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Exploring Melbourne’s Laneways: 13 of the best laneways in Melbourne Australia

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Exploring Melbourne’s laneways

Melbourne’s Laneways are a must do on any visit to Melbourne.  In Melbourne’s grid-like inner city streetscape, these little laneways bring colour, hustle and bustle to the city.  Whether they be full of great cafes and restaurants, uber-cool bars, luxury shopping or edgy street art, they are all worth a visit.

Here’s a list of where you can find some of them.  But, be warned, this is only a snapshot of all the Melbourne laneways that exist.

I’ve also provided their locations and a Melbourne laneways map showing where they can be found.  One of the comments I hear the most when people are talking about the Melbourne laneways is that they either couldn’t find them (some aren’t actually available on mapping tools), or they didn’t know any of them actually existed.  Hopefully, these details will make them a little easier for you to find.

Once you have finished exploring Melbourne’s laneways, there is plenty more to do.  Here’s a 48-hour itinerary of things to do in Melbourne.

Amphlett Lane Melbourne

Following a passionate two year fight by family and fans, this laneway was finally renamed to Amphlett Lane in 2015.  It is a perpetual dedication to one of Australia’s finest rock chicks, Chrissie Amphlett, lead singer of The Divinyls.  The iconic wall paintings here are instantly recognisable to those who grew up listening to her music.

Location:  Amphlett Lane is not currently recognised by Google Maps.  It is tucked just behind the corner of Little Bourke and Spring St.

Union Lane Melbourne

This bright, bold laneway is right in the centre of the city, jutting off the Bourke St Mall. It was one of the first laneways used as part of the Street Art Project that has now wound its way across much of the city.  It’s one of my favourites!

Location:  Runs between Bourke Street and Little Collins St in the block bordered by Elizabeth and Swanston St.

Hosier Lane Melbourne

Another awesome lane and easily Melbourne’s best known.  It’s rare to come here and find it completely empty, whatever the time of day or night.  There’s always a photographer somewhere, taking different angles, looking for what’s new.  The foodies also come here for another well known Melbourne institution.  Movida and Movida Next Door are two spanish tapas restaurants.  The queues are normally long, so the street art keeps everyone entertained.

There’s the Good2Go Cafe, providing coffee and profits to a local charity assisting with homelessness.  And, there’s Misty, a bar which draws the late night crowds.

There’s street art of all kinds here and I won’t even try to give you an accurate name of it all.  I just loved looking at the different murals, logos, political messages, even painted shows stuck on the outside of a building.

Location:  Off Flinders Street, in the block bordered by Russell and Swanston St.

lane in melbourne

Rutledge Lane Melbourne

If you’ve found Hosier Lane, then you’ve also found Rutledge Lane.   Rutledge Lane amps up the grunge by painting the bins, the stairwells and the side of an old above ground parking garage.

rutledge lane melbourne

Degraves St Melbourne

As a regular visitor to Melbourne, this lane has long been on my list of favourite phang outo hangout.  This is one of the foodie havens in this great city.  Here you will find wall to wall cafes and outdoor seating.  It gets really busy during lunch and at night.  Unfortunately, there’s also quite a bit of touting going on, but as long as you take it in good fun, it shouldn’t bother you too much.  Italian fare is quite popular along this strip.

Location: Runs between Flinders Lane and Flinders St in the block bordered by Elizabeth and Swanston St.

degraves st melbourne

AC/DC Lane Melbourne

AC/DC is a large part of Australian rock culture, and they are celebrated here in AC/DC Lane.  It’s wall murals are a fitting tribute to these rock legends.

Location:  Located off Flinders St in the block bordered by Russell and Exhibition St.

Dame Edna Place Melbourne

This small, dead-end alley honours one of Melbourne’s most loved comedy characters, Dame Edna Everage.  There’s not too much to look at here, save for a few “Hollywood” stars on the ground.

Location: Off Block Place, in between Collins and Little Collins St, in the block bordered by Elizabeth and Swanston St.

dame edna place melbourne

Meyers Place Melbourne

Small bars and great restaurants are the go-to places in this daggy laneway.  My favourite is the Argentinian restaurant, San Telmo.

Location: Located off Bourke St, in the block bordered by Exhibition and Spring St.

Royal Arcade Melbourne

The Royal Arcade is as far away from the street art scene as you can possibly imagine.  Still set in yesteryear, people come here to shop at some luxurious establishments and to admire the beautiful interior.

With its glass ceiling and tunnel-like arcade, it has striking similarities to the passages in Paris.  Mythical creatures Gog and Magog guard the clock that still chimes every hour.

Location:  Connects the Bourke St Mall to Little Collins St, in the block bordered by Swanston and Elizabeth St.

Block Place and Arcade Melbourne

The Block Arcade is simply stunning and built in the same vintage as the Royal Arcade.  There’s plenty of casual eating spots here, all offering excellent lunchtime deals.

