After much pondering and research and unexpected obstacles and screw-ups and rehashed plans with some tweaks and so on and so forth Without Destination has finally relocated to a new base. So it’s a new beginning in a new city and so far..loving it! As far as first impressions go Melbourne sure has charmed me and lived up to its reputation as the most liveable city in the world. It has perfected a stylish, arty European city architectural look mixed with a modern dynamic and cosmopolitan city feel down to a T. Its cafes, laneways and festivals are so delightfully quaint and its people are cheery and welcoming. With sport in its heart, its an endless parade of events all year round and its with good reason its earned the title of cultural and sporting capital of Australia.
As you may have noticed its already hard for me not to be effusive when writing about Melbourne, however, I shall control myself and get to the point. I could think of no better post than one featuring a walking tour of Central Melbourne’s cobbled laneways I took with a Lonely Planet guide in hand that feature, chic cafes and bars, 19th century arcades and street art.
We start at Flinders Street station, whether one is coming in by train or on Melbourne’s iconic tram network, and before heading into the inner lanes check out Federation Square which quite simply is the centre of Melbourne these days. Fed Square as its popularly known, is not really a square but an undulating and patterned space which links to most of Melbourne’s iconic landmarks.
From Fed Square we exit onto Flinders St and cross across Swanston St and head a little ahead where we can spot Degraves Subway. Built for 1956 Olympics it was in typically Melburnian style incorporated into Campbell Arcade. However it is closed for now. Right after the subway turn right into Degraves St and begin the journey through bluestone cobbles.
Degraves St and further head across Flinders Lane, Centre Place, form the core of Melburnian cafe experience. At the end of you can start to get a few glimpses of Melbourne’s internationally renowned street art.
Cross over to Collin St. and to the left across the road you can enter Block Arcade, one of the 19th century etched glass roofed, mosaic Floored, fine specimen of European style galleria architecture in Melbourne.
No sooner have you exited this arcade into Little Collins St you spot Royal Arcade, another charming olde-style heritage building. The arcade connects to Bourke St Mall for those who want to indulge in a bit of shopping. Or else if you are like me, then wander through the mall and turn right at exit and walk ahead to find Union Lane on the right.
Walk through Union Lane building up the street art experience and at the end turn left to find yourself in Little Collins St again and then go ahead and take a right on Swanston St and you can find Manchester Unity Arcade, another art deco style landmark which was unfortunately was closed the day I went walking. Hope you guys have better luck. Get back to Swanston St and then head left towards Collins St and then head east at the intersection to the ‘Paris End’ of Collins St, for the more discerning shoppers among you. Not for me. However along the way take a look at the a bit underwhelming City Square and also an impressive Town Hall building.
Also you get to admire a couple of quaint Gothic and Romanesque churches, examples of Melbourne’s old-fashioned European architectural charm.
At the end of Collins St, turn right into Exhibition St and right again into Flinders Lane and go a little ahead till you see Duckboard Place. Head into it and do a U-turn at the end back into ACDC Lane as we get serious about immersing ourself in street art of Melbourne.
Dont forget to take a look at Cherry Bar, rock n’ roll landmark in Melbourne.
Continue down Flinders Lane and you attain fruition to street art spotting as you reach Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane, the mecca of street art. Melbourne street art scene deserve separate posts which hopefully I will put up soon.
Hosier Lane ends at MoVida, a Melbourne must-eat for some Spanish delights. A fitting end to a delightful stroll around inner-city laneways.