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Melbourne Places to See

 

Central Melbourne

Central Melbourne (the Central Business District (CBD) and nearby) attractions are arranged here more-or-less on a route starting in the south-west, proceeding east along Collins St, covering Swanston St from the Yarra River to Victoria St in the north, then going through Chinatown to Spring St and finishing at the south-east corner of the CBD.

  • The Docklands Precinct is the lynchpin of Melbourne's urban planning vision for the next fifty years. The old shipping yards and industrial neighbourhood just west of the CBD is being developed into a lively residential, commercial and entertainment district that hopes to refocus Melbourne's attention to the waterfront.
  • Victoria Police Museum, Victoria Police Centre, Concourse Level, 637 Flinders St, west of Spencer St. M-F 10am-4pm. Free.
  • Melbourne Aquarium, cnr King St and Queens Wharf Rd (on the banks of the Yarra River). Every day 9:30am-6pm (last admission 5pm), 1-27 Jan 9:30am-9pm. $22 adult, $12 child.
  • Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders St (between William St and Market St). Every day 10am-5pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Located in the restored Old Customs House it covers customs history as well as immigration. It is interesting to learn of the racist attitudes that influenced past immigration policy only to realise that the Australian government still has a very contentious policy towards refugees and asylum seekers. $6 adult, children and concession free.
  • Rialto Towers, 525 Collins St (corner of King St). Su-Th 10am-10pm, F-Sa 10am-11pm. This is the tallest reinforced concrete structure and the tallest office structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The Melbourne Observation Deck on the 55th floor gives an excellent 360-degree view of the city. $11.80 adult, $6.80 child.
  • ANZ Banking Museum, 380 Collins St (cnr of Queen St). M-F 9:30am-4pm excluding bank holidays (of course!). Housed in the late-19th century Gothic Revival ANZ Bank building. Free.
  • Block Arcade. Runs between Collins St and Elizabeth St. Shopping arcade built in 1891.
  • Scots’ Church, cnr Collins St and Russell Rd. Gothic church built in 1873.
  • St Michael’s Uniting Church, cnr Collins St and Russell Rd. Romanesque style church built in 1866.
  • Flinders Street Station, cnr Flinders St and Swanston St / St Kilda Rd, beside Princes Bridge. This Melbourne icon is one of the city's major train stations and was designed in an 1899 competition. The station's front steps, below a row of clocks announcing train departure times, are also a popular meeting point for locals. A government plan to replace the ageing, and usually inaccurate, clocks with digital contemporaries was shelved after howls of protest from residents who had grown up meeting friends "under the Flinders St clocks".
  • Federation Square, cnr Flinders St and Swanston St / St Kilda Rd, opposite Flinders Street Station. Recently built over the rail yards, it includes an open space, an atrium with restaurants and cafes, an amphitheater and somewhat controversial asymmetrical architecture. It includes the following centers:
    1. Melbourne Visitor Centre, cnr Flinders St and Swanston St / St Kilda Rd. Every day except Good Friday and Christmas Day, 9am-6pm. Most of the center is below ground level. Free.
    2. Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, cnr Flinders St and Russell St extension. M-Th 10am-5pm, F 10am-9pm, Sa-Su 10am-6pm, ANZAC Day opens 1pm, closed Good Friday and Christmas Day. Houses the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection of Australian Art. Free. (The NGV’s international art collection is housed in the original NGV building south of the Yarra.)
    3. Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Screen gallery is open M-F 10am-5pm, Sa-Su 10am-6pm. A museum of television, film and digital media. Entry is free for much of the Centre, although charges apply for cinema screenings and certain programs and exhibitions.
  • St Paul’s Cathedral, cnr Swanston St and Flinders St. Gothic Revival cathedral currently undergoing restoration in stages.
  • City Square, Swanston St between Flinders Lane and Collins St.
  • Melbourne Town Hall, cnr Swanston St and Collins St. Free tours M-F 11am and 1pm, first Sa of the month 11am, noon, 1pm and 2pm. You need to book tours one day ahead on phone 9658 9658. Built in 1870.
  • Manchester Unity Building, cnr Swanston St and Collins St. This 1930s Gothic building was once Melbourne’s tallest.
  • Bourke St Mall, between Swanston St and Elizabeth St. Melbourne’s main department stores are located here and street performers and buskers perform in the mall.
  • Royal Arcade, south side of the mall. Built in 1870 it is Melbourne’s oldest mall.
