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All reviews cafe culture walking tour small group coffee culture koko black great tour street art laneway tour hidden laneways three hours chocolate shop lane ways included lunch highly recommend this tour an excellent guide chocolate tasting interesting facts
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Reviewed 24 January 2014

Our travel agent booked this. You may think you can wander the well known lanes in Melbourne and get the atmosphere but with a guide from Hidden Secrets you get so much more. You go into some of the buildings which have been converted into small enterprising businesses, you hear about the licence a graffiti artists needs to operate in this city, you are taken for a wonderful chocolate experience, see the smallest bar which takes only 11 people and the smallest coffee bar in a telephone switchboard. Our guide was young and funky. There is a lunch option but we ended up with just one other person on the tour for the lunch so would have preferred to do our own thing. We had walked the lanes the day before but this tour brought it totally to life.

Date of experience: November 2013
1  Thank jollyginger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HiddenSecrets, Owner at Hidden Secrets Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 28 January 2014

Dear JollyGinger
Thank you for your feedback and review on the Lanes and Arcades tour, we are so pleased you enjoyed the lanes and side areas more after our tour.. and I am pleased your travel agent assisted you with the booking - that perhaps you may not have thought to have done otherwise...

We love to read the various reviews of past clients, so thank you for taking the time..

Kind regards
Fiona
Owner of Hidden Secrets Tours Melbourne

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2014

I was so pleased I took part in the "Lanes and Arcades" tour with this group. This was my first real visit to Melbourne and I would've been lost going it alone. The tour was filled with history, local knowledge, art and humour. The emphasis was on small local businesses rich in quirky, unique goods. A wonderful introduction to the many arcades meant that I found my own way back very easily, to the places I wanted to explore further. Chocolate, shopping and a good chat. What more could you ask for? Did I mention chocolate?

Date of experience: January 2014
Thank cognac67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HiddenSecrets, Owner at Hidden Secrets Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 25 January 2014

Dear Cogna67
We hit a nerve - or a Choc Spot?? - so pleased we could fit you into our small group Lanes and Arcades Walk - after 10 years its still our most popular, as it really is designed to ensure you get the best out of your Melbourne Experience.. this trip and the next ones too... see it, know it, taste it, and soak it in....

I am overwhelmed by how many of our wonderful guests support us by making their first reviews on tripadvisor about us... we really do appreciate it... so thank you!

We hope you come back to Melbourne again soon.. it is a decent flight, but there are plenty of amazing things to do here... don't hesitate to contact us again for any new hidden secrets too...:)

Kind regards
Fiona
Owner
Hidden Secrets Tours

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Reviewed 20 January 2014

Have been to Melbourne many times and done many of the usual -- but this was unusual and we highly recommend it. Led by Danae with enthusiasm, knowledge and totally winning enthusiasm, the 3-hour Lanes and Arcades tour was a well-worth experience. It covered a lot of the local retail options (heavy on the chocolate and clothing) but wove in history, architecture, and urban legend as we ambled and rambled through the side streets of the CBD. The tour is about three hours and has no more than 8 participants and although not cheap at $95, definitely won us over. We made notes of places to return (and buy) and are considering buying it as a gift for our Sydney nieces. Totally delightful and a great way to spend a slice of time when visiting. Do it early in your visit if you're foreign, and any time even if you're a repeating local.

Date of experience: January 2014
Thank Ana-Maria Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HiddenSecrets, Owner at Hidden Secrets Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 25 January 2014

Dear Ana-Maria
Thank you for such a lovely review, it looks like you have had a great return visit to Melbourne. We are pleased you acted on a word of mouth recommendation the day prior to your walk, - and that it was not in the MIDDLE of that crazy heatwave.. I hope you found some respite from the 110F heatwave..
The chocolate, shoes, and jewellery is a phenomenon that Melbourne cannot shake.. but as you say, we believe there are many other details we can highlight for our diverse client base.

We are sincerely grateful for your comments, and glad we won you over.... Our aim is to inspire and/or make you want to spend more time here... After 10 years, that's what keeps Danae, myself and all our other guides "walking the streets' updating our tours regularly

Happy Australia Day tomorrow (26th Jan) and we hope you return to our shores again soon.

