Best photography spots in Melbourne

I have been making photos in this city for the last 15 years to famous iconic places and hidden gems, with rain and sun.

In this guide, I have summarized my best photography spots in Melbourne, a few of which very instagrammable.

As a matter of principle, I always wanted to attach the map where the photo was made. I thought that any photographer or traveller, new to the city could benefit from that.

I started this post with 5 sites. I kept extending it with new findings on a regular basis.

Some of these photography places in Melbourne are great for sunset, others for sunrise or a rainy day. And why not a great city viewpoint, like from the rooftops.

In this guide you will see

You can read also

Selecting great locations is not an easy task. There are many spots to take a picture in Melbourne and I keep finding new ones every week.

This is to say that this post keeps growing on a monthly basis with new findings

It has been hard to select just the below locations.

There are iconic ones as well as some unknown sites. In the end, I decided to include also famous places although always trying to have a different corner.

I have included a map at the end of the post.

I visit a few of these sites in the workshops I usually run every second Saturday or on-demand (private one-to-one sessions). I love this city and I can’t stop myself exploring it alone and with over fellow photographers. If you are interested, you can check here more information on when and what we will do

Check the workshop dates

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Pin this post if you like it

Best photography spots in Melbourne for sunset & sunrise – in a nutshell

These places for sunsets are tremendous not only for your photography but also to enjoy as such, maybe with a drink or two 😉

You can keep following the links for an extended description or a Google map.

All of these Melbourne sunset locations may change based on the time of the year.

  • St Kilda Pier : this is THE place to be, especially in summer. You will not be alone though, because of the many tourists around and also because you may have some penguins too :). Overall a great spot to be
  • St Kilda West Beach: great location for a photo but not only. This is the kite surfing beach, just expect that chill out feeling. On a mild/warm evening I suggest stopping for drinks at the Pavilion, sometimes they have also a beach party and open fire on the sand. A real Aussie way to celebrate the sunset.
  • Princes Pier: this is my favourite place for a photo session, especially when cloudy. You can reach this place using the 109 tram (end station in Port Melbourne). On a warm night or for dinner you can try the Mr Hobson cafe/restaurant
  • Harbour Esplanade in Docklands: you will have the sunset just right in front of you for most of the year. The great thing here is the fantastic selection of pubs, bars and restaurants you may want to go for the last drink of the day. The Watermark Docklands has usually happy hour half price till 7pm
  • The Bolte Bridge viewpoint, you need to walk a fair bit to go there but well worth the effort. September and October are the best months
  • The Birrarung Angel site: beside seeing the Deborah Halpern’s Art Sculpture, this location is perfect for a great sunset on South Gate. I usually walk here during my photography workshops (I never had anyone disappointed)
  • The Rooftop bar on Swanston Street: I believe this is the best rooftop bar for a Melbourne sunset, right on the top of an 8 floors building. There is a small drawback, you need to walk up there as the lift usually does not work or it is locked up. 360 degrees view so take your camera but no tripod, too crowded. If windy, take your jacket too, it can be quite cold up there.

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Best photography views in Melbourne – in a nutshell

How many times did I get asked where is the best view of Melbourne?

A lot.

With the years I have built a great list of sites which can be useful for both photography and enjoyment.

  • The Rooftop bar on Swanston Street : I have to start where I left the last list because doesn’t matter the time of the day, this is still the place to be
  • City Panorama: just on the other side of the Yarra River where all of the rowing clubs are.
  • The William Barak Bridge: with a view to Melbourne city and to South Gate too
  • The Docklands Library viewpoint: for a fantastic photo of this relatively new area of Melbourne
  • The Wurundjeri Way bridge: view of Melbourne from over the river
  • The top of the DFO Parking: for the South Gate area, great at sunset too
  • The toilet on the 35th floor: this is a secret and hidden place of Melbourne. Just go to the bar area of the Sofitel Hotel on the 35th floor. This must be the best view of Melbourne from a toilette 🙂

These are just a few. This list is growing on a regular basis.

Great rooftops for photography in Melbourne

View to China Town

No, you do not need a helicopter.

You just need to climb up the stairs of a multi-storey car park or take an elevator to a bar on top of the building, grab a beer and make a few photos.

