Under the Radar
Play Melbourne iPhone app
As part of its new Melbourne campaign, Tourism Victoria has released the Play Melbourne iPhone app designed to act as a trusted local guide for visitors whilst in the city. The app allows visitors to navigate their way to some of Melbourne’s coolest local haunts, be it a restaurant, bar, café or boutique. With the flick of a wrist, users can establish where they are, where they want to be and exactly how to get there, a very handy tool in a city renowned for tucking some of its best gems in laneways or unexpected locations. With advanced capabilities including augmented reality, interactive maps and grids, pictures and reviews and almost 500 listings of places of interest, users will never be short of a place to discover. The Play Melbourne app is available for download through iTunes.
Tourism Victoria has also relaunched its consumer website. The new site provides a wealth of destination information across the entire state, presented in an easy to navigate format. The website provides visitors with information on Melbourne and Victoria, including events, accommodation, eating and drinking spots, tours and transport companies and travel deals.
New ghost tours springing up at asylums, towns, cemeteries, convents, wineries and even on steam trains suggest that regional Victoria is a hotbed of supernatural activity but Melbourne visitors can now get their share of scare with the launch of new night tours in two of Melbourne’s most haunted locations - the Old Melbourne Gaol and the historic port of Williamstown.
Ghosts what Ghost?, the new night tour from Victorian Tourism Award’s ‘Hall of Fame’ winner, The Old Melbourne Gaol, offers an insight into the building’s dark history. Running weekly on Tuesday nights, the 90 minute guided walk is packed with stories of ghostly encounters as relayed by staff and visitors ranging from the unbelievable to the truly terrifying, including those surrounding their most infamous prisoner, bushranger turned Australian icon Ned Kelly.
Another tour not for the faint hearted is the new Williamstown's Lantern Tour. Guided by lamp light, visitors are taken on a two hour journey through the history of the ‘King Williams Town’ (as Williamstown was originally called) - once a notorious place full of nefarious sailors, colourful ‘ladies of the night’ and drunken convicts - to discover its sometimes grim history.
The Artist’s Muse
Many a muse has inspired an artist to greatness but it is not often art enthusiasts are given as direct an insight into this delicate interplay as that provided in new Trentham gallery, The Artist’s Muse. In this elegant new space, artist and founder, Mark Payne, showcases his own romantic works alongside a range of carefully selected antique artworks and pieces, spanning vintage European to Americana decorative arts. The bountiful works skilfully bridge the gap between the old and new to create an unparalleled artistic experience. Visitors can check it out for themselves every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am – 5pm.
Tractor tours at Rayner’s Stonefruit Orchard
Rayner’s Stone fruit Orchard, in Yarra Valley is enhancing its ‘DIY’ fruit picking experience by offering guided tours for visitors on the back of a tractor.
The tour offers an insight into the inner workings of a commercial fruit farm. Visitors view the many varieties of fruit trees on site and in the process learn more about the characteristics of each tree. They also see the sorting and packing sheds and have the opportunity to sample at least ten fruit varieties. In addition, the farm offers free self-guided orchard walks for those who want to take a leisurely stroll around the property. Both tours have been running for two summers to date. Tractor Tours are $22 per person and run between 9am to 4pm seven days a week from December to March, bookings are essential.
SB Libris book binding workshop
Bendigo is the unlikely location for those looking to create their own literary work of art. SB Libris, a specialist book maker in Bendigo, is offering the chance to learn the ancient craft of bookbinding in a one day, hands-on workshop. Under the guidance of an experienced binder, visitors learn the skills required to create a traditional hand sewn, hard cover binding. All materials and tools are provided and participants will finish the day with their own hand-bound journal to take home. Workshops run monthly and cost $250 per person including morning tea, lunch and all materials.
The SB Libris book binding workshop brings the popular Melbourne independent book publishing and zine experience to regional Victoria. Some of the more notable CBD-focused initiatives include: the recently opened retailer and studio Parts and Crafts, specialising in hard-to-get zines, indie publications and the home of a local micro-publisher; specialist zine shop and workshop The Sticky Institute; and Inherent Vice, a NGV Studio exhibition where local artists, illustrators and zine-makers will create comic art live in a 24 hour ‘drawing marathon’.