Australian street art
Discover secret alleyways and bustling cultural places in Australia’s big cities.
Wandering through secret alleyways and laneways is the finest way to uncover the character, charm and culture of Australia’s big cities.
From vivid graffiti to lively city bars – above and below ground – our cities feature dynamic creative areas that may be hard to locate, but are well worth investigating.
And now Australia’s outlying towns are starting to show its artistic side with towering artworks and unusual exhibitions that are well worth a journey beyond the metropolis.
In Canberra 27 areas are designated “free spaces” that enable graffiti and street artists to bring some colour and originality into the country’s political capital.
This council-backed scheme has enabled artists like as Geoff Filmer to (legally) make a mark on laneway walls, farm buildings and storage containers, with bright, vibrant murals.
Don’t miss the superhero-inspired works along Tocumwal Lane in Canberra’s city core.
Head outside of the city centre to the fashionable communities of NewActon and Braddon to find more inner-city street art amid cafés, restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
Sydney’s inner city neighbourhood of Surry Hills is home to much-loved cafés, eccentric fashion shops and second-hand thrift stores along Bourke and Crown streets.
Step inside the old house and workshop of avant-garde artist Brett Whiteley on Raper Street, and afterwards have a coffee and dessert at the famed Bourke Street Bakery.
For something a little more subterranean, travel to Sydney’s quirky areas of Newtown and Enmore.
Here you’ll notice some of the city’s greatest street art, including pieces that private homeowners commissioned on the exterior of their homes, raising graffiti murals to the rank of valued art piece.
You may explore the outstanding pieces and receive a history on the area’s change on a city street art walking tour with Culture Scouts.
Follow the city of Darwin’s Public Art Map to explore how the city’s history and culture have been brought to life via public artworks.
Some intriguing works not to miss are two bronze jellyfish by famous Australian artist Aly de Groot, at East Point Reserve in Darwin, and Meeting Place in Tamarind Park in the city centre.
The sculpture comprises etched images showing symbols of food and medicine historically essential to Darwin’s Aboriginal Larrakia people.
Head just north of the city to the Aboriginal hamlet of Bagot to witness several artworks produced as part of the Bagot Painting Home Project, including amazing portraits of community elders.
The popularity of the public artwork effort in Darwin has led to the formation of the Darwin Street Art Festival. The event gathers high level street painters who come to create magnificent murals on walls across the city.
Jammed between the department stores and fancy shops on Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall, Burnett Lane provides an unusual mix of public art, tiny bars and cafés.
Start your day with coffee at Brew, which moonlights as a wine bar after dark. In Fortitude Valley you’ll discover various interesting murals as you walk the region, and you can even stay at The Constance, Brisbane’s first street art hotel.
Be sure to also travel to New Farm and Spring Hill, over the river to the West End and South Brisbane, or you may even find a couple in Paddington and Milton.
Artistic techniques vary from edgy surrealism to realistic portraits of significant community figures. The city also plays home to an annual Street Art Festival, bringing in artists from Australia and overseas to add their mark to the city’s surroundings.
Aptly called “Radelaide” by locals, Adelaide boasts a lively street art culture that has even been identified alongside some of the world’s greatest cities as a hot destination for public art.
Adelaide natives go to Peel Street in the city core for its lively network of pubs and eateries. Delve into the tasting menu at Peel St, and then get comfortable at Maybe Mae, an Art Deco cocktail hideaway located under the subway tunnel between Leigh and Peel streets.
Around the street, graffiti-splashed Anster Street is also home to several hip pubs. Be sure to also visit Rhino Room on Pirie Street, Morphett Street Bridge, Little Rundle Street and Wonderwalls project in Port Adelaide – home to some of the city’s street art masterpieces.
Grand Lane in the city centre is only one of Perth’s old laneways restored under the Forgotten Spaces program, and it’s been done with some elegance.
It’s currently home to the 99 metre (325 foot) Grant Lane Mural, by Scott Neoh and Hiroyasu Tsuri, and the Light Locker Art Space, a public exhibition displaying 2D and 3D works by local rising artists.
Be sure to spend a day in Fremantle, where you’ll find it impossible to travel any distance without seeing another piece of art.
The suburb of Subiaco also has its share of street art, making it a perfect location to walk amongst boutique stores, markets and cafés on a beautiful day.
If you’re planning a road trip outside of Perth, follow the PUBLIC Silo Trail through picturesque rural communities to uncover gigantic murals done on grain silos, transformer boxes and historic infrastructure.
In Hobart numerous laneways, walls, buildings and other public areas have been enlivened with street art. To discover them, you’ll need to venture away from the historic waterfront district and into some of the quieter city laneways.
Start at Kemp Street to view eccentric figures by West Australian artist Jae Criddle, or explore Harrington Lane, where walls display the paintings of local artist Jamin.
Bidencopes Lane is Hobart’s street art hotspot owing to the Vibrance and Dark Mofo events which helped convert this tagging target into a vibrant carpark with artwork from over 20 artists.
Melbourne is known as one of the world’s street art capitals, and locals are encouraged to contribute in artistic expression.
Hosier and Rutledge roads (opposite Federation Square in the city centre) and Centre Place are among the most vibrant areas, providing some of the city’s greatest open-air galleries. Join a street art trip to find hidden gems off the main track.
The remainder of the state is following Melbourne’s artistic example with the establishment of a 200 km (124 mile) Silo Art Trail. You’ll view towering masterpieces produced by globally famous street artists, beginning in the Grampians.
The road journey will take you through six of the region’s tiniest communities which now make up one of the country’s largest outdoor art exhibitions. Visit the picturesque villages, boutique stores and cafés of Australia’s Wheatbelt along the route.
Topic: Australian street art
I am arguably the most popular Australian writer of all time. I am from the town of Karrinyup in rural Western Australia. When I was young, I was fascinated by the unique landscape of Australia, and I decided to support himself by writing books about the Australian landscape.
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