Free Melbourne Street Art Culture

Travelled by Brucini on 13 October 2008 | 2 Comments

Travelled By

Brucini Brucini

Brucini started seriously travelling after attempting to move to Queenstown, New Zealand, in 1996.Inspired by drunkenly meeting a world of travelers on a Kiwi Experience bus, he changed his plans and roamed the world for a year. ...Find out more!

Free Melbourne Street Art Culture
Free Melbourne Street Art Culture
Melbourne Art - The bird

Melbourne Art - The bird

Street art has helped Melbourne, Australia, position itself as a leading cultural destination. Melbourne’s street art and laneways were recently voted the most popular cultural attraction in Australia in a Lonely Planet web poll.

Street art combined with an enviable cafe culture, innovative restaurants, live music, major events and liveable lifestyle have led to an increasing number of appreciative backpackers coming to Melbourne. The best part about street art for a backpacker is that it’s free. All you need to know is where to go in Melbourne. It’s worth taking the time to check it out because it leads you into a better understanding of what makes Melbourne tick.

A distinction could be made between graffiti (tags) and street art (stencils, pastes, tiles, designed pieces). Graffiti is seen as anti-social and destructive, street art has artistic merit. Street art makes you want to visit, graffiti makes you feel unwelcome. The Victorian State Govenment nevertheless continues to have a love/hate relationship with all forms of this public artistic expression and it remains an illegal contemporary commentary on life in the city.

Parts of the Melbourne central business district are akin to an open air gallery of edgy modern art. Artists put it there at their choosing for their/your appreciation and more than likely the walls will all look different next time you visit. The art will evolve like the city, it’s politics and clean street policy. Even the world’s most famous street artist Banksy has contributed to the millieu and left his stencilled mark on Melbourne. You know the art is an attraction when the Council starts protecting it with a perspex cover.

If you walk around Melbourne looking at street art you’ll start wandering down otherwise uninviting, narrow and dark laneways between the towering skyscrapers.  In places you wouldn’t go in other cities, you’ll find adorned walls of the most colourful, abstract and mind-opening designs, caricatures and wit drawn large. You’ll find otherwise unknown bars thronging with locals in the most unlikely places. The street art is an attraction in itself, but it looks all the better when you bar hop or have a coffee between laneways as well. The art will connect you with an adventure into the city’s living soul. If you care to take the time as a visitor, Melbourne will become your best friend rather than a cool but aloof host.

Where to start?

Check out this public Google Map created by Plasmo which notes where to go . Have a peek at what you’re likely to see here.

If you want to see a Banksy go to Cocker Alley (marked on the map). See below.

If you only have limited time go to Hosier Lane, which connects Flinders Street with Flinders Lane.

Time your visit to Melbourne with the annual stencil festival

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Banksy Map

Banksy Map


  • Bruce Thurlow says:

    If you wanted to see the Banksy girl with diving helmet mentioned in this post. Too late: Oh well, such is the life of street art.

    6 years ago

    • says:

      Is it free or, it costs money?

      3 years ago

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