In the glass-domed arcade, you’ll find Haigh’s, one of the best chocolate shops in Melbourne, and a must-visit for anyone new to the city.

Location:  A dead-end lane off Little Collins St, in the block bordered by Swanston and Elizabeth St.

laneways in melbourne

Hardware Lane Melbourne

Once upon a time, Hardware Lane was a rough part of town.  Today, it is similar to Degraves St. It’s full of great places to eat that won’t break the bank.  There’s also a number of groovy bars here as well and there’s always plenty of music at night.

Location:  This is a long lane and runs all the way from Little Lonsdale to Bourke St, in the block bordered by Queen and Elizabeth St.

Manchester Lane Melbourne

I like this lane because it’s not on the usual lists for people to visit.  I also like it because it’s the home of cafe Shebeen, who gives 100% of their profits to charities that support the developing world.

Location: A dead-end lane off Collins St, in the block bordered by Elizabeth and Swanston St.

coffee shop in melbourne laneway

Equitable Place Melbourne

Another of the lesser known laneways, here you’ll find some healthy and vegetarian eats, usually away from the mad Melbourne lunchtime crowd.

equitable place melbourne

Location: Off Little Collins, in the block bordered by Queen and Elizabeth St.

You’re ready to explore Melbourne’s laneways

So there you have it, my list of some of the best Melbourne laneways.  If I could give you one tip it would be to map out your planned trail first.  Many of these laneways are close by, whereas others are further out.  to save you doubling up, it’s easier to have a clear idea first of where they all are.

Coming to Melbourne and want to explore the city more?  Check out these great resources.

96 thoughts on “Exploring Melbourne’s Laneways: 13 of the best laneways in Melbourne Australia”

  1. These laneways are SO colorful, vibrant and cool. I can see photo opportunities everywhere. So very ummm as they say “Instagrammable” lol. You can totally do a photo shoot here!

  2. Absolutely love Melbourne, I had a great 5 months living there in 2013! Don’t think I saw as much of the laneways as I should have done though, which is a shame!

  3. Michele Peterson

    I’d definitely want to see these laneways if I ever get to Melbourne! Pinning so I can save this for future travels

  4. I love that some of the areas like AC/DC have a theme. AC/DC really stood out to me especially the cello. This is something I wouldn’t want to miss in Melbourne.

  5. In the US, these would probably be considered alleys and are usually something to avoid. What a great way to make the best use of the space and add a LOT of color. Like the others, love love love the photos in this post.

  6. I would love to roam these Melbourne laneways, the street art is so funky and colourful and the cafes and other eateries, make them so vibrant. I am sure there never would be a dull moment .

  7. You just tapped into one of my favourite parts of Melbourne! I’ve actually been to Union Lane but those other lanes look so cool! This is such a unique part of the city, how they really build within their lanes so they aren’t left abandoned for the most part. Love it!

  8. Nancy, that is my fave shop for great lollies (as we call them). So many different types. I always stock up here. Agree with you re the art too. this stuff actually makes sense to me a little.

  9. I love street art — all of these areas look awesome. I also love how some are in spots with small coffee shops and eateries. Too cool! I need to book my flight to Melbourne soon :D

  10. You got me on several counts here. First of all the candy… Oh Yummmm! Now I know where I’m going if we get to Melbourne, shopping, and see that beautiful mosaic floor. (one of my fave’s to do in Italy, love the amazing art of the past). But a lot the street art is really good. I’m not into the gang style but the paintings were great. Especially the last one made me smile!

  11. WOWEEE thats some cool street art! I had no idea Melbourne had such an artistic community! I wonder if they paint over the murals often/change them up or if they stay for a while? I kinda hope they stay cause some of those are incredible! Thanks for sharing

  12. These are all so cool! Your pictures really bring them to life. Melbourne is definitely the place we most look forward to visiting in Aus!

  13. I had no idea there was so much street art in Melbourne! I’m guessing it’s legal there? I think here in Michigan, USA you have to have a permit or else it’s considered vandalism.

  14. Laura @ Grassroots Nomad

    Love this! Even though I’ve explored the laneways a few times, there are still things on this list that I’ve missed! One of the little soup restaurants there has started letting customers pre-pay for a meal for a homeless person. So a person in need can come to the shop anytime during the day when they are hungry for a free hot and delicious meal. I love Melbourne!!

  15. Curious Claire

    I love places with character and this place is full of character. Love it!

  16. I haven’t heard of these laneways before! The street art looks absolutely incredible. Great post! Your photo’s make me want to go to Melbourne haha.

  17. Such a cool guide! I’ve been through these laneways before (lived in Australia for a few years and my cousin lived in Melbourne) but I wish I’d had a guide like this before I went! I’ll bookmark it for my next trip back. :-)

  18. We have met so many great people from Melbourne on our travels and can’t wait to travel there! The laneways look so fun to explore. I love street art and had no idea there was such a big scene there! Love your photos!

