Melbourne has retained a lot of its history, and no better way of seeing that is to stroll along the many arcades (almost all have now been restored) in the centre of the city and also take off down the small laneways and alleys branching off the main city streets and arcades.
The city's network of arcades is Australia's most extensive, with Block Arcade between Collins and Elizabeth streets, built in 1891, its crowning glory. Royal Arcade (between Bourke Street Mall and Little Collins Street), is Melbourne's oldest, built in 1869, and features Gaunt's clock and the two folklore giants of the ancient Britons, Gog and Magog, who strike the hour.
The various lanes and alleys in the city centre all hold their own interest and most have a specific history. The group of back alleys famous (or infamous) for having all Melbourne's brothels in the 1880s or the lanes either side of the Chinatown strip are a rich source of authentic Asian eateries. Hardware Lane, one of the first laneways to be restored in the 1980s, now has a fine collection of outdoor cafes and bars. The local interest in these lanes and alleys has recently seen one named in honour of one of our best known rock bands... AC/DC
Melbourne city centre
go to Flinders Street station and start from there or use the City Circle tram to get around
Named after a notorious Victorian brothel keeper, Madame Brussels has a deliciously kooky garden party theme, complete with grassed interior, trellising and parasols.
Bright young things in tennis whites will bring you iced Pimms and cucumber sandwiches. Scrumptious in every way.
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