The Original Walking Tours of Melbourne
est. 2004
03 9663 3358 (A/H +61447868788)
Sharing Melbourne - Tours restart OCT 2020
 
As you know we are proud of our city, and proud of the small part we play in it.

We also know that our industry’s joy is not available to everyone. That’s more apparent in these current days.

These days are difficult for many. Some have been struggling for some time, and others who have been shocked at the sudden change of their situations.

This week we made our EOFY donation to Street Smart Australia – as we wont be taking any tours to make a difference to the total.

This donation makes over $5,000 from Hidden Secrets as part of our commitment to donate $2 for every direct booking made with us since 2016. Thanks to you our clients for choosing us!

Hidden Secrets Tours was born of a want to share stories and help our community, back in 2004 it was purely to share more of Melbourne and support its amazing small businesses to those who may have forgotten to look, or did not know how to. This moment now we seem to be looking at our direct tourism community, and things are tough out there!   Its true, Fiona was momentarily unemployed when she began in the business, and house sat to make ends meet during the GFC. Over the years our passionate team has been made up of artists and actors between jobs, country school leavers in the city trying to make ends meet, single mothers with creative flair, stand up comediennes, part time journalists, studying health care professionals, script writers, photographers, retired history teachers and more, all making strategic choices to make their lives work. Choices for some parts of our community are not always available.

We are a team of curious and compassionate guides yet in 2011, as Occupy Melbourne took over the City Square for many weeks, the changing (and growing) face of homelessness was brought out from behind the shadows and into to share our spaces. Then in 2014 when a mentally ill man killed a rough sleeper/homeless man named Mouse in the “out of sight” park area under the railway by the Yarra, it seemed more common to see people sleeping on the streets where we walked as well, perhaps thinking it was safer than in the dark corners. In a city such as ours with over 30 years of positive growth it was devastating to see this, we could not help but be impacted by this relatively sudden change.

Fiona remembers it being quite overwhelming for the team and the guests too. We share our city, and ignoring this was not possible. We sponsored annually a womens Big Issue subscription, and had chats with  our regular Big Issue sellers such as Marcus, Paul, Donna, Sharon, Tony and more.  It – assisting people out of homelessness -  seemed a charitable focus that our team and company could add value in our little patch. Fiona joined the CEO Sleep Out in 2015 and 2016 and raised some moneys, but it seemed one night was not enough to her.

Investigating how we could consciously support this part of our community we finally ended up on the phone to Adam at Street Smart Australia. As a result our main charity has been StreetSmart Australia for many years now, helping their efforts in Action Against Homelessness.  Originally $1 per direct booking, and then $2 per direct booking we send through

Why Street Smart Australia? They are Melbourne based :)    They began a year prior to us. Fiona learned of their work through Simon Denton, Adam Cash, and Luke Stringer for an event called “AllStars”  (Front of House All Stars Dinner and Auction)  A simple idea of  dining with purpose. These dinners have happened for 15 years, we think Fiona may have been to the first or second one,and a couple since. StreetSmartAustralia use an innovative micro grants process with groups all over the country and we chose this as we are able to ask that our funds stay for Melbourne based initiatives. We can see how our money is used in different areas of our local community, we also can nominate the percentage that goes to their own survival, as running a charity takes skill and hard work, all of which deserves funding.  StreetSmartAustralia work with many of the businesses that we cross paths in Melbourne too with via events like Cafe Smart, Dine Smart, and more recently Smart Meals.

Most recently in 2020 our funds helped programs with Whitelion - Chatterbox, YouthProjects and Justice Connect - Homeless Law 

Why are we sharing now?

Winter is coming, and homelessness is never more difficult in the cold. There has been amazing efforts to assist people with some shelter due to Covid19, but we are concerned this has uncertain time frames. All Australians should be able to have access to housing, and the economic impacts of this pandemic are likely to put many more on a perilous path. We want to be proud of all elements of our City including assisting the average 300 a night in Melbourne out of homelessness.

Next month our own city’s Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood will be on the TV show the Filthy Rich and Homeless on SBS

If you know anyone struggling at this time, reach out to places like the Salvation Army, Life Line, and the City of Melbourne.

