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Cultural Walking Tour of Melbourne (Self Guided), Melbourne

Besides being a commercial and sports center, Melbourne is also the prime cultural center of Australia. There are many art galleries, museums and theaters that reflect Australian and western cultures. Melbourne has created its own local culture and expressed it through art -- performing, culinary, and visual. This self-guided tour will reveal to you the international culture of Melbourne:
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Cultural Walking Tour of Melbourne Map

Guide Name: Cultural Walking Tour of Melbourne
Guide Location: Australia » Melbourne (See other walking tours in Melbourne)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Royal Exhibition Building
  • City Museum of Old Treasury
  • Forum Theatre
  • Federation Square
  • Queen Victoria Gardens
  • Melbourne Recital Center
  • Australia Center of Contemporary Art
Royal Exhibition Building

1) 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.
City Museum of Old Treasury

2) 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.
Forum Theatre

3) Forum Theatre

Melbourne has long been considered the cultural capital of Australia, and the Forum Theatre is one of the city’s best known cultural landmarks. Formerly known as the “State Theatre”, it was originally built as a movie palace. When the theatre opened in 1929, it had the largest seating capacity in the country with space for 3371 people. The building was designed by John Eberson, an American architect, who was well known around the world for his theatres, and the exterior was in the Moorish revival style, with decadent minarets, cupola and an attention grabbing clock tower. The interior was done in an ornate Greco-Roman style and the ceiling was peppered with stars to emulate the twinkling night sky.

Today the theatre is no longer a cinema, but has for many years been used for a wide variety of theatrical, musical and cultural performances. Entertainers such as Oasis, Katy Perry and Ozzy Osborne have performed there and it is a regular venue for the Melbourne International Film Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Forum Theatre is located on the corner of Flinders and Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD and has been on the Victorian Heritage Register since 1981.
Federation Square

4) 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.

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.
Queen Victoria Gardens

5) Queen Victoria Gardens

The Queen Victoria Gardens is a memorial to the state of Victoria’s namesake. Following her death in 1901, the state deemed that the long reigning monarch should be given an appropriate memorial and 4.8 hectares was set aside. The gardens are bounded by St Kilda Road, Alexandra Avenue and Linlithgow Avenue and make up part of the large group of city gardens known as the Domain Parklands. Taking a stroll through the gardens is the perfect way to revive your spirits and seek out some green space close to the bustling CBD.

There are several features to visit while wandering through the Queen Victoria Gardens. One of the highlights is the large floral clock, which was donated in 1966 and features more than 7000 blooms. Behind the clock is a large bronze statue of Edward VII who succeeded Queen Victoria on the British throne. One of the main features of the park is the statue of Queen Victoria, which is at the highest point in the park, and she is shown wearing full regalia. Built from marble by James White, Queen Victoria looks down over the parklands’ lawns and garden beds. There are many other statues that are scattered around the parklands including The Genie, The Phoenix and The Pathfinder.
Melbourne Recital Center

6) Melbourne Recital Center

The Melbourne Recital Centre is one of the city’s newest and largest auditoriums. Opened in 2009, it forms part of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s complex at Southbank. The contemporary design of the building has been lauded and it has received several awards including the Moore Stephens National Award for Public Buildings, which is the best regarded architectural award for a public building in the country. Inside the centre there are two main auditoriums – the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, which can seat 1000 people and the Salon, which is a 150 seat performance space and often used for pre-show talks.

The innovative design has created a space that is able to eliminate external noise effectively and also boasts internationally acclaimed acoustics inside each of the auditoriums. The centre provides a varied musical program each year and past performances have included: Piers Lane, William Barton, the internationally renowned German boy’s choir Thomanerchor Leipzig and both the Australian and Melbourne Chamber Orchestras. The performance spaces are designed to provide a truly intimate musical experience with the theatre layout and acoustics making you feel close to the performer. Prior to or following a performance, there is a café, restaurant and lounge to enjoy.
Australia Center of Contemporary Art

7) Australia Center of Contemporary Art

The Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) is Melbourne’s premier gallery for contemporary art and is well known for its innovative and thought provoking visual art installations. It proudly presents art by Australian and international artists and what makes it different from most art galleries is that it does not have a permanent collection. Instead it commissions new works that are especially created for the ACCA space. This makes the centre a dynamic and ever evolving art space that always offers something new and exciting to the visitor.

There are five programs on offer each year and the scale of some of the art works is impressive. Past exhibitors have included: Mike Nelson, Viv Miller, Fiona Tan, Nike Savvas and many more exciting and provocative artists. Along with the installations, there is always a lot happening with a kids program, artist talks and workshops. You generally do not have to book to take part in any of the activities on offer at the ACCA. Located at Southbank, just across the Yarra River from the Melbourne CBD, the ACCA is easily accessible to visitors. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and on weekends from 11am to 5pm – admission to the centre is free.

Walking Tours in Melbourne, Australia

Create Your Own Walk in Melbourne

Create Your Own Walk in Melbourne

Creating your own self-guided walk in Melbourne is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Melbourne Art Galleries Walking Tour

Melbourne Art Galleries Walking Tour

Melbourne is a fascinating city and is the cultural center of the state of Victoria and the country. You can see aborigine art only in a handful of countries among which is Australia. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most popular art galleries and centers of contemporary Australian art.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Nightlife Walking Tour of Melbourne

Nightlife Walking Tour of Melbourne

The nightlife in Melbourne always impresses its visitors by its uniqueness and variety. There are all types of clubs and bars to go with your mood. Some of the biggest entertainment centers in the southern hemisphere are in Melbourne. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most popular night clubs in Melbourne:

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Landmarks of Melbourne Walking Tour

Landmarks of Melbourne Walking Tour

Melbourne is an amazing city with its beautiful parks and gardens, Victorian and modern architecture. This self-guided tour will lead you to some of the most remarkable landmarks in Melbourne.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
St. Kilda District Walking Tour

St. Kilda District Walking Tour

St. Kilda district of Melbourne is situated along a fantastic beach of the Pacific Ocean. It is a cosmopolitan suburb near Port Phillip Bay. Its most popular attractions are situated not far from the beach. One of them is the huge and historical Luna Park. This self-guided tour will lead you through St. Kilda's main attractions.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Melbourne Museums Walking Tour

Melbourne Museums Walking Tour

Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria, in Australia. It is the biggest city on this continent, after Sydney, and dates back to 1835. Melbourne being a center of culture, commerce, education and sport, has many very interesting museums. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most popular museums of Melbourne.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 Km or 4 Miles
Children's Walking Tour in Melbourne

Children's Walking Tour in Melbourne

Melbourne offers some unique attractions for children. Your children can learn and see many new things, like rare southern fish and Antarctica penguins, toys dating back to 1880. This self-guided tour will lead you to the fun places in Melbourne to amuse your children:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Chocolate Indulgence Tour of Melbourne

Chocolate Indulgence Tour of Melbourne

Melbourne has a reputation for cafés and fine restaurants, and lately a chocolate fever has taken over the city. This tour takes you through the alleyways and arcades of the city center whilst stopping at selected chocolate indulgence points. Take your senses on a unique experience through six of...