  • State Library of Victoria, Swanston St between Little Lonsdale and Latrobe Sts. M-Th 10am-9pm, F-Su 10am-6pm, except public holidays. Built in stages starting in 1854, it has an impressive classical revival façade. Renovation of the La Trobe Reading Room was completed in 2003. Includes a good newspaper reading room, genealogy room and an art collection. Internet terminals are provided for research only, not email, and usually need to be booked because of high demand. Free storage for bags is available just off the lobby, with staff in attendance – large bags are not permitted in the library proper.
  • Melbourne City Baths, cnr Swanston St and Franklin St. The Edwardian (1903) building still functioning as a health and fitness center with a gym and other facilities complementing the swimming pools. Casual rate for a swim is $4 adult, $3.20 student, $2 pensioner.
  • Queen Victoria Market, 513 Elizabeth St, cnr of Elizabeth St and Victoria St. Tu, Th 6am-2pm, F 6am-6pm, Sa 6am-3pm, Su 9am-4pm. Over 1000 stalls, between them selling everything. Like most markets, the earlier you arrive, the better the quality of produce.
  • Old Melbourne Gaol, Russell St between Victoria St and La Trobe St. Every day 9:30am-4:30pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Night tour performances W, Su evenings (suggested age 12 years plus). Built in 1841 it is now a penal museum. Bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged here in 1880. The scaffold on which he and many others were hanged is displayed, as is Kelly’s armor. There are other displays in many of the cells. Allow an hour or so for your visit. Day $12.50 adult, $7.50 child; night performances $18.70 adult, $11 under 16 years.
  • National Post Master Gallery, 321 Exhibition St (enter from La Trobe St). Tu-F 10am-5pm, Sa-M noon-5pm. The collection includes Australia’s National Philatelic Collection. Free.
  • Chinatown, Little Bourke St between Swanston St and Spring St.
  • Museum of Chinese Australian History, aka the Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place. Su-F 10am-4:30pm, Sa noon-4:30pm, closed Good Friday and Christmas Day. $5 adult, $3 child. The museum runs 2-hour walking tours of Chinatown by appointment ($15 adult, $10 child).
  • "Little Greece", Lonsdale St adjacent to Chinatown. As most Melbournites will tell you, Melbourne has the third-highest Greek population in the world. Although not the focal point it once was, this stretch of Lonsdale St boasts many lively Greek cafes, nightclubs and shops.
  • Parliament House of Victoria, Spring St opposite Bourke St. Free half-hour tours M-F when parliament is not sitting, 10am, 11am, noon, 2pm, 3pm, 3:45pm. Built between 1856 and 1879, the federal parliament sat in this impressive building from 1901 to 1927.
  • Windsor Hotel, Spring St between Bourke St and Little Collins St. Opened in 1883 as The Grand, it is indeed the city’s grandest historic hotel.
  • Hotel Sofitel, 25 Collins St (the eastern, “Paris” end of Collins St). The floor-to-ceiling windows in the men’s toilets of Le Restaurant on the 35th floor offer men excellent views of the city.
  • Old Treasury Building and Gold Treasury Museum, cnr Spring St and Macarthur St. M-F 9am-5pm, Sa-Su 10am-4pm, closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Built in 1858, it was the city’s first Italian Renaissance building and many consider that its elegance has not been surpassed by anything in Melbourne since. Contains displays on the history of Melbourne as well as history of gold in Victoria. The volunteer attendants are very helpful in a fussy way. $8.50 adult, $5 child.
  • Treasury Gardens, behind the Treasury Building. Features a memorial to John F Kennedy.
  • Fitzroy Gardens, on the other side of Lansdowne St from the Treasury Gardens. Features Captain Cook’s Cottage which is the cottage that belonged to Captain James Cook’s parents and was transported from Yorkshire to Melbourne in 1934.
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral, cnr Gisborne St and Cathedral Place (between Macarthur St and the north end of Fitzroy Gardens). The original part of this Gothic Revival cathedral was built in the 1850s. It was consecrated in 1897 and the spires added in 1939.
  • Fire Services Museum Victoria, 39 Gisborne St, cnr of Victoria Parade. F 9am-3pm, Su 10am-4pm. Free.
  • Yarra River
  • Melbourne River Cruises leave from Princes Walk, just east of Princes Bridge (Swanston St), and from Southbank Lower Promenade. The timetable is subject to tidal conditions and river closures. $16.50 adult, $8.80 child.
  • A popular walk is from the corner of Batman Ave and St Kilda Rd (near the Princes Bridge and Federation Square) eastward along the riverbank then crossing the Morell footbridge and returning to Princes Bridge either along the riverbank or through the Botanic Gardens and Alexandra Gardens.

