When the going is good, the famed laneways of Melbourne are like Alice’s rabbit hole come to life; a snaking CBD labyrinth bursting with things to eat, drink and see.

But be warned: the ultimate Melbourne laneways tour takes stamina so start your weekday engines at Patricia Coffee Brewers, known for serving one of the best coffees in the city. Wander through the colour and clang of Chinatown before ducking into the arcade known as Mid City Centre for ShanDong Mama (7/200 Bourke Street; 03 9650 3818), a no-frills dumpling house serving whipped mackerel dumplings that are clouds of deliciousness.

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The laneways’ famed street-art scene is as lively as a triple-shot espresso so take a postlunch guided tour with Urban Scrawl. Check out the murals and stencils of Hosier Lane, Caledonian Lane and more before heading to aperitivo hour at Italian-hearted wine bar Arlechin.

Dinner? That’s at Flinders Lane hotspot Chin Chin, where the fiery food is a showcase of South-East Asia. Your well-earned nightcap awaits amid the Victorian-era stylings of cocktail bar Romeo Lane. And then? To bed, surely to dream.

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Top image credit: Steven Woodburn

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