Get Art & About in Victoria!

It’s not unusual to hear Melbourne called the cultural capital of Australia. But what does that really mean? Art? Music? Theatre? Food? Melbourne has all these things, and the rest of Victoria doesn’t disappoint either. But what does it mean for travellers to Australia’s southernmost mainland state? With just a few days in town, it can be hard to work out what’s on. What if you want your art crawl to be that special ‘only in Australia’ experience? Don’t worry! From Hosier Lane to the world’s most remarkable silo art, Victoria has your culture lust covered!

Take It to the Street in Melbourne

In the shadow of gorgeous Victorian architectural gems like the Hotel Winsor and cutting-edge modern creations like Federation Square, Melbourne’s creativity hits the streets in alleys like Hosier Lane and Presgrave Place. You could spend a whole day, coffee in hand, hopping between astonishing street art creations in the CBD alone. But the stories behind these creations, AC/DC Lane, for instance, are just as fascinating, so it’s worth taking a guided walking tour. Local tip? Don’t call it graffiti… ever.

Aussie Eye-Poppers at the Ian Potter Centre

Also called the NGV: Australia, this free outpost of Melbourne’s biggest art museum is conveniently located in Federation Square and is devoted solely to Australian art. As such, it holds one of the best showcases of First Nations art in the country. After a couple of hours here, continue your discovery of Melbourne’s indigenous history at Birrarung Marr. This gorgeous public park honours the traditional owners of the land, and treats visitors to thoughtful sculptures and fantastic city views. Enjoy a picnic lunch here before meeting your laneway and street art tour, or take your Aussie art exploration into the world of moving pictures at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. This top-notch showcase of Aussie film, television, gaming, and the technologies that shaped them is located in the centre of ‘Fed Square,’  

When Silo Art is Golden

Some of the breathtaking works you’ll see on the Silo Art Trail.

If you’re the kind of artistic soul who looks at the naked wall of a silo or shed and thinks “That’s a waste of a good canvas,” have we got a driving vacation for you! Spanning a good part of Northwest Victoria, the Silo Art Trail is a circuit from Horsham to nearby Rupanyup, taking you up to the edge of Lake Tyrrell on an adventure dotted with massive murals and (at last count) 41 colourful sheep. It’s a country Australia road trip like no other, so grab a meat pie and lamington from a small-town bakery and discover the Outback as only culture-loving Victoria can redefine it.

Culture Beyond the Big City

Don’t forget the rest of Victoria when you visit Melbourne! It’s a compact state (by Australian standards), and the day trips are worth it. Just out of town, you can explore some truly original art spaces built in the spectacular countryside. The Yarra Valley is famous for its wine, but stop by TarraWarra Museum of Art, housed in a building as impressive as its collection. If you’re heading down the Mornington Peninsula, or even to Phillip Island, stop in and explore the McClelland or the Pt. Leo Estate Sculpture Parks. The former Gold Rush towns of Bendigo and Ballarat are now cultural hot spots as well, each with a sizeable gallery space showcasing Australian art.

Whether you’re sipping Prosecco at a chic gallery opening In South Yarra, bargaining for fresh vintage finds in Fitzroy, or exploring the colours of country Victoria, Australia’s art hub offers new discoveries around every corner.

This article was originally published in Vol. 30 of Globetrotting Magazine.

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Christian Baines
Christian Baines

Globetrotting Contributing Editor -
Christian’s first globetrotting adventure saw him get lost exploring the streets of Saigon. Following his nose to Asia’s best coffee, two lifelong addictions were born. A freelance writer and novelist, Christian’s travels have since taken him around his native Australia, Asia, Europe, and much of North America. His favourite trips have been through Japan, Spain, and Brazil, though with a love of off-beat, artsy cities, he’ll seize any opportunity to return to Paris, New York, or Berlin.

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