Southbank & South Melbourne

Attractions listed from west to east are:

  • Polly Woodside Maritime Museum, Lorimer St East near the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Every day 10am-4pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. The museum features the restored 1885 sailing ship "Polly Woodside". $10 adult, $7 child.
  • Melbourne Exhibition Centre, 2 Clarendon St.
  • Crown Entertainment Complex including the Crown Casino, 8 Whiteham St. Open 24 hours except Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day when it is closed 4am-noon. A Las Vegas-style gambling palace, also containing restaurants, upmarket boutiques, nightclubs, two hotel towers, a cinema complex, and floorshows.
  • Southgate Plaza. Can be reached from the CBD by an arched footbridge from behind the Flinders Street Station. Three levels of restaurants, cafes and bars overlooking the river.
  • Arts precinct, St Kilda Rd immediately south of Princes Bridge and adjoining Southgate.
    • Victorian Arts Centre, 100 St Kilda Rd, nearest the Yarra. M-F 7am-late, Sa 9am-late, Su 10am-5pm. The Centre consists of:
      1. Melbourne Concert Hall
      2. Theatres Building including the State Theatre.
      3. National Gallery of Victoria. The original gallery, it now houses the gallery’s international collection. The Australian collection is at the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square.
  • Between the east side of St Kilda Rd and the Yarra River is a series of gardens and parks.
    • Alexandra Gardens
    • Queen Victoria Gardens. Features memorials to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, sculptures and a floral clock of 7000 plants.
    • Kings Domain. Contains:
      • Shrine of Remembrance war memorial
      • Governor La Trobe’s Cottage. M, W, Sa & Su 11am-4pm except Christmas Day. Charles La Trobe brought this prefabricated house when he came to Australia in 1839.
      • Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Built in 1959, it is used for concerts and in winter as an ice-skating rink.
      • Government House. A landmark but rarely open to the public.
      • botanic features such as the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden and a fern grotto.
    • Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Ave, 15 min walk from CBD. Every day Nov-Mar 7:30am-8:30pm, Apr-Oct 7:30am-5:30pm. Free.

Carlton and Fitzroy

  • Carlton Gardens, just north of Victoria St / Victoria Parade and between Rathdowne St and Nicholson St, on the fringe of the CBD. Within its grounds are:
    1. Royal Exhibition Building. Built for the Great Exhibition of 1880.
    2. Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St. Every day 10am-5pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. This excellent museum opened in its new building in 2000. If you look at everything thoroughly it might take you more than one day. If you want to come back the next day, keep your ticket and see if the attendants will let you back in with it. The entry fee though is extremely reasonable. Inside you can even get a complimentary copy of the weekday newspaper. $6 adult, children free.
    3. Melbourne IMAX Theatre, Rathdowne St. Films screen every day on the hour, every hour 10am-10pm, except Christmas Day.
  • Royal Park. As well as parklands and sports facilities, it contains:
    1. Melbourne Zoo, Elliot Ave. Every day 9am-5pm. Open till 9:30pm on selected summer evenings. A very popular Melbourne attraction it contains a large collection of native Australian and exotic animals, birds and butterflies. Average visit approx 4 hours. $21 adult, $10.50 child.
    2. Australian native plants garden.
  • Lygon St, Carlton. Following World War II Carlton became an Italian neighborhood. In the 60s and 70s it became an intellectual and bohemian area. In the 80s renovators came in. Now Lygon St contains fashion shops and many restaurants, with Italian styles predominating.
  • BruVictoriaick St, Smith St and Gertrude St, Fitzroy. When the bohemian lifestyles left Carlton, they went to Fitzroy. BruVictoriaick St has a mixture of weird and interesting shops, clothes and food. If>BruVictoriaick St, Smith St and Gertrude St, Fitzroy. When the bohemian lifestyles left Carlton, they went to Fitzroy. BruVictoriaick St has a mixture of weird and interesting shops, clothes and food. If street art is your thing, the surrounding alleyways and backstreets are also interesting as there's an ever-changing array of graffiti, stencils, stickers etc on show. In recent times locals bemoaning the gradual gentrification of BruVictoriaick St have transferred their attentions to parallel Smith St, and nearby Gertrude St, where the bohemian charm, vintage clothing stores and great cafes are still at their scruffy best.

