City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Melbourne

Considered Australia's “cultural and sporting center”, Melbourne is the capitol and the largest city in Victoria region, Australia. It is notable for its distinct blend of Victorian and contemporary architecture, and also for being home to the World's largest Tram Network. Take this walk to explore the best attractions of Melbourne.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Australia » Melbourne (See other walking tours in Melbourne)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Federation Square
  • Flinders Street Station
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI)
  • Collins Street
  • RMIT Gallery
  • Melbourne Museum
  • Royal Exhibition Building
  • St Patrick's Cathedral
  • Parliament of Victoria
  • City Museum of Old Treasury
  • Chinatown
1
Federation Square

1) Federation Square (must see)

Federation Square is a cultural complex in Melbourne’s CBD that was designed to celebrate the centenary of federation in Australia in 2001. The site of the square at the edge of the CBD next to the Yarra River has had many incarnations since settlement including – city morgue, rail yard, offices, and fish market. In 1996, the Victorian Government held an international competition to design a civil space for the area and construction began in 1998. Since it opened in 2002, the controversial design has attracted more than 8 million visitors on average each year with some people loving the modern design and others loathing it.

The main square of the space is paved with 470,000 ochre-colored flagstones that invoke Australia’s red center. The giant screen in the square is used to televise important events such as the FIFA World Cup and famously Kevin Rudd, then prime minister, apologizing to the aboriginal people for past injustices. The square has plenty of cultural and commercial space and the buildings are designed in deconstructivist style, making use of geometric shapes and patterns. Amid cafes and bars, you will find the Melbourne Visitor Centre, the Ian Potter Art Centre and the BMW Edge Amphitheatre, which is often used for cultural events.

Why You Should Visit:
Dead center in Melbourne, you can't miss it!
Walking distance to city attractions and river.
Lots of cultural and group activities going on nearly every day.

Tip:
Grab yourself some takeaway food and sit here to soak up the Melbourne atmosphere.
The FedSquare website has a detailed calendar for you to keep an eye on.
2
Flinders Street Station

2) Flinders Street Station (must see)

Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne’s most recognized landmarks located on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street in the CBD. The first train station on the Flinders Street site was established in 1854, but the building that you see today dates from 1905. The design of the station was chosen from entries in an architectural competition held in 1902. One of the main features of the building is the dome, which began construction in 1906 and the station was officially opened in 1910, two years after the projected date. Within the station, the 708-meter main train platform is the fourth longest in the world.

These days, the station itself is the busiest in the southern hemisphere with more than 100,000 commuters passing through it each day. It is also one of the city’s key meeting points, with local Melburnians meeting each other “under the clocks” at the building’s entrance. The 13 different clocks show the train times, but these days they are operated by computer. There are rumors that the plans for the Flinders Street Station and the Bombay Rail Station were mixed up at the architectural offices in London, but there is no concrete evidence to support the idea.

Why You Should Visit:
Even if you don't want to ride the train, this gorgeous big-city building and the delicious eating options make it worth a look.

Tip:
Makes for a good photo opportunity at night when it is lit up!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-1am
3
St Paul's Cathedral

3) St Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the Anglican diocese of Melbourne and Victoria. Located just opposite Flinders Street Station, the cathedral is one of the landmarks that dominates Melbourne’s CBD. The location of the cathedral also has historical significance as it was the site of the first Christian service to be held in the newly founded Melbourne in 1835. Thereafter the site became a corn market until the lands were acquired to build the cathedral in 1848. Designed in the Gothic transition style by well known English architect William Butterfield, the foundation stone was not laid down until 1880. St. Paul’s was finally consecrated in 1891 and spires were added to the original design by John Barr in the 1920s.

