The Melbourne Lanes


"Fall in love with the Melbourne lanes!"

The lanes are quite simply amazing and a real part of any trip to this city. You can lose yourself in the maze of lanes, and quite frankly this is what you should do.

It's the wonderful surprise of discovering a hidden gem down one of these lanes - whether its a bar, some wonderful art or a great little hole in the wall selling coffee.

Below you will find some of my favourite lanes for you to start your journey of getting lost in them....



The History of the lanes is fascinating.

The Hoddle Grid, so named after its designer Robert Hoddle, is the layout of the streets in the centre of Melbourne and was established in 1837.

Melbourne like other Australian cities and towns had the chance to be laid out carefully (a comparison to say London that developed over centuries and centuries)

It is for this reason that a grid with wide European streets was developed, with many of the streets being named after royalty.

A series of lanes were created for access points for the major trade stores situated on the large wide streets. Their names reflect more the workings of the lanes and were certainly not royal! e.g Hardware lane where the majority of hardware depots were located.

Today you'll find a mixture of beautiful lanes with restaurants and boutique shops; and some that are full of rubbish bins (but don't be put off as you may also just find a door leading to an amazing club or bar)

I'm sure most Sydney siders are a little jealous of the Melbourne lanes as it really is a great contrast to the rest of the modern skyscrapers that are all too familiar in every other Australian city.

Which Melbourne Lanes To Visit


Everyone has their favourites. I suggest getting a map and working out a little route for yourself or simply start wandering.

A good option is to join a Hidden Secrets Tour: Lanes and Arcades Tour which costs about $100 and is a 3 hour walking tour. We really enjoyed this one and felt we were discovering a hidden world known only by the locals.

  • Block Place and Hardware lane for its history, hustle and bustle and nice restaurants

  • The Flinders quarter and Flinders Lane for brunch or lunch - this is often known as the original Melbourne lane. There are some good bars in this area too.
  • Royal Arcade - architecturally beautiful. Did you know that these Arcades were built wide enough to accommodate the wide ladies dresses of the 1800's
  • Degraves Street for its cafe culture. Try Degraves Espresso bar where the benches are from a former magistrate‚Äôs court and the seats are recycled cinema seats.
  • Hosier Lane and ACDC lanes for street art


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