The Top 10 Things to Do in Docklands, Melbourne

Docklands is a waterfront suburb of Melbourne, Australia, brimming with things to do
Docklands is a waterfront suburb of Melbourne, Australia, brimming with things to do | © Mark Eden / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sue Roe Lim
16 September 2020

Once known as the West Melbourne Swamp, Docklands is a waterfront suburb of Melbourne. It soon developed into a harbour, and today it’s home to many business headquarters and top Melbourne attractions. Here are the 10 best things to do and see while exploring the area.

Discover urban art sculptures

Contemporary art sculptures are practically everywhere around Docklands, just waiting to be discovered. These sculptures have become a strong identifier of the area, showcasing the creative part of not just Docklands but Melbourne as a whole. Each sculpture has its own theme, whether it is history and future, land and sea, or culture and technology; “Cow Up a Tree” was inspired by Australian floods, and “Continuum” symbolizes Docklands coming to life. Docklands is like a free, open-air gallery of urban art, and your only job is to walk around and enjoy it.

Read a book in the Library at the Dock

Bridge, Library
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Enjoy a good book, great coffee and a nice view in the Library at the Dock. With a view of the Yarra River on one side and parkland on the other, Library at the Dock provides a completely relaxed environment to delve into the sea of knowledge. Known for its sustainable design and architecture, Library at the Dock also has a cafe in the middle of the ground floor.

Walk the contemporary bridges

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The artistic side of Docklands does not end with its urban art sculptures. There are two main bridges that are almost next to each other: Webb Bridge and Jim Stynes Bridge. The Webb Bridge connects the north and south banks of the Yarra River, bridging Docklands and South Wharf, and features designs based on the Aboriginal fishing baskets, fishing traps and drums. Jim Stynes Bridge was named after the late footballer. He wished to have a bridge named after him, and his wife and children worked to make it so.

Ride the Melbourne Star

Architectural Landmark
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View of a cabin on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Melbourne and Melbourne CBD
© Park Dale / Alamy Stock Photo
London has the London Eye, Singapore has the Singapore Flyer, and Melbourne has the Melbourne Star. Built in 2008, this giant Ferris wheel is situated in the Waterfront City precinct at Docklands. At night, it is illuminated with a colourful display of lights that trace its star shape, but the time of your visit doesn’t really matter. As one of the 10 biggest Ferris wheels in the world, the Melbourne Star gives visitors a full aerial view of Melbourne.

Party from dusk to dawn at Alumbra

Bar, Wine, $$$
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Nighttime is a lively time at Docklands thanks to Alumbra. Sitting beside the Central Pier, Alumbra was an empty warehouse before it was converted to the modern, artistic venue it is today. Emitting a strong NYC vibe, Alumbra is a bar, a club, and a function space. It is the perfect place to let your hair down, whether you prefer to chill with soul music or dance the night away. The kitchen is open until 2am, and award-winning chefs are at your service; Alumbra is the soul of Docklands’s nightlife.

Shop ’til you drop

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Another important feature of a great suburb is the convenience and accessibility of good shopping areas. Docklands is a perfect place for those looking for value and quality. From Factory Outlet to the open-air markets of Harbour Town and the Sunday Market, Docklands possesses a diversity that accommodates every kind of person. So relax and stroll at your own pace down the rows of shops and stalls.

Explore the alternative adventures

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As a centre of entertainment, Docklands offers a wide range of alternative adventures. Medibank Icehouse, situated right beside Harbour Town Shopping Centre, is perfect on a hot summer’s day. Alternatively, Glow Golf in Harbour Town offers a whole new experience of miniature golf, with neon lights and glow-in-the-dark technology. And if glowing golf games are still not enough, Glow Golf Docklands offers laser tag games for groups that seek a more thrilling experience.

Watch the sun set at Central Pier

Architectural Landmark
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A sunset is always a beautiful sight, but along the Central Pier in Docklands, it becomes stunning. Add the orange of the sunset to the glistening of the river, together with the boats, and the pier becomes truly serene. Sunset is also the time that jellyfish migrate, so have fun counting them in the river.

Pamper your tastebuds at the waterfront restaurants

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, $$$
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Here is something you can do while enjoying the beautiful sunset against the waterfront: indulge your taste buds. The number of waterfront restaurants gives you more choices than you can imagine for the perfect scene. Whether you are looking for a glass of wine or a cup of tea, Docklands has it. With a wide range of choices and a view of the Yarra River, a dining experience at Docklands is an experience to remember.

Take a cruise down the Yarra River

Natural Feature
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Melbourne River cruise boat on the Yarra River in front of the Central Business District (CBD), Princes Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

The Yarra River is a vital and beautiful part of Melbourne, and Docklands offers a range of river trips. Take the Melbourne Tramboat, the only one of its kind in the world, if you are looking for a vintage experience along the river; or the Melbourne Showboat, if you prefer a more elegant tour. There are even themes for you to choose, from burlesque to Japanese. A cruise down the Yarra River is a completely different experience at Docklands.

These recommendations were updated on September 16, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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