, the gallery is hosting a series of public programs including an In Conversation with Peter Perry OAM, one of Australia’s leading experts on the Tonalism movement, on June 8, and a talk with artist David Moore on the influence of Meldrum, on June 18.

Heading out of the city for the weekend? Here are some things you can only do in Ballarat.

  • Museums
  • Melbourne

Whether you are on babysitting duty for the school holidays or are a keen ocean explorer, the new Dive into the Deep exhibit at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, offers a unique and informative day out for adults and children alike. For the first time at the Melbourne Aquarium, the Dive into the Deep exhibit sees a 14 metre long, immersive digital projection, taking guests on a explorative examination through the depths of the ocean, and through the stages of time.

Designed to explain the story of the ocean zones and bring to life the marine creatures that call it home, engaging wall graphics and digital imagery take visitors through the ocean’s sunlight zone (0-200 meters), twilight zone (200-1000 meters), and midnight zone (1000-4000 meters). Unless you are a marine biologist, we guarantee adults will have some learning to do too. Answer this question to see if you still have a thing or two to learn about the oceans: how much of the ocean lies within the midnight zone, where the water pressure is extreme and temperature is near freezing? a) 30 per cent; b) 70 per cent; or c) 90 per cent.

The Dive into the Deep exhibit also houses a collection of mystical aquatic creatures like the tasselled anglerfish, lungfish, clownfish and many more. Dive into the Deep is part of the permanent exhibits, which are included in the admission price, so be sure to check out some of the aquariums stand out features while you’re at it, such as the Penguin Playground and the Bay of Rays.

And for anyone playing at home: the answer was c) 90 per cent. Things seem to get weird in the midnight zone and to be honest we are glad the closest we can get to exploring it is through the digital projection. If you didn’t know the answer, go check out Dive into the Deep to learn all a whole lot more about the ocean.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Melbourne

Aussie bowling alley and all-around funhouse Strike has released its newest collab – a project to turn humble bowling balls and shoes into a thing of art. From Tuesday, February 21, players can get their hands on specially designed attire by Australian artist Steen Jones. Because, as the saying goes: 'Look good, play better'.

Known for reinventing classic forms of entertainment, Strike Bowling wanted to elevate the usual alley experience and inject some style into the classic red, black and white colour palette. "It’s turned out to be such a cool (and bad-ass) collection," says artist Steen Jones. "Truth be told, I don't think I've ever had so much interest, hype or excitement for a collaboration, which is another reason why this project has been so great to be a part of"

Steen's artistic style is recognisable from previous projects with Vans, Lego, Sailor Jerry, Rolling Stone and Converse, just to name a few. For $25, players can opt to upgrade to the High Rollers pack, which includes a custom design bowling ball, bowling shoes and High Rollers socks to keep. You also score a free stein of Furphy, express check-in and a High Rollers sticker pack.

The High Rollers upgrade is available from February 21, ongoing – for players aged 18+ only. For more information or to book a lane, click here

High Rollers is available all week at Stike QV, Melbourne Central and Eastland.

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Brunswick

If you thought building things out of cardboard was a relic of your childhood, think again; Australian independent craft brewery Bridge Road Brewers has created the grown-up hideaway fort of your dreams. Aptly named A Bar Made of Cardboard, it's a pop-up bar where everything aside from the beer taps, fridges and dishwasher is made with recycled cardboard. 

It might sound a bit wacky to craft a bar out of cardboard, but this venue is actually a prelude to a second (and permanent) brewery and bar that's due to pop up on the same site at 129 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East this December. The cardboard bar will be open for around six months, and when the time is up, it'll be dismantled and the materials will be reused, recycled and composted. 

While the cardboard fit-out might seem lean, the menu isn't. Swing by from Wednesday to Sunday to enjoy a line-up of the brewery's top core and seasonal beers rotating across six bar taps, a wine list with small wine producers from Victoria's High Country and small-batch spirits and aperitifs. If you get hungry, order from a small snack menu featuring Chappy's Chips and Mount Zero Olives, or saunter over to the nearby food trucks available on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Looking for more things to do? Check out our round-up of the best things happening in Melbourne this week.

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

One of the best ways to learn about Melbourne is on foot, with an experienced guide pointing out nooks and crannies you might otherwise miss and telling entertaining stories about Melbourne's colourful past. But walking and learning are thirsty work, no? 

Enter Drinking History Tours, which will take you on a tour down laneways, up alleys and through hidden parts of Melbourne or Fitzroy to teach you about the city's hidden gems and secret histories. And most importantly, the tours include stops at three fantastic Melbourne bars along the way. 

The Melbourne tour takes in Federation Square, the Forum, the MCG, AC/DC Lane, the Old Treasury Building, Chinatown and more. The tour stops at three bars en route, and there are snacks at the second bar and a full dinner at the third. You'll learn fascinating stories about Melbourne's seedy past, including tales of murder, brothels and a centuries-old unsolved mystery.

The Fitzroy tour starts at St Patrick's Cathedral and includes the Royal Exhibition Building, the Spanish Club, Brunswick Street, Johnston Street and laneways in between. You'll learn about Fitzroy's seedier side, including the epic battle between Squizzy Taylor and his archrival, as well as fun facts about the suburb's art and music scene. It also stops at three bars along the way: an old Melbourne stalwart, a reinvented hipster hangout and one of Melbourne's best cocktail bars. There's also a Whisky Bars and Gin Joints tour where guests explore three whisky or gin bars and discover the spirits' spirited history in Melbourne.

Founder Ben Oliver has worked as a guide for years, including five years running Melbourne walking tours and a stint running bar crawls in Greece. What we're saying is: you're in good hands, as he knows the importance of both the drinking and the history. There are drinks specials at the bars en route, but while food is included, drinks are not. 

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