  19. I live in Melbourne and I love this post! I’m very proud of our laneway culture and you’ve highlighted the best! Great range of shopping, cafes and street art! Awesome!

  20. Thanks Lauren, yeah Melbourne is easy to walk all over but it’s tricky sometimes knowing where they all are. And as I mentioned, some of them aren’t even on the mapping apps.

  21. Thanks Michelle. It’s definitely considered vandalism anywhere else in the city that’s for sure. I think what’s great in Melbourne is that because it is supported in the city, there is no “errant” street art anywhere else. It’s kept to the dedicated lanes.

  22. You are spot on Sarah, was one of their biggest songs in the early 90’s! Your assessment of Melbourne is also correct. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and there’s so much there for all types of people.

  23. The divynals eh? They had a big hit with a song called I touch myself, unless I’m confused. I’m sure there were others but I can’t remember now.
    Melbourne is so trendy and European now. When I went to Australia nobody was going to Melbourne and it wasn’t thought of as very interesting. Things change and now I would love to go.
    I love the photos. :)

  24. I’m going to be living in Melbourne for a little bit come next December and this post has just reminded me why I chose it :) It reminds me a little of Brighton in the UK! Saving this for future reference, thanks for sharing!

  25. I’m so excited! My daughter will be moving to Melbourne in February 2017. And I get to babysit my grandson for a few months. I will have lots of time to explore all of these fabulous laneways. Thanks!

  26. Great photos! :) Coming from a country where street art is considered vandalism (a criminal offence with severe penalties), and having seen my fair share of bad-to-average street art in other countries, I like to think that I can appreciate fine street art when I see it. And this is definitely some of the finest street art I’ve ever seen! Wowww.

  27. Hi Kerri…loved this post! Your pictures are fab too! This is something I would seek out on a travel for sure to do. Hidden treasures!

  28. Very cool, I had no idea that these lane-ways existed. I love the artwork and the quirky little places to eat and drink. Makes me want to visit Melbourne.

  29. I really enjoyed my visit to Melboune a few years ago. I totally fell in love with the city… As an artist myself, I found that exploring Melbourne Laneways which are very rich in street art – is a must.

  30. Wow, Melbourne is so colorful! I love how they made a tribute to AC/DC in a lane. This is true street culture

  31. I love street art like this and apparently they have a lot of alleys worth strolling in Melbourne. I’ve never been in Australia before, but I’d surely love to see Melbourne someday.

  32. I am ready to explore. Judging from the map, it is possible to walk from one laneway to another. I am sure it is tons of food. You have to tell us what are the must eats in the area!

  33. This is such a wonderful list. I am amazed by the quality of street art. The ones that really stood out for me are the AC/DC Lane, Hosier Lane and Union Lane. The Royal Arcade is really beautiful. I love the interior, especially that area with Gog, Magog and the clock.

  34. This is super cool. I had no idea about laneways in Melbourne. I’m a huge fan of street art, so I would love to tour this area. Are there organized street art tours of the laneways? Love the AC/DC murals on AC/DC lane. Super cool.

  35. Brenda Tolentino

    I’m a traveler but I get lost easily, haha so this detailed post on Melbourne’s laneways would be perfect when I visit. I would definitely start with Hosier Lane so I can eat at Movida.

  36. I had no idea there was so much street art in Melbourne. It looks like a fantastic place to explore. And thanks for the handy map!

  37. This is fantastic! I love street art, but Melbourne takes it to another level. It feels as though there is art and culture popping up around every corner! Thanks for sharing these visual feasts for the eyes.

  38. What amazing art! I’ve never heard of a laneway before, but looks like something not to be missed in Melbourne!

  39. Great post, love all the picks. I fell in love with the street art when I moved to Melbourne but Degraves is also a favorite.

  40. YES! I am obsessed with the photography in this post. All the colorful art lit me up like a child at Christmas! I could definitely see myself living on AC/DC Lane.

  41. I have never been to Australia before and I didn’t know that Melbourne has such a nice street art culture. I would like to explore the lanes and enjoy a coffee and a cake at one of the cafes nearby. I like how each lane has a different theme. Definitely a photographer’s paradise. The map is very useful for to plan the best router, thanks for it.

  42. Lauren of Postgrad & Postcards

    WOW! I had no idea Melbourne has these. They look like a fest for the eyes and stomach! Thanks for the map too!

  43. Leanne Capuano

    I love how vibrant your photography is, it really brings the place alive. I love it!

  44. Really great blog! Glad I stopped in to check it out. The pictures are phenomenal.

  45. Chantell Collins

    Wow what a great and detailed list. I have been to Melbourne a few times and had no idea there were so many laneways with fun street art. I love getting lost in them and finding little cafes for a latte and a pastry or maybe a wine and some pizza. Think I will need to plan a trip back soon!

  46. Lauren Somewhere

    Fabulous photos, and so unexpected! I am sooo in love with street art and murals. Great post and thanks for sharing! xx

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