The Original Walking Tours of Melbourne
est. 2004
03 9663 3358 (A/H +61447868788)
Sharing Melbourne Evolutions

Did you know that Melbourne is an official UNESCO City of Literature?

In 2008, Melbourne joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network when it was designated the first and only City of Literature in Australia, and the second in the world. There are currently thirty-nine Cities of Literature in total, spanning twenty-eight countries and six continents; from Reykjavík in Iceland, to Manchester in the UK, and Iowa City and Seattle in the US.

You don’t need to tell us twice that Melbourne deserves it’s place in the Creative Cities Network, and you can read a little more about what the designation means from Melbourne City of Literature here.


Bookstores in Melbourne

At Hidden Secrets we believe in supporting and shining a light on small and independent small businesses, and we acknowledge that independent bookstores and booksellers contribute to Melbourne’s rich literary community through the hosting of events and launches and the championing of local authors.

Independent bookstores have been quick to adapt to the changing landscape, so while some may have closed their doors or reduced browsing hours during COVID-19 they have extended their services to include pick-up, free or discounted local delivery, as well as postal options to booklovers who may find themselves with a tad more time on their hands.

In the spirit of Back Your Bookshop, the movement to support local Australian bookshops doing, we’d like to highlight some of our Melbourne City favourites.

In between tours the Hidden Secrets team regularly love to browse the bookshelves of Readings in the State Library of Victoria, along with it’s flagship store in Carlton.

We adore both the beauties at the top end of Bourke Street -  Hill of Content (the meeting point of our Cafe & Coffee Culture Walk) and Paperback Books.

Then there is the delightful Metropolis hidden inside Curtin House, with it’s focus on  graphic design, architecture, photography, popular culture, fashion, film, music and art books .

For rare and secondhand wonders it’s hard to go beyond Kay Craddock – Antiquarian Bookseller.

Outside of the city and want to support your local?

You can find a map of Melbourne & Victorian booksellers offering delivery and postage services here, and there’s a huge roundup of bookstores here.


Writers Festivals

While some Victorian writers festivals have postponed their events until 2021, like Bendigo Writers Festival and Clunes Booktown Festival, others are taking thier festivals online.

The Yarra Valley Writers Festival has taken their program online, with a full day of streaming with authors on May 9 2020 such as Tony Birch, Alice Pung, Rick Morton, Christos Tsiolkas and Claire Bowdich. Tickets available here.

The Emerging Writers Festival is taking their entire festival online 16-23 June. This festival allows for opportunities for emerging writers, and supports them to engage with new and larger audiences.

And while the Melbourne Writer’s Festival has announced an online program for its upcoming festival across 7–16 August 2020, you can catch up with some of last year’s best events here, from Ben Folds to Ben Quilty.


Some other suggestions via our libraries and bookish institutions

You can check out a podcast or two or three -

We suggest Desert Island Books from City of Melbourne Libraries – Catch up with Melbourne identities as they share what they would read on their desert island, hosted by librarian Natalie Mason.

If you’re more into the writing side of things then there’s The Garret: Writers on Writing with Astrid Edwards, in partnership with  State Library of Victoria, Writers Victoria and RMIT University.

The Wheeler Centre of Books, Writing and Ideas has a whole slew of past events recorded and available to watch or listen to here, along with upcoming online live-stream events here.

You can also explore the State Library of Victoria from the comfort of your own home with their online galleries including past and present exhibitions here.


Finally, if you’d be interested in Melbourne tours with a literary focus in the future, please sign up to our newsletter here , as we’re always looking to develop our tours and special event tours to cover what interests you.


Tour options to book.


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

  • What a fabulous way to experience a new city. We learned a lot while being shown some amazing places to stop in and have a bite. This was absolutely one of the highlights from being in Melbourne.
    An outstanding way to spend an evening – Laura Jan 2023
  • A very informative, comprehensive and interesting walking tour that I thoroughly recommend. I’ve been to Melbourne a few times and future trips will be so much better for the knowledge gained. Melinda is an excellent guide and I’m so glad I signed up for this.
    Best for history food shopping and outdoor art – Solo Traveller April 23
  • Fantastic evening with great food and wine. Fiona was a wonderful and knowledgeable guide. She shared great facts about the beautiful city of Melbourne and took us to wonderful restaurants. A must do!
    Great Evening in Melbourne – Jan 2023
  • 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 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 now 2020. We know 2020 and 2021 will be a year of new adventures. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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