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Context Private Tours: Inside Guides to Melbourne

LUXE has partnered with pride of guides Context Travel, who run private and small group tours led by an armed cotillion of art historians, PhDs, culture mavens + specialists. They’ll enlighten you via themed itins or bespoke jaunts, so you can spend time taking in the sights, not with your head buried in a book. What’s more, now you can book tours directly through our app. Glam gallivants ahead!

Welcome to Melbourne

Get the local lowdown on Melb with a personalised orientation experience.

In a city that secrets most of its best bits behind unmarked doors or down dead-end lanes, there’s no better way to find your bearings (or a bangin’ brewed cuppa) than with your own customised introduction to Oz’s culture capital.

At your leisure a Context Travel docent will drop into your humble hotel or abode and give the 411 on all things Melb, before taking you on a two-hour tour tailored to your specific interests, be they on point eats or cutting edge indie boutiques. Also guaranteed: some smidgens of good-sense, i.e. where to find a top brunch, or when the Queen Victoria Market is at its least hectic. Very practi-cool!

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Gold Rush and Laneways

Take in the best historical nuggets while treading through iconic alleys and grand Victorian architecture.

From sleepy cowtown to golden gal to hip happenin’ urbanista, Melbourne has come a long way from her humble beginnings when she was founded by Batman (the explorer, not the caped crusader) in the 1830s.

This info-packed 3-hour saunter, guided by a local historian, explores the city’s formation and development, from its early years as little more than a far-flung agricultural backwater, through to the discovering of gold in the Victorian hills, a turning point that made Melbourne a crowning jewel of the British Empire.

Learn about the economic boom that enabled the building of iconic sites such as Parliament House, Flinders Street Station and the ornately decorated Block and Royal Arcades – all of which you’ll see onroute. And discuss the immigration influx that drove political and social changes, culminating in the infamous White Australia Policy. A golden way to spend half a day!

Tip: Rather see the same sites but keep the focus on sups and shops? Download the LUXE Melbourne app and check out the Laneway Wander itinerary.

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Creative Melbourne

Throw on your best black smock dress and get ready for an arty amble around the CBD.

Oz’s creative capital is packed like a stylista’s closet with cutting edge art, architecture and fashion and this three-hour tour, led by a resident design docent, takes you right to the aesthetic and experimental epicentre though studios, stores and streetscapes.

Start on the oh-so fashionable Flinders Lane where you’ll visit some of the city’s best makers in their own ateliers, then explore tiny alleyways and arcades lined with speciality shops. Stop to nab some street art snaps in graffiti-covered Hosier Lane and finally take a break to discuss the impact of creative industries like the locals do: over a cup of small batch coffee, of course.

Tip: In need of a pre-stroll snack? Kick off your day like a true Melburnian with a smashing avo brekkie at all-dayer Cumulus Inc.

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Immigration in Australia

Leave no cobblestone unturned as you discover Melbourne’s immigration beginnings through little lanes and cultural enclaves.

Melbourne is a melting pot of multiculturalism and no visit is complete without exploring the town’s émigré origins. This 2-hour Context tour, led by a local academic, will literally walk you down the streets of Mellie’s past, taking you from the Mediterranean (via Little Lonsdale Street) to the Orient (along Little Bourke aka Chinatown). On route, expect details of social history, cultural discussions, drinks at one of the city’s oldest Synagogues (now the tipple-tastic Trunk Bar) and, of course, some delish dumplings.

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Hero image: Gordon Bell/

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