Kind regards
Fiona
Owner - Hidden Secrets Tours

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Reviewed 18 January 2014

Despite the scorching heat Luisa made our tour very worthwhile. Melbourne has so much to offer and this Hidden Secrets Tour is the perfect start to your exploration of this amazing city. Do it on your first day and you will go back to some lovely coffee shops, shops and arcades during the rest of your stay. The coffee break at the Belgian chocolate shop was awesome. Luisa did not overwhelm us with unnecessary historical detail, making the tour suitable for all ages, but the little bit she did give us was interesting and informative. The group was small enough (7) to keep things personal, but Luisa remained very professional at the same time. She was also very knowledgeable and answered all the questions we threw at her without any problems. The tour only made us more aware of how much Melbourne has to offer and we soon realised that 5 days were not going to be enough. We had a great time though and we will certainly be back. Thanks Luisa! Katrien, Rob and Elzi

Date of experience: January 2014
Thank Katrien B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HiddenSecrets, Owner at Hidden Secrets Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 20 January 2014

Dear Katrien B
What a week it was! Thank you for taking the time to make a note here...
We were both delighted and amazed by all our clients over the week of mid January 2014, who were so lovely and, as best as one could cope, managed the crazy heat wave.. We know travelling is often part of a big plan, and the mix of our guests are both last minute as well as months in advance, so weather can be a real pain when its not as a normal year...
Luisa and all the team love to read your reviews, so your thoughtful comments are so gratefully appreciated. Its a city that still captures the attention of us as guides, and so we do hope we see you again with one of our other tours, or even a laneways again.. - yes we do have a few clients who return every year...
Happy 2014, and we wish you more fabulous adventures
Kind regards
Fiona
Owner - Hidden Secrets Tours

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Reviewed 15 January 2014

This tour is delivered in English, lasts for about three hours including lunch and has of maximum eight people per tour. You also receive a further discount on any other tours or gift vouchers you buy from this company. The fitness level is easy as all you do is stroll through paved streets.

The tour began across from Flinders Street Station where our lovely tour guide Sarah gave as a goody bag with water, a map of Melbourne, and a list of stores that would give us a discount if we mentioned we had taken this tour. She then told us about the five key buildings that are one this street corner, namely Flinders St Station, St Paul's Cathedral, Eureka Tower, Federation Square and Young and Johnson's pub including Chloe's Rooms. I would say this is the most 'standard' part of the tour as these are key Melbourne attractions so you would most likely hear about them on most Melbourne sightseeing tours. However, this tour is anything but typical and it delivers what it promises- secrets.

I learned really interesting facts (trivia type knowledge) about how these buildings where built, what they were used for, scandals they had been involved in, and sayings that are associated with them.

Next we headed down the laneways and arcades as promised. We visited numerous shops briefly and were told about their goods, the shop's history and the shop owner's philosophies. Check your goody bag because you get discounts in a few of them if you mention that you were on this tour.

We also learned about some unique Melbourne architecture and notable architects. A tip for you is that you should always look up in Melbourne. Look up at the ceilings and the facades of tall buildings and more often than not you will be pleasantly surprised by the designs you see.

Morning Tea at KoKo Black is included. We learned a little bit about the store owner who travelled to Belgium to learn how to make chocolates the traditional way before we going in for a drink and a chocolate sample. All six people in my tour group had a different drink and we all agreed that what we had was delicious. I had a the Belgian hot chocolate and I highly recommend it. It tasted like melted chocolate and was full of flavour but not overly sweet.

Finally our tour ends at a restaurant across from Flinders St Station where we started. You can opt to do this tour with our without lunch included. If you originally choose not to have lunch included but change your mind, you can pay at the restaurant and they let you join the group for lunch. Sadly our lovely tour guide Sarah could not join us for lunch but all six of us attendees had lunch together. All of us talked about how much we enjoyed the tour, what we had learned, where we live and what the rest of our travel plans are. Some of us even exchanged contact details. I have never had such a good time with a group of strangers in my life.

This is honestly the best tour I have ever done anywhere in the world. If you ever visit Melbourne, I strongly recommend that you take this tour.

Date of experience: January 2014
1  Thank WynonaLavota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HiddenSecrets, Owner at Hidden Secrets Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2014

Dear WynonaLavota,
WOW, thank you!
I wasn't sure where you were going with your concise start to your review, but Sarah will be totally overjoyed with your delightful review of her tour... that hot chocolate is a big hit, and it is made with REAL chocolate, no cacao powder there.. :)
Thank you again for your generous and wonderful comments, and we hope you get the bug to rediscover more places.... not just Melbourne.

Kindest regards
Fiona
Owner - Hidden Secrets Tours

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