St Kilda & Elsternwick

  • Luna Park, Lower Esplanade, St Kilda. F 7-11pm, Sa 11am-11pm, Su 11am-6pm. Open more days and hours during school holidays. Historic amusement park built in 1912. Admission free; single rides $7.00 13+ years, $5.50 4-12 years, $3 3 years and under; unlimited rides $33.95 13+ years, $23.95 4-12 years, $12.95 3 years and under.
  • St Kilda Pier. Popular spot for fishing and walking.
  • St Kilda foreshore. Fine place for walking, skating, sunbathing and, on Sundays, shopping at the Esplanade Sunday market.
  • St Kilda Botanical Gardens, Blessington St, St Kilda. First planted in 1859.
  • Jewish Museum of Australia, 26 Alma Rd, St Kilda. Tu-Th 10am-4pm, Su 11am-5pm. $7 adult, $4 student or concession, $16 family.
  • Jewish Holocaust Museum, 13 Selwyn St, Elsternwick. M, W 10am-4pm, Tu, Th, F 10am-2pm, Su 11am-3pm, closed on Jewish religious holidays, public holiday hours vary.

Tullamarine

  • Woodlands Historic Park is immediately north of Melbourne Airport. Entrances are off Somerton Road, Oaklands Road and Providence Road. Contains an 1840s homestead, a walk up Gellibrand Hill, and a nature reserve. It is a good spot to see Australian wildlife, with kangaroos and native birds common in the park.

Organ Pipes National Park

A small national park located just to the north north-west of Melbourne on the way to Bendigo. Contains walking trails and rock formations including the “organ pipes”, hexagonal columns of basalt, the Rosette Rock (a radial array of basalt columns like the spokes of a wheel) and the Tessellated Pavement, the tops of basalt columns.

Werribee

Werribee is about 30 minutes drive west south-west from Melbourne, off Princes Freeway which runs to Geelong. Werribee Park Shuttle runs from Melbourne to the attractions for $15 per person.

  • Werribee Park, K Rd, Werribee. Daily except Christmas Day Nov-Apr 10am-4:45pm, May-Oct M-F 10am-3:45pm and Sa-Su 10am-4:45pm. A 1870s mansion and gardens including the State Rose Gardens. $11.00 adult, $5.50 child, $28.50 family.
  • Victoria’s Open Range Zoo, K Rd (take Werribee Sth exit from Princes Freeway). Daily (including Christmas Day and all public holidays) 9am-5pm, entry closes at 3:30pm. Sa-Su during Jan-Feb open till 9pm. Safari bus tours (50 minute) begin 10:30am-3:40pm (up till 7:40pm Sa-Su during Jan-Feb). An open range park with animals from the grasslands of Africa, Asia, North America and Australia. $18 adult, $9 4-15 years.

You Yangs

You Yangs Regional Park is 55 km south-west of Melbourne and 22 km north of Geelong. Access from Princes Freeway is via Little River if coming from Melbourne and Lara if coming from Geelong. Open 8am-4:30pm year round and from 8am-6pm on weekends and public holidays during daylight saving. Four main walks traverse the park. The 3.2 km walk to Flinders Peak (348m) takes 90 minutes and gives good views. The longest track is the 3 hour Branding Yard Track.

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