Melbourne’s laneways date back to the Victorian era, but their historical and cultural significance has only been celebrated in recent years. They take pedestrians off the well-worn roads and house a treasure trove of cool sights. Many travel companies run laneways tours, but if you’d prefer exploring them at your leisure consider this article your virtual guide.
Where to Stay?
There are plenty of hotels in Melbourne located close to Melbourne’s laneways. The Crossley Hotel Melbourne is on Little Collins Street, but just metres from the wine bars and theatres of Punch Lane. If you’d prefer to a laneways stay, book a room at Causeway Inn on the Mall or Ibis Styles Melbourne, The Victoria Hotel. While it’s got a Little Collins Street address, the Victoria’s actually on the corner of this street and Athenaeum Place.
Once you’ve got your accommodation sorted, it’s time to start exploring!
AC/DC Lane deserves to feature on any music lover’s Melbourne itinerary. Once called Corporation Lane, it was rechristened in October 2004 in tribute to the classic Aussie rock act. The trademark lightning bolt was left off as it contravened the Office of the Registrar of Geographic Names’ policy, but 10 years after the lane got its name this decision was reversed.
While its name is a big drawcard, AC/DC Lane also attracts music lovers keen to check out shows at Cherry Bar. It claims it’s “pretty much the best rock n’ roll bar in the world,” although its soul nights also cater for people who prefer their music a little smoother.
It’s worth wading through the alfresco cafes on Block Place to stop by Basement Discs. This store celebrates music of all types, with an extensive catalogue of new and classic rock, pop, jazz, blues, country, folk, and world music CDs and records. It’s also a great place to pick up a lovingly refurbished vintage stereo or catch a free old-school in-store appearance. Leading acts like Stephen Cummings, Jimmy Webb, Andy White, Mick Thomas, and John Scofield have all played here over the years.
With news of the imminent closure of the iconic Bennett Lane Jazz Club, jazz lovers will be looking for another place to get their fix. The Paris Cat Jazz Club on Goldie Place might just fit the bill. This intimate club’s nurtured the careers of many up-and-coming Aussie jazz artists and hosted big name international acts like Robbie Williams.
Coming Soon … Amphlett Lane
While it doesn’t have its sign yet, the City of Melbourne gave approval last year for Laneway CL1639 to be renamed Amphlett Lane. The stretch between Harwood Place and Spring Street will pay tribute to the late Divinyls frontwoman, Chrissy Amphlett.
It’s a fitting spot as it’s just behind the Princess Theatre, where Chrissy played many times with the Divinyls and also appeared in The Boy from Oz. Chrissy and her husband Charlie Drayton also signed their marriage licence in the theatre.
Expect plenty of fans to take happy snaps posing with the street sign when Amphlett Lane is officially unveiled.
This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. Which Melbourne laneway do you love?
Photo by Jerrah Biggerstaff via Trover.com