St. Kilda District Walking Tour, Melbourne

St. Kilda District Walking Tour (Self Guided), Melbourne

A cosmopolitan seaside suburb of Melbourne overlooking Port Phillip Bay, Saint Kilda District is a charming and culturally rich neighborhood graced with a blend of historical landmarks and contemporary attractions.

One of its prominent sites is the Saint Kilda Town Hall, an imposing municipal building that serves as a hub for various community events and gatherings.

Eildon Mansion, another historical gem in the district, showcases Victorian-era grandeur. This majestic mansion is a stunning example of the neighborhood's architectural heritage.

Acland Street, a bustling thoroughfare in Saint Kilda, is renowned for its lively atmosphere and eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It's the perfect place to indulge in delicious treats and shop for unique souvenirs.

For those seeking entertainment, the Palais Theatre is an iconic live music venue that has hosted countless memorable performances. Its grand facade and ornate interior transport visitors to a bygone era of show business.

Saint Kilda Sea Baths offer a unique beach side experience, with a blend of health and relaxation facilities – an ideal spot to take a dip in the seawater pool or enjoy a rejuvenating spa treatment.

Finally, the Saint Kilda Pavilion, situated on the picturesque Saint Kilda Beach, is a charming structure that serves as a backdrop for stunning sunsets and leisurely strolls along the promenade.

As a genuine treasure trove of history, culture, and entertainment, Saint Kilda District is fit to accommodate visitors with various interests, be it a history buff, a foodie, or a beach lover. So, why wait? Come and explore Saint Kilda firsthand on this self-guided walk and create lasting memories in this vibrant corner of Melbourne.
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St. Kilda District Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: St. Kilda District Walking Tour
Guide Location: Australia » Melbourne (See other walking tours in Melbourne)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St Kilda Town Hall
  • Eildon Mansion
  • Acland Street
  • Palais Theatre
  • St Kilda Sea Baths
  • St Kilda Pavilion
1
St Kilda Town Hall

1) St Kilda Town Hall

Saint Kilda Town Hall is a majestic city hall characterized by its classical architectural style. Its initial construction, which was never fully finished, began in 1890 and was intended to serve as the municipal offices and public hall for the former City of Saint Kilda. Throughout the early and mid-20th century, numerous additions, internal modifications, and alterations to its appearance were undertaken, solidifying its status as the civic and social hub of Saint Kilda.

In 1991, a destructive fire severely damaged the town hall and its art collection. An award-winning restoration and expansion project followed. In 1994, it became the City of Port Phillip headquarters, leading to more extensions and renovations. Despite changes, the hall remains a popular venue for social events, meetings, and performances for over 120 years.

The Saint Kilda town hall was commissioned as a replacement for an earlier building constructed in 1859 at the intersection of Grey and Barkly Streets. The decision to build on this site was made in 1883, and the location was officially selected in 1887. An elaborate design featuring towers, created by architect William Pitt in an ornate Second Empire style, emerged victorious in a limited design competition held in 1888.

The building, opened in 1890, remained incomplete with only the hall, front wing, and Carlisle Street wings built. In 1892, George Fincham installed a large pipe organ instead of completing it. Later, a classical portico was added in 1925, and an ornate stair-hall was created. An Art Deco Council Chamber was added in 1939, and a modernist addition in 1971.
2
Eildon Mansion

2) Eildon Mansion

Melbourne during the 19th century was a city flush with wealth from one of the most lucrative gold rushes worldwide. The prosperity of the age is reflected in some of the impressive mansions that can still be seen around the city. Eildon Mansion is one such residence - built in 1850 and originally known as Barham House, it was extended in 1871 with new wings added. The home was built only a few short years after Melbourne was founded and this makes it one of the city’s oldest private residences.

Saint Kilda was at the time, an exclusive seaside suburb where the wealthy built their summer homes and Eildon Mansion was built for one of Victoria’s wealthiest landowners, John Lang Currie, for his retirement. When Mrs Currie died, the home was sold and around 1930 it became a guest house. Despite many decades as a guest house and backpacker’s hostel, the interior has been well maintained and much of the original design and fittings can still be seen. Features include marble mantelpieces, a cellar, servants’ quarters, romantic bay windows and ornate plastering. The Alliance Française purchased the residence in 2006 and although there are no formal tours, you can visit for a look through the beautiful old home.
3
Acland Street

3) Acland Street

Melbourne is well known as Australia’s gastronomic capital, and one of the best loved dining precincts of the city is at Acland Street. The street is particularly well known for its cakes, sweets and bakeries, so make sure you have packed your sweet tooth on a visit here. Many of the patisseries, delicatessens, restaurants and cafes have been here for decades, before café culture was cool and back when Saint Kilda was considered a has-been of a suburb. Monarch Cakes is the oldest patisserie on the street having notched up more than a century serving sweets and cakes to customers, with some of the items on sale making use of 100 year old recipes.