A T.C Lewis organ was brought from England for the cathedral and it is considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of the well known 19th century organ makers. Bells donated by Thomas Dyer Edwardes are rung every Wednesday and Friday evening along with Sunday mornings and it is one of the only opportunities to hear 13 bell changes outside of England where the practice developed in the 17th century. There are many different services held throughout the week at St. Paul’s and it is open to visitors for most of the week.
4
Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI)

4) Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI)

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is located in Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD. The centre, which is set out on four floors, is dedicated to promoting and preserving both Victorian and Australian moving image in all forms. There are two large cinemas within the centre that run exciting and innovative monthly programs that feature the very best of local and international films for all ages. Throughout the year ACMI also takes part in several film festivals including: the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Animation Festival and many others. The ongoing “Focus On” series focuses on a specific actor, genre or director.

As well as a constant stream of fascinating installations and exhibitions, there are many talks and workshops that are provided. Some workshops are directed at children and others at students or adults looking to perfect their movie making skills. The permanent exhibition, Screen Worlds invites visitors to consider the role that moving image plays in our lives and how this role has changed over more than 100 years, especially today in the Digital Age. ACMI is open every day from 10am to 6pm except for Christmas Day and Good Friday. Some installations charge an entry fee.
5
Collins Street

5) Collins Street

Collins Street is a major street in the centre of Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. It is known for its grand Victorian architecture, prestigious boutiques and high-end retailers. Collins Street has served as Melbourne's traditional main street since 1837 and was laid out as a core feature of the Hoddle Grid.
The eastern end of Collins Street is known colloquially as the 'Paris End' due to its numerous heritage buildings, shopping boutiques and alfresco dining culture, features immortalised as part of the "Marvellous Melbourne" 1850s gold rush period. The western end of the street is increasingly referred to as the 'New York End' due its modern glass skyscrapers and history as the financial heart of Melbourne, home to various banks and insurance companies.

RECOMMENDED: Block Arcade-a heritage shopping arcade in the central business district of Melbourne.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
RMIT Gallery

6) RMIT Gallery

RMIT Gallery is a small gallery hidden in the center of Melbourne. If you want to see the most vibrant art and design gallery, go to this place. It holds the most unique exhibitions covering all aspects of visual culture and shows fashion, fine art, craft, new media innovations, etc. RMIT Gallery is situated in Storey Hall which is a world famous example of architectural innovation.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11 am - 5 pm; Saturday, 12 pm - 5 pm
7
Melbourne Museum

7) Melbourne Museum (must see)

The Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the southern hemisphere and has seven huge galleries where permanent and touring exhibitions are displayed. There is a vibrant calendar of events and visiting exhibitions planned all throughout the year. Past temporary installations have included Egyptian Mummies and Dinosaurs from China. Permanent exhibitions at the museum include: Dynamic Earth, where gold nuggets, gemstones and other geological wonders are on display; 600 Million Years – How Victoria Evolves; Sam the Koala – the story of the devastating Victorian bushfires and the little koala who survived it; Wild: Amazing Animals in a Changing World; Dinosaur Walk; The Melbourne Story, a look at Melbourne’s anthropological past and future; The Mind: Enter the Labyrinth; The Human Body; CSIRAC – Australia’s First Computer and many others.

On the lower level of the museum is an IMAX theatre where educational documentaries are shown. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to fully explore the museum and everything it has to offer. There is a museum shop and café for visitors to relax in and enjoy light meals. Children have free admission. Some visiting exhibitions may have entry fees.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about aboriginal history, local history and ecology.
Also, the grounds surrounding the museum are lovely.

Tip:
Free with a student ID, as well as for children under 16.
See museum and IMAX on a combined ticket and save $$.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
8
Royal Exhibition Building

8) Royal Exhibition Building

The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne is Australia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site building. Built in 1880 for Melbourne to host its first international exhibition, it is today one of the oldest surviving exhibition buildings. With eyes from around the globe focused on the young colony, Victoria splashed a lot of its gold wealth around to produce this stunning building. Located in Carlton Gardens at the north-eastern fringe of the CBD, visiting the site is a must while in Melbourne. The building is next to the Melbourne Museum, and is in fact, the largest of the museum’s acquisitions.