This second option does not work on the weekends because of way too busy with people, especially on warm nights.

The city from the top - Best locations from the top buildings of Melbourne
The city from the top – Best locations from the top buildings of Melbourne

This multilevel garage in China Town offers a great view of this multicultural area.

Entrance is from 180 Russell Street, almost at the corner with Little Bourke Street

China Town from a multi-level parking building
China Town from a multi-level parking building

The Observation Wheel

This is another favourite location of mine.

Walk up to the top floor of this multilevel garage for an unusual view of the Observation Wheel on the front of the building.

The spinning Observation Wheel
The spinning Observation Wheel

On the back of the building, you have a fantastic view of the city.

Great view of the city from 440 Docklands Dr.
Great view of the city from 440 Docklands Dr.

Both amazing views.

Entrance to this garage is at 440 Docklands Dr.

Maps of the rooftops I visited for my photography

If you are interested in more rooftops for photography in Melbourne, have a look to the map below

The G@Top Project
The G@Top Project – See the Google interactive version here

City Panorama

Melbourne City Panorama
Melbourne City Panorama

I love this side of the river for a long panorama shot of the CBD.

The Yarra river gives that lovely mirror effect to the foreground.

The right time is at dusk with the city lights on their best.

The wheel on the right corner is usually there for the Moomba Festival, around mid-March

Come here one hour before sunset for some photography of the busy rowing clubs area.

Interesting portraits and lifestyle shots.

The rowing life on the Yarra

You can also plan your day for the sunset on the other side of the river (better for the light).

This is the place where you can probably get the best photos of the rowing life in the Yarra

The Yarra River at sunset
The Yarra River at sunset

Great bridges for photography in Melbourne

Here below the bridges that I love the most in Melbourne.

The list below starts from docklands and follow the river towards the city

Bolte bridge viewpoint

This is quite a unique spot, a bit hidden from the city.

It is 700 meters walk from Docklands and you will experience a beautiful view of the Bolte Bridge and the Observation Wheel.

From the Bolte bridge to the Observation Wheel, Melbourne
From the Bolte bridge to the Observation Wheel, Melbourne

The Webb Bridge

The Webb bridge, one of the most beautiful bridges we have in Melbourne
The Webb bridge, one of the most beautiful bridges we have in Melbourne

This is really one of the most famous and photographed places in Melbourne I believe. Surely very popular on Instagram

Best time for a shot is at dusk when the sky becomes all orange and the lights of the units, from the nearby buildings, give a real futuristic effect.

You add also the white light around the bridge net and you have the full picture

Walk around to shoot from different corners.

Can you find a unique angle?

Hard but you never know!

City view from Wurundjeri Way bridge

Great Melbourne spot on sunrise.

In saying that I had my best photo made on sunset when the clouds over the CBD had a fantastic orange-red colour.

You can walk up the bridge from the north side of the Yarra River or from South Gate. It’s a busy road. Check the map at the end for the exact location

City view from Wurundjeri Way bridge
City view from Wurundjeri Way bridge

Princes Bridge

A famous spot for photography in Melbourne, very instagrammable

Walk down St.Kilda Road from Flinders Station, just a few hundred meters

The best time is during and after the blue hour, with great night lights from the city and South Gate

You will need a tripod.

Try to shoot when you do not see trams coming/going as the bridge tends to move slightly and your photos may come out not as sharp as you think.

View of Southgate from Princes Bridge
View of Southgate from Princes Bridge

Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge

From here you have one of the best cityscape photos of the Melbourne CBD.

It works best at night, especially after a rainy day, with the city lights reflecting in the puddles and the wet bridge.

Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge - The long night walk to the city
Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge – The long night walk to the city

William Barak Bridge, the light trail

This is my favourite spot in Melbourne CBD for light trail photography.

The light trails work fantastically well as lead-in lines to the city and usually, there is enough traffic for some cool effects.

William Barak Bridge, the light trail
William Barak Bridge, the light trail

William Barak Bridge, view to South Gate

I found this spot quite late in my Melbourne exploration.

The main reason is that I never looked back to the South Gate direction when walking around the area, crazy isn’t it.

William Barak Bridge, view to South Gate
William Barak Bridge, view to South Gate

Morell Bridge – The Paris feeling

This pedestrian bridge deserves a visit after sunset for some night photography.

