First published on 13 Feb 2012. Updated on 10 Jan 2014.
Conquer croquet at Brunswick Mallet Sports Club
Golf croquet, puzzle croquet, association croquet and gateball – this genteel sport sounds as complicated as D&D. Find out for yourself. Brunswick Park, Victoria St, Brunswick. (03 9387 9239). Wed 10am-noon; Sun 2-4pm. First two visits FREE for non-members, $5 after.
Find yourself in the Enchanted Maze Garden
If city life is grinding your gears, venture down the Peninsula to the Enchanted Maze Garden. Hedge mazes, labyrinth mazes, fairy mazes, and tube slides will all test your internal compass. 55 Purves Rd, Arthurs Seat. (03 5981 8449). Mon-Sun 10am-6pm. $15-$25.
Drift to the Studley Park Boathouse
Row, row, row your boat – but if boating doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always picnic on the banks, feed the ducks, or retire to the restaurant of Australia’s oldest operating boathouse. Boathouse Rd, Kew. (03 9853 1828). Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. From $12 per half hour.
Go underground with the Cave Clan
Formed in 1985, the mysterious Cave Clan are dedicated to exploring the secret world of the city’s tunnels, drains and caves. You can join them on their underground adventures. Around Melbourne. FREE.
Fish off the St Kilda Pier
Perch yourself on the weathered footbridge, dangle your bare feet into Port Phillip Bay, cast out as the sun sets – and stick around to catch the post-dusk penguin parade. Jacka Blvd, St Kilda. FREE.
Go on an Aboriginal Guided Walk at Royal Botanic Gardens
Learn about native plants – from lemon-scented ironwood to fluffy paperbark – from an Aboriginal guide. If you’re not too unco, you can try to master the boomerang. Visitor Centre, Observatory Gate, Birdwood Ave, South Yarra 3141. (03 9252 2429). Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, and first Sun of the month, 11am-12.30pm. $25 adults, $21 conc, $10 child (6–17 years).
Help yourself at the Community Kitchen Garden
With its grassy floor, high-above-the-street location, and sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows, Melbourne Central’s Community Kitchen Garden feels a little like Eden. (Only without the talking snake.) Lvl 2 Bridge, Melbourne Central, Cnr LaTrobe & Swanston Sts, Melbourne. (03 9922 1112). Mon-Thu 10am-6pm; Fri 10am-9pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 10am–5pm. FREE.
Take sunset pics at the Shrine of Remembrance
Looking at your photos, your friends will inevitably ask “where’d you take that?!” You don’t have to tell them you were on the Shrine’s balcony, snapping pics down Ceremonial Ave. Birdwood Ave, Melbourne 3004. (03 9661 8100). Mon-Sun 10am-5pm. FREE.
Roll up your sleeves at CERES
Turn those iPhone-stunted thumbs green again by volunteering at the verdant utopia of the Community Environment Park (CERES). The farm, education centre and farmers market are all well worth preserving. CERES Community Environment Park, Cnr Roberts & Stewart Sts, Brunswick East. (03 9389 0150). FREE.
Give our city a green lung
Why not help give our city an environmental facelift? Urban Reforestation is always looking for volunteers for their shop, garden, or on one of their many worthy community projects. 818 Bourke St, Melbourne. FREE.
Get a picnic and a free bike from Little Creatures Brewery
Fancy a hot set of wheels and a cold six-pack? Little Creatures can provide both – along with a ploughman’s lunch picnic. The snacks will cost you, but they’ll throw the bikes in. 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. (03 9417 5500). $50.
Perv on Melbourne from a hot air balloon
Forget cleanliness – effortlessly drifting over the city at sunrise in a fire-powered basket is the closest you’ll ever get to godliness. Especially while you’re drinking champagne for breakfast. 10 Bond St, Abbotsford. (03 9427 0088). From $340.
Bathe at a nudist beach
Swing by Sunnyside North Beach in Mornington and casually strip off. The novelty will probably wear off in about two minutes flat – but you’ll have bragging rights forever! FREE.
Play chess at St Kilda Botanic Gardens
Regular-sized chess is for suckers. Challenge your mates to a match on the giant chessboard at St Kilda Botanic Gardens and feel like a legend whether you win or lose. FREE.