Following its wild success hosting the Melbourne International Exhibition and the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition in 1888, the building was also selected as the site to open the first Parliament of Australia on May 9th, 1901 following federation. It was also at the Royal Exhibition Building on September 3rd, 1901 that the Governor-General’s wife, the Countess of Hopetoun announced the winner of the competition to design the Australian flag and it was unrolled for the first time and flown above the building’s dome. Today the building is still extensively used as an exhibition hall and there are regular tours that can be arranged through the Melbourne Museum.
9
St Patrick's Cathedral

9) St Patrick's Cathedral (must see)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is both one of Australia’s most impressive religious buildings and a leading example of Gothic Revival architecture. In 1974 the cathedral was honoured to be given the status of a minor basilica by Pope Paul VI. In 1848, the Augustinian friar James Goold was made Bishop of Melbourne and he sought lands for a Catholic cathedral in the city. After the Eastern Hill site was approved in 1851 William Wardell, one of Victoria’s best-known architects at the time was chosen to design the church. Although grand plans for a Gothic Revival church were quickly put together, labor shortages due to the gold rush meant that construction did not begin until 1858.

The cathedral was finally consecrated in 1897 after the depression of the 1890s slowed down the final construction. Laid out on a Latin cross pattern, the cathedral is 103 meters long and is the tallest religious building in Australia. The Catholic congregation of Melbourne was at the time mainly made up of Irish immigrants so it was decided to honour the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick in naming the cathedral. The cathedral’s office hours are 9am to 5pm and volunteers will often guide you through St. Patrick’s.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the architectural glories – and an integral part – of Melbourne.

Tip:
Be aware of services that may be running; PLEASE be sensitive to all that...
Outside service times you can spend time wandering around photo-ing or video-ing.
10
Parliament of Victoria

10) Parliament of Victoria

Since 1855 the Parliament of Victoria has sat at Parliament House on Spring Street on the fringe of the Melbourne CBD. The only exception to this was the period immediately following federation, when the Australian Parliament used the building between 1901 and 1927. During the early federation period Victoria’s parliament met in the state’s Exhibition Hall. The Roman Revival building began construction in 1855 and was completed in stages until 1929. The chambers for the Victorian Lower and Upper Houses were completed in 1856, followed by the library in 1860 and the Queen’s Hall in 1879. In the 1880s with the state coffers filled with gold rush money, the portico and colonnades were added to the front of the edifice.

The Parliament House of Victoria has played witness to many historical events in the Australian political landscape. One of the most notable was the formation of the Australian Labor Party and later, the split in the Labor Party over World War I conscription in 1916. There are guided tours of the building when parliament is not in session. The tours take place hourly from 9:30am and the last tour is at 3:45pm from Monday to Friday. When the parliament is in session, you can visit the public gallery.
11
City Museum of Old Treasury

11) City Museum of Old Treasury

Housed in what is widely regarded as one of the finest Gothic Revival 19th century buildings in Australia, the City Museum of Old Treasury is a great place to learn more about the history of the city of Melbourne. The building was completed in 1862 and used as one of the chief governmental buildings for 130 years and initially as a place to store much of Melbourne’s wealth from the gold rush. After completing its governmental role in 1992, the building was restored and opened as the City Museum of Old Treasury in 1994. Today there are several permanent exhibitions as well as temporary and visiting installations.

One of the permanent exhibitions is Victorian Archival Treasures, where you can learn about Ned Kelly, gold miners of the 1850s, indigenous Victorians, famous criminals and the settlement of Melbourne. Built On Gold chronicles the gold rush period of 1852 – 1862 and the exhibition is housed in the building’s former gold vaults. Growing Up In Old Treasury is the story of the Maynard family who lived in the basement of the building in the 1920s when the father was superintendent. It is open from 10am to 4pm Sunday to Friday and it is closed on Saturdays.
12
Chinatown

12) Chinatown

Chinatown is an ethnic enclave in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is notable for being the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western World and the oldest Chinatown in the Southern Hemisphere. Melbourne's Chinatown is a major tourist attraction, known for its architectural heritage, annual festivals and cuisines of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Korean origins.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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