We are bummed we were not able to make our target of $1500 for this year to donate to Street Smart, but know that each booking you make with us directly here, we will donate $2 to StreetSmartAustralia. We know their micro grants give a hand up, not a hand out, a valuable difference. So we will pay it forward where we can, add funds to Smart Meals or the SoupProject. We love our city, and cant wait to see you, and our community out in the streets soon.

Thanks!  Team HST

 

Tour options to book.

Testimonials

We love it when guests send us notes of what they enjoyed on tour.

These are just a few!

What others say about our Tours of Melbourne

  • I am so thrilled I did. Wow, it was so interesting. I am seriously born and bred Melbourne, lived here for 50 years (in inner 'burbs) and worked and walked these city streets probably thousands of times and thought I knew my patch pretty well. This tour was the next level. My Melbourne will never be the same to me again, for which I am truly grateful. I liked it so much we're booked on the Degustation Tour. If you are not a local and you are interested in the quirky side of history and how this staid, yet beautiful city evolved, you will enjoy it. If you are a local, you will marvel at Marvelous Melbourne.
    “I loved it, and I’m a local.” – Jen, Melbourne
  • The tour is really worth every cent. We got two coffees, three sweets, a takeaway coffee mug and even a list + booklets with all the information of the tour. After this experience I wished I will stay longer in Melbourne so I can go explore every venue we passed again. Thums up for this tours! Thanks a lot 'Hidden secrets Melbourne'!
    Cafe Culture tour – Annelies from Netherlands
  • I had enjoyed Lanes and Arcades and Cafe Culture Tours in April 2015 with my family and it was so good that I returned with my friend in August Sept 2015. It really is the best way to make the most of your time in Melbourne to spend time with a guide from Hidden Secrets Tours. They are a wonderful example of Melbourne hospitality and the guests on the tour from all over the world make the experience one not to be missed. Next time I visit Melbourne their progressive High Tea Tour is definitely on my to do list.
    “Hidden Secrets Tours are becoming a must do for our trips to Melbourne.”
  • As Friday night was our last night in Melbourne we had a debriefing about what they had enjoyed the most...and guess what??.. Your tour was the most mentioned activity. One girl said it was the best $12 she had spent. Haha. So once again, a huge thank you for fitting us in and helping broaden our girls view of the food industry. They are so much wiser for the experience. Year 12 - Newcastle High School
    Newcastle High School – March 2014
  • This excellent informative and entertaining tour focused on the inner delights of Melbourne CBD lanes and arcades. Sarah is a wealth of information and is a natural entertainer. Even if like me you have been to Melbourne many times, Sarah still delivered the 'Well I never!" factor. Go on these attractions, they are truly worth every cent. - Trip Advisor - Jan 2014
    Shirley – Lanes & Arcades walk
  • This is honestly the best tour I have ever done anywhere in the world. If you ever visit Melbourne, I strongly recommend that you take this tour.
    Visited January 2014 - tripadvisor
    Via TripAdviser WynonaLavota
  • “Fantastic, Friendly, Interesting”

    The guide was amazing. She had such a wealth of background knowledge about the area that she answered every question as well as expanding on it. I could see she really enjoyed her what she did with enthusiasm and eagerness. It was a truly amazing experience. I would gladly recommend this tour for all those who love history and interesting coffee and eats Reviewed 2 January 2014 on TripAdvisor - Cafe Culture Walk

    Cafe Culture Walk – Sth Africa
  • I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for your great hospitality. Thank you for making my Ultimate Australian Adventure with Oprah such and amazing time... 2010 Mary re the specially arranged Lanes and Arcades Walk 
    Mary T of Nova Scotia
  • Last week Jo and I went on your Lanes & Arcades tour and the Sommelier's Tour. They both offered completely different experiences. We had a great time discovering the many wonderful shops and cafes hidden away in the lanes and arcades of Melbourne...
    Robyn of Newcastle NSW
  • Both my friend Glenda & I have been going to Melbourne for years and we would have never known that these “Hidden Treasures” existed. It was fascinating to walk up & down the lanes & arcades and to see a completely different side of Melbourne...
    Kathryn & Glenda – NSW
 
If you joined a tour with us and enjoyed it, we would love to hear! - you can email us at feedback@hiddensecretstours.com Also a fabulous post on Google here,    Facebook or    is always a joy for us and our potential clients We as a team go through them, and love getting your personalised messages!   We're proud to say we have received Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and know 2020 will be a year of new adventures, your support is greatly appreciated.

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