Quirky Hot Spots
Places to check out in Melbourne
The Haunted Bookshop
15 McKillop Street
Home to Australia’s leading collection of occult literature, The Haunted Bookshop specialises in all things supernatural. Haunted Australia TV presenter Drew Sinton founded the store (eerily enough on Halloween in 1997) and in here you’ll find books on magic, witchcraft, Satanism, tarot, ghosts, vampires and aliens. If you dare, you can also join Drew on a historical haunted walking tour of the streets of Melbourne. Running every Saturday night (rain, hail or shine), the tour starts from 8.30pm, right out the front of The Haunted Bookshop, and ends (about 2 and half hours later) at the Queen Victoria Markets – known for being one of the most haunted places in the city (well, it is built on top of a burial ground so what can we expect!) If you’d rather skip the walk and just have a read, the shop is open Monday to Saturday from noon until 5pm.
Situated between Federation Square and Melbourne Park, Birrarung Marr is an 8.3 hectare park that links the CBD to Melbourne’s sporting precinct. Opening on Australia Day in 2002, it is named in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people who originally inhabited the area, Birrarung meaning “River of Mist” and Marr “Side of the River”. Take a summer stroll along the architecturally designed ramping footbridge within the park that links three large open terraces with views of various Melbourne landmarks such as the Victorian Arts Centre and St Paul’s Cathedral. Stop by to admire the iconic ‘Angel” statue – you’ll find it’s quite hard to miss! Created by artist Deborah Halpern in 1988, the 10-metre-high, 3-legged sculpture is made out of steel armature and ceramic tiles and consists of 16 images that represent different life forms including animals, plants and fantasy creatures. Easy walking distance from the Grand Chancellor.
522 Flinders Street
If you’re looking for entertainment that’s a little bit different, a little bit sexy and a whole lot of fun, head down to Australia’s one and only Vaudeville theatre – located on Flinders Street, just a 20-minute walk from your hotel. Vaudeville (the word derives from the French voix de ville meaning ‘voice of the city’) is a type of theatrical variety program that includes a wide cross-section of live performances. Melbourne’s Speakeasy HQ presents an exciting and eclectic line up of artists from circus performers to burlesque dancers, jugglers to comedians, knife throwers to tap dancers and more! The venue promises a night full of wonder, magical mystery, Shows are on Thursday to Sunday and tickets are limited so best to pre-book before you go. In January, beautiful siren Mel Djuric takes on a legendary diva performing an autobiographical cabaret that captures the songs, stories and life of Dusty Springfield. Check out the Speakeasy HQ website for more details www.speakeasy-hq.com.
Chloe (Young & Jackson)
1 Swanston Street
Young, innocent, beautiful and tragic, she has graced magazine covers and been the subject of many a love poem. She has kept company with artists, soldiers, prime ministers, celebrities and drunks. She has captured hearts and courted controversy for more than a century. Born in Paris, she has travelled near and far, but her home has been here in Melbourne since 1909 where she permanently hangs at the Young and Jackson Hotel. Chloe is a work of art - quite literally. During the two World Wars, many a soldier would frequent Y&J to admire the “Queen of the Bar Room” and some American soldiers during the Vietnam War even went as far as making a plan to abduct her! Painted in the early 1870s by acclaimed artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre, Chloe was inspired by a young French model named Marie. Little is known about the real Chloe/Marie (though rumour is her unrequited love for Lefebvre drove her to commit suicide at the age of 21) but her famous nude portrait has become a Melbourne icon. We won’t show you her picture here, all the better for you to head down to the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets and meet Chloe yourself.
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