A behind the scenes tour is a great way to learn more about an attraction or event. Fortunately, many such tours are
on offer in Melbourne. Here are some of our favourites:
Melbourne Cricket Ground
A tour around the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) reveals the tradition and heritage of this iconic sporting ground which has hosted numerous sporting and cultural events. Most importantly it offers the chance to walk on the hallowed arena on which great sports men and women, and entertainers have and continue to perform.
Other tour highlights include the famous Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) Long Room, the MCC library (which was founded in 1873), the players changing rooms, the cricketers viewing room and the Ron Casey Media Centre. The tour also takes in the Ponsford Stand while the City Terrace offers great views of Melbourne’s skyline. As the MCG hosts numerous functions and events tour routes and availability are subject to change.
SEA LIFE Melbourne
If you’ve ever wondered what happens behind the glass at SEA LIFE Melbourne’s 2.2 million litre Oceanarium then the Glass Bottom Boat and Behind the Scenes tour is for you. You will see the aquarium’s food preparation area, vet lab and dive zone. For many, the highlight of the tour is seeing the massive resident family of stingrays that call the Oceanarium home. As your guide hand feeds them you’ll find them popping up next to you. The tour also includes a glass bottom boat ride above the Oceanarium ensuring great views of its sharks and thousands of other aquatic animals.
The Australian Ballet
The Australian Ballet offer a number of tours including Production Centre Tours—which this year are operating on selected dates in April, May, June and July. Participants travel to the company’s state-of-the-art Production Centre in Melbourne’s west, home to over 50 years’ worth of carefully conserved costumes, sets and props.
Here you tour the 10,000 square-metre facility, hear the stories behind the most prized objects and learn what it takes to get a production out of storage and on the road. From the cygnet tutus used in Graeme Murphy’s “Swan Lake” to Cinderella’s coach, every artefact is meticulously recorded and preserved. The company also runs a number of tours to coincide with its performances at Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre.
State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria’s “Dome to catacomb” tour offers a peek behind the scenes at
this fascinating Melbourne institution. The tour, which runs every Monday from 1:30 pm to 3 pm, explores the library’s storage collection area. It also offers great views of the library’s stunning domed reading room and takes you deep into the catacombs.
The tour is free but bookings are essential.
Arts Centre Melbourne
Join Arts Centre Melbourne’s Backstage Tour and you’ll discover what lies beyond, behind and beneath the walls of its theatres. You’ll learn how the magic of performance is bought to life and you’ll hear behind the scene stories about some of the major productions that have graced its stages.
The 90 minute tour includes backstage rooms, hidden passageways and technical contraptions unknown to anyone but production crews and performers. The tour also traces the footsteps of famous performers, directors and choreographers. The tour operates every Sunday at 11 am.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Werribee Open Range Zoo offers a number of opportunities to go behind the scenes and get up close to its animals. These include the African Cat Encounter, which allows you to come face to face with the Zoo’s servals and find out more about them from their keepers. The Lion Encounter tour includes journeying behind the scenes to see members of the lion pride and hear from the keepers who care for them.
The Gorilla Encounter takes in the Zoo’s gorilla "bachelor boys." Guided by keepers, you head behind the scenes into the gorilla night dens where you get up close with the "bachelors" and learn about the dynamics of the group.
Melbourne Zoo offers several behind the scene tours including Tiger Behind the Scenes, which spotlights the Zoo’s Sumatran Tigers. The tour includes special access to areas usually reserved for keepers to learn about how the Zoo cares for these animals and the plight of their wild cousins. Participants help keepers set up enrichment activities then head to the VIP viewing area to see the tigers up close and engage with the scents and treats left for their entertainment.
Gorilla Behind the Scenes includes special access to the behind the scenes exhibit area to take a close look at where the Zoo’s gorillas live and how they interact with their exhibit. Melbourne Zoo also offers a number of close up encounters with lemurs, giraffes, kangaroos, meerkats, squirrel monkeys and seals. The 10-minute tours bring you face-to-face with some of the Zoo’s most popular personalities.
Healesville Sanctuary’s Wade with the Platypus tour offers a close-up experience with this very shy Australian mammal. The tour takes you into the working environment of the Sanctuary where you are briefed by keepers before entering the Platypus pool where you can touch, play and feed a platypus.
The Sanctuary also offers Close-up Encounters which offer a 10-minute encounter with the Sanctuary’s kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, echidnas and even a python. The experience includes entering the animal’s exhibits with a ranger. Other offerings include Wombat Pat and Play, a 15-minute tour which includes the chance to touch, pat and pose with a wombat.