In a city loved for its offbeat surprises – from seeing art galleries in letterboxes to watching penguins in St Kilda – there's always something unusual happening in Melbourne. Here are five fun, quirky things to do in Melbourne that we reckon are totally worth checking out.
Escape from a locked room | Melbourne CBD
You're locked in a room with a handful of people. In the dim light you can just see some writing on the walls. Is it a clue as to how you got here? Or is it a clue that will help you get out? Welcome to Escapism, the real-life game in which you and your pals have just under an hour to solve a series of mind-bending puzzles in order to escape. Strike QV has three Escapism rooms on offer, each with a different theme and a corresponding level of creepiness and difficulty. We can't tell you too much about it, as the surprise factor is a massive part of the fun, but we can say it's awesome. Get in there – and hope like hell you get out again.
Make your own gin | Red Hill
Craft spirits are the toast of the town, with Aussie gins and whiskeys winning international awards and sparking an interest in what goes into making such fine drops. In a nutshell, it's a lot of hard work, and we'd rather be drinking the stuff than making it. Unless, of course, we're hanging out at a Bass & Flinders gin class. Bass & Flinders Distillery, on the Mornington Peninsula, runs gin classes both onsite and in various locations in Melbourne. There's no difficult distilling here – rather, class participants are given a selection of botanicals (the distilled ingredients that give gin its flavour) to blend together to their liking, thus creating their very own gin. That's more challenging than it sounds, especially considering the class starts with a gin and tonic and you'll need to sample your creations along the way. Keep a record of your favourite blend, and Bass & Flinders will post you a full-sized bottle of your gin about a week after the class. Cheers!
Go on a guided food tour of Melbourne
If you're reading this, chances are you live in Melbourne, the world's most liveable city. And you probably know the city pretty well. So why would you want to do a guided tour? Because it's like being a tourist in your home town – and because this tour comes with cocktails. Melbourne Food Experiences lead fun cocktail and bar tours through the CBD, stopping at several of Melbourne's best bars (hidden, naturally) for refreshments and revealing the city's drinking-related history along the way. The tour snakes through art-filled alleys and passageways that even the most die-hard proud Melburnian won't know about which, along with the cocktails, will help you experience the city in a whole new way. It's Melbourne's history as seen through the bottom of a martini glass – surely the best way, no?
Eat with sharks | Dandenong South
- Eat With Sharks -
In some places, such as the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, you can swim with sharks. But for something a little different, why not eat with them? Everything about this experience, held at the Australian Shark and Ray Centre in Dandenong South, is just a little bizarre, from the dress code (waterproof pants, always a good look) to the setting (a shark- and stingray-filled tank, naturally). If you think eating dinner with a pet cat on your lap is tricky, try eating with a shark nearby. Just don't order the flake.
Learn to dance '80s style | Melbourne CBD
When you hit the dance floor, do you Get Into the Groove? Or do your dance moves have you Livin' on a Prayer? Learn to dance, '80s style, and you'll never be afraid to Bust a Move again. Claire Bowman's ridiculously fun dance classes will have you spinning right round, baby, right round as you practice all the classic '80s moves, though it has to be said you'll spend as much time laughing as you will dancing. Students report that they Just Can't Get Enough of these classes – and if you really Push It, you'll get as much exercise as if you went Running up That Hill. All you need to enrol is a sense of humour, though leotards, leg warmers and side ponytails are encouraged. Come on Eileen, don't mullet over – Let's Dance!
Main image credit: The Window.