The Southbank Promenade
Escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne CBD and take a leisurely stroll along Southbank Promenade. This wide, pleasant, tree lined path runs along the southern shore of the Yarra River from the Southgate Shopping Centre as far as the Crown Entertainment Complex. Apart from the glorious river and city views, there are a multitude of cafés, shops and fine restaurants, as well as outdoor art sculptures and street performers watched by locals and tourists alike. Or visit at night, when the river and city skyline sparkle with all the twinkling lights.
Melbourne Arts Centre
As Melbourne’s main arts, theatre, opera and music complex, the Melbourne Arts Centre is more that just an attraction, it’s an institution. As well as the iconic spire that towers above the Southbank at 162 meters (and even lights up at night), the center also boasts three theaters: the State Theatre, Playbox Theatre and the George Fairfax Studio. On Sunday’s, you can even take a backstage tour of the Arts Center.
Address: 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004
Crown Entertainment Complex
This huge area, dominating the river and taking up two city blocks, houses the largest Casino Complex in the Southern Hemisphere. As well as it’s renowned casino, you will find designer shops, bars, food courts, fine dining restaurants, five star hotels, live shows, nightclubs, theatre and cinema. It is open 24/7. Check out the amazing black marbled atrium with crystal ceiling, fountains, light effects and music. After dark, at special events throughout the year, chimney stacks on the walkway outside shoot flames into the air. The Crown Entertainment Complex really is the King of Entertainment.
Melbourne Convention And Exhibition Centre And Seafarers Bridge
Visitors are often struck by the architectural brilliance of MCEC, which has won some of Australia’s most prestigious architecture and design awards. The Exhibition Centre opened in 1996 and was created by Denton Corker Marshall, a Melbourne architectural firm responsible for many of Melbourne’s larger buildings through the early 1990s, and features their characteristic “blade” entrance. Its main entrance of metal blades tilted at an angle and supported by a pair of yellow rods has placed it on the list of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings.
The Convention Centre was designed by joint architects Woods Bagot and NH Architecture and opened its doors in 2009. The triangular form of the building relates to its site, a key focal point for Melbourne’s urban axis that runs through the Central Business District, Docklands and the Yarra River. Since completion the Convention Centre has been awarded many accolades for their design and architecture.
National Gallery of Victoria
The NGV is officially the oldest public art gallery and museum in Australia, as it was founded in 1861, 40 years before the Australian Commonwealth was formed. As well as the outstanding collection of both Australian and international art work, the main St Kilda site is a piece of art in itself, boasting the world’s largest stained glass ceiling designed by the Australian artist Leonard French. Housing works from Aboriginal artists to the great Impressionist masters, the collection at the NGV is well worth a visit, whether you’re an art novice or expert.
Eureka Skydeck 88
Located in the Southbank Centre, the Eureka Skydeck 88 is a 297m high skyscraper and boasts the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere. Lifts propel you to the top in 38 seconds where you can experience the thrill of The Edge, a glass cube that slides out from the building, suspending you over the city. Having nothing but glass beneath your feet and nearly 300 metres below you, it is certainly not for the faint hearted. You can also venture onto the open air viewing platform enclosed only by wire grid (from where you can also see people’s reactions inside the cube) and experience the wonderful cityscape panorama in all it’s glory. A must visit for adrenaline junkies.
A bar on an island, under a bridge in the middle of a river; you would be forgiven for being bemused. This tiny island takes its name from the mythical Ponyfish said to swim in the Yarra. Accessed by stairs from the pedestrian bridge, the bar boasts great views of the river, Southbank and Flinders Station. This unique, laid back bar is a veritable stomping ground for City Slickers and hipsters at the end of a stressful working week. Unsurprisingly, it can get quite crowded in the evenings, thanks to its fun and exciting vibe, so come down early if you want a table.
Many different river cruises start and finish at Southbank. The Yarra is a fun and interesting river for taking in the stunning vistas of Melbourne’s shoreline. The boats glide peacefully upstream or downstream, making their way under many of Melbourne’s different bridges. You can even take a day trip to delightful Williamstown Bay, Melbourne’s oldest maritime seaport. Take dinner cruises, high tea cruises, historic steamboat cruises, private charter cruises for celebrations and so on. Simply sit back in comfort and watch the world go by.
Polly Woodside Maritime Museum
Located at South Wharf near the Exhibition and Conference Centre, Polly Woodside is an historic Tall Ship rescued and beautifully restored by the National Trust and transformed into a fascinating attraction for children and adults alike. The ship dates from 1885 and originates from Belfast in Northern Ireland. As well as a tour of the Polly Woodside itself, there is an interactive visitor centre which has extensive and interactive educational programmes for children. The ship can even be hired out for evening parties, for a particularly spectacular and memorable night.
Sandridge Pedestrian Bridge
Running diagonally to the banks at around 178 meters long, the Sandridge Bridge was recently redeveloped from its original use as a railway to the trendy pedestrian and cycle path it is today. Reopened in 2006, three days before the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the bridge now boasts a row of outstanding abstract sculptures named The Travellers, designed by artist Nadim Karam. Every 15 minutes, nine of the sculptures move across the bridge, supposedly representing the welcomed immigrants arriving at the Station Pier by train.