Today, just a block back from Saint Kilda Beach, elderly continental European immigrants mix with backpackers, the hip set and moms and dads pushing prams. Acland Street was one of the very first streets in Saint Kilda to be surveyed and was named after Sir Thomas Acland, who had owned the schooner Lady of Saint Kilda between 1834 and 1840. It is close to other Saint Kilda landmarks such as the Palais Theatre and Luna Park. The Sunday market on the Esplanade nearby makes Acland Street a hugely popular place to while away the hours on a lazy weekend morning.
4
Palais Theatre

4) Palais Theatre

The art deco Palais Theatre is a much loved Saint Kilda landmark and one of Australia’s largest seated theatres. Walter Burley Griffin was originally commissioned to design and built the Palais at Saint Kilda, but when his construction was engulfed in fire just before it was completed, Griffin moved on and Henry E. White was engaged. A bigger, bolder design was offered by white and the result was the grand edifice that remains today. The Palais was built as a dual purpose theatre to show films as well as to serve as a concert hall. When built it was one of “the” places to go out, offering a double movie feature, plus entertainment from bands, singers, dancers and other entertainers on the bill. On July 3rd, 1929, it was one of the very first Australian theatres to screen “talkies”.

Until the 1950s it was mostly used as a cinema, but following that, world-class performers such as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, and Bob Hope have all tread the boards. The lavish construction boasts a Moorish interior and exterior, with a chief feature of the façade being the twin-domed towers. In recognition of the significant place that the Palais Theatre holds in Australian theatrical history, there are regular theatre tours held.

Why You Should Visit:
Absolutely gorgeous after all the renovations have been completed.
Inside and out, the architecture and attention to detail are jaw-dropping.
Comfortable, clean, and always room to move even in a sold-out show.

Tip:
Be warned – if you get seating in the front upper area you must remain seated the whole show.
5
St Kilda Sea Baths

5) St Kilda Sea Baths

Saint Kilda Sea Baths holds a significant place in Melbourne's culture and offers a distinctive experience. Situated on the renowned Saint Kilda Beach, it boasts an exceptional array of amenities including top-notch restaurants, bars, a gymnasium, a sea water pool, cafes, and opportunities for biking, kite flying, and stand-up paddleboarding.

The healing properties of natural seawater have been recognized for centuries. At Saint Kilda Sea Baths, you can indulge in the pleasure of bathing in water sourced directly from the sea, warmed to a soothing temperature. The facility includes a heated 25-meter pool, a hydrotherapy spa pool, a unisex aromatherapy steam room, and a lounge area with splendid views of the bay.

The seawater pool offers a sensory and mental relaxation experience. The natural seawater's buoyancy and curative attributes can help alleviate muscle soreness, injuries, and skin conditions while rejuvenating your vitality and overall well-being. Whether you prefer a leisurely swim, water aerobics, steam room relaxation, or a soak in the hydrotherapy spa, Saint Kilda Sea Baths caters to a diverse range of interests.
6
St Kilda Pavilion

6) St Kilda Pavilion

The Saint Kilda Pavilion is one of the Melbourne seaside suburbs’ main landmarks and much loved reminder of the genteel history of the area. The pavilion itself sits out on the end of the pier, which dates back to 1853. It was originally known as Parer’s Pavilion when it was built in 1904 and it served tea and refreshments to beach goers and those coming to take the health giving sea air. Then, in 2003, disaster struck and the pavilion fell victim to an arson attack. Locals and politicians alike got behind the cause to restore the kiosk and it was rebuilt according to the original plans. An extension to the deck and the café at the back of the construction has ensured that the pavilion is able to meet the 21st century customer demands while maintaining its historical aspect.

Inside the pavilion, the kiosk is open from 8am until dusk each day and the Little Blue Restaurant provides an excellent menu and range of local wines alongside one of Melbourne’s best views. While strolling along the pier and visiting the pavilion, make sure to take the time to read the interactive panels that tell the visitor about the pier’s long and fascinating history.

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