First published on 15 Feb 2012. Updated on 10 Jan 2014.
Live like a local with Wimdu
Wimdu’s rental network boasts accommodation in 2,173 cities and 103 countries. Out-of-towners can now blend in with motley Melburnians by adopting someone else’s house, lifestyle, and maybe wardrobe. Rental fee + 12%.
Climb inside your own head at an Ashram
Life is hard. Sometime the only way to deal is to get into a downward dog and chant it off. The Ashram’s intensive courses offer all the meditation, yoga and peace you can handle. 202 Gore St, Fitzroy. (03 9419 6299). Price varies.
Rock yourself to sleep on a boat
If a B&B doesn’t have enough Bs for you, add one more with bed and breakfast on a boat. Melbourne Dockland Yacht Charters run overnight cruises on the bay, breathtaking views included. Docklands. (0425 752 745). $590–$690.
Spot Melbourne’s best StREET art
There’s much more to street art than Banksy. Follow notable taggers such as Makatron – check him out on the Night Cat wall in Fitzroy – around Melbourne’s laneways in this insiders’ guide. 110 Franklin St, Melbourne. (03 9328 5556). Tue, Thu & Sat 1.30-5pm. $69.
Pay your respects to the King at Melbourne Cemetery
Melbourne’s own shrine to Elvis Presley was erected soon after his death – sorry, supposed death – in 1977. Visit the cemetery and show your hunka hunka burning love still burns bright. College Cr, Parkville 3052. (03 9349 3014). Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. FREE.
Host your own speakeasy at Rancho Notorious
Upstairs at 1000 Pound Bend is Rancho Notorious, a 1950s-style speakeasy cinema available for public hire. Gather your mates for a special screening; dress up and bar service optional. Upstairs, 361 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne.
Hang out back at the National Gallery of Victoria
An arvo at the Grollo Equiset Garden will make you feel like a true renaissance man (or woman). You can book gourmet picnic packages from the NGV or BYO babaganoush. 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne. (03 8620 2444). Sat-Sun until April 2012. $25-$50.
Meet like-minded nerds at Melbourne Geek Night
‘Geek’ isn’t just about Marvel Comics and Battlestar Galactica. Melbourne Geek Night has regular guest talks on new tech like 3D printing and “how to be creative on demand”. Horse Bazaar, 397 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne. Tue 21 Feb, 6pm. FREE.
Slap your thighs at a laughter club
The humble chuckle, however you come by it, makes you feel awesome. It’s a fact. If you can’t see what’s so funny, get together with your local laughter club and fake-it-till-you-make-it. FREE.
Play Xanadu at Sunshine Roller Skating Karaoke
Roller skating and karaoke? Together? It’s like the turducken of daggy fun! Karaoke and Skate sessions run every Saturday at Sunshine Roller Skating Centre. Now to add a third... 38 McIntyre Rd, Sunshine. (03 9364 8583). Mon-Sun, session times vary. $12.
Find your soul mate at spiritual speed dating
If you find the pub lacking in enlightened talent, get down to a spiritual speed dating night where you can chat chakras over vegan nibbles and wonder what it all means. (0422 140 811). $50–$55.
Get Spooked at Old Melbourne Gaol
See the deathmask worn by Ned Kelly after his hanging or summon the prison’s demons with a Ghostseekers night tour. 377 Russell St, Melbourne. (03 8663 7228). Mon-Sun 9.30am-5pm. $12-$23.
Go back in time at Werribee Mansion
Relive the Victorian era with a tour of this 60-room 1874 palace. And the adjoining State Rose Garden is nothing to sneeze at either. 320 K Rd, Werribee 3030. (131 963). Mon-Sun 10am-5pm. Adult $7, child $5.
Play free indie video games at ACMI
Some call it the ‘Sundance of the Game World’. We call it an great excuse for lunch break gaming. Show off your skills on Fed Square’s big screen between 3 and 4pm, Tuesday to Friday. Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne. (03 8663 2200). Mon-Sun 10am-6pm. FREE.
Settle back at Southgate Cinema
Rain is kryptonite to most outdoor cinemas, but this is safe and dry beneath Southgate’s atrium. It’s also a) silent and b) free. Put on the headphones and pull up a deckchair. Upper Lvl, Southgate, 3 Southgate Ave, Southbank. (03 9686 1000). Tue & Wed until Feb 29, 7.45pm. FREE.
Block out at the Lego Education Centre
Round up the kids – including adult-sized ones – and head to Lego Education Centre’s Sunday Funday. With three themed sessions each week, you’ll be in building-block bliss. 5/439 Docklands Drv, Waterfront City. (03 9602 1116). Sun 11am, 12 noon & 1pm. $5.
Claim the spotlight on a karaoke crawl
Hone your craft in a private room in an Abbotsford Vietnamese restaurant, feel the beat of Chinatown audiences, and belt out your finale at the most public venue of them all. Thanh Nga Nine, 160 Victoria St, Richmond. (03 9427 7068). Mains from $8–$17, min 20 for private room. Jankara Karaoke, 300 Russell St, Melbourne. (03 9639 9929). Set menus from $12.95pp. Charltons Entertainment Complex. Lvl 2, 2 Coverlid Pl, Melbourne. (03 9662 1433).
Iambic your pentameter at Fed Square Poetry
Curated for the past three years by the Fellowship of Australian Writers and World Poetry, this monthly showcase features two performance poets and ten open readings. Rhyming optional. The Grill at Beer DeLuxe, Cnr Swanston & Flinders St, Melbourne. (03 9655 1900). Third Saturday of the month, 2-4pm. FREE.
See some flesh at Boylesque
Revered rock/drag venue the Greyhound exhibits the greatest ‘boylesque’ show this side of San Fran. Our nefarious hostess, Paris, and her troupe are equal parts salacious and capricious. Greyhound Hotel, 1 Brighton Rd, St Kilda. (03 9534 4189). Fri 8pm. $15.
Take a ride on Puffing Billy
Retreat to the hills for a sentimental ride on Puffing Billy, Victoria’s favourite steam train. This locomotive chugs through the leafy Dandenong Ranges, showing you the city far below. 1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave. (03 9757 0700). Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. Adults from $19.50, children from $9.50.
Meditate for free the cheapest serenity in town!
The esoteric art of meditation can cost you thousands of bucks for just a two-day course, which makes us uptight just thinking about it. Here, in the heart of Fitzroy, you can duck into the Brahma Kumaris bookshop and be guided through 15 mins for free, or enroll on a longer course or workshop, also offered free “as a community service”. Serenity now! Brahma Kumaris Australia, 256 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. (03 9417 4883). FREE.
Do nothing at St Michael’s Mingary
An oasis in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD, tucked away behind St Michael’s Church, Mingary is named after the Gaelic word for ‘the quiet space’ and welcomes the tired and weary of all religious persuasions. Go there and breathe deeply. 120 Collins St, Melbourne. (03 9654 5120). Mon-Fri 8am-5pm; Sun 8am-1pm. FREE.
Be a deadly fan dancer
Burlesque newbs get to incorporate jazz and cabaret skills into Ruby DeVille’s sultry routines. Cups of tea provided! Rear, 397A Brunswick St, Fitzroy 3065. (03 9417 1192). $97 for four weeks.