You suddenly feel like you are in France on the Seine river.

It works best in black and white.

Morell Bridge, a French corner in Melbourne
Morell Bridge, a French corner in Melbourne

Hoddle Bridge

I love this location, as most of the Yarra river up to the CBD.

Stay on the south side of the river for the most scenic photos of the bridges, as in the case below.

Sunset is the best time to enjoy and photograph this side of Melbourne

The magical Hoddle Bridge at sunset
The magical Hoddle Bridge at sunset

The green city contrast point

This is a fantastic point to highlight the contrast between the city skyline and the Birrarung Marr park

It’s just next to the ArtPlay in the Birrarung Marr (have a look to the below map).

Best time to visit is during the blue hour, just after sunset with still some light for the grass and the first city lights.

Green city contrast point from Birrarung Marr
Green city contrast point from Birrarung Marr

The Nylex view

If you are looking for an iconic view of Melbourne then you can walk along the Yarra River to shoot the famous Nylex clock building (malting storage silos).

I have just printed this photo on a 1.3m wide canvas and it works so well.

Best time to visit this spot is on a cloudy sunset.

The Nylex clock building
The Nylex clock building

Heavenly Queen Temple viewpoint

This is a lovely Buddhist temple in Footscray, just 2-3km from the CBD.

Best time to visit is at sunset.

Best location is from the opposite bank of the Maribyrnong River

Heavenly Queen Temple viewpoint
Heavenly Queen Temple viewpoint

The Docklands Library viewpoint

This is a secret point to visit at night.

Fantastic view from the back of the library to the Observation Wheel with the Docklands pier in the foreground

Eyes to the Observation Wheel in Docklands, Melbourne
Eyes to the Observation Wheel in Docklands, Melbourne

This view is now limited by a new building, unfortunately

Southern Cross Station

This is my favourite spot for street photography in Melbourne.

It’s also a great spot for architectural photography, being the building as unusual as fantastic to explore.

Walk to the 1st level for the best view, as in this photo below

Focal length @ 20mm (equivalent 40mm) using a Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7
Southern Cross Station – Focal length @ 20mm (equivalent 40mm) using a Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F/1.7

333 Collins Street

Probably my favourite building in Melbourne, together with the Victoria Library.

333 Collins Street is a real hidden corner, almost impossible to see it from the street.

Step in without hesitation

Historical Collins 333, the CBA Bank in Melbourne
Historical Collins 333, the CBA Bank in Melbourne

This building is now closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

State Library of Victoria

This is the most impressive dome I have ever seen.

Go to the 6th floor for the best view (there is a lift once in the building, on the right side).

There is also a less formal reading room at the end of the building that you should not miss.

The Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria
The Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria

Rodda Lane

Here is another hidden photography corner of Melbourne, Rodda Lane.

The entrance looks a bit dodgy however I have been there so many times and I have never experienced a single problem.

It is the RMIT University area in the Melbourne CBD.

Have a walk around the buildings, it’s a big pedestrian area.

Some interesting architectural and street photography

Rodda Lane, great for Street Photography (1/30sec at 34mm, f/3.8, ISO 1600)
Rodda Lane, great for Street Photography (1/30sec at 34mm, f/3.8, ISO 1600)

Best locations for Graffiti photography Melbourne

Centre Place

One of the best lane of Melbourne CBD to visit during the day, for lunch or dinner.

It can actually be quite busy.

In the night is an amazing place for graffiti photography.

Centre Place at night is Graffiti zone, Melbourne
Centre Place at night is Graffiti zone, Melbourne

Rutledge Lane – the graffiti must visit

Most of the people visit Hosier Lane for the graffiti.

It’s quite incredible that just a small number adventure the extra meter into Rutledge Lane, a dodgy alley off Hosier lane.

In the night all these graffiti give the best, so much better than during the day

Rutledge Lane - the graffiti must visit
Rutledge Lane – the graffiti must visit

Sunset Reflection on Albert Park

Best time to visit this place is again at sunset.

The reflection of the sun on the buildings on the Northside is just amazing, the buildings look almost on fire.

Capturing the reflection on the Albert Park
Capturing the reflection on the Albert Park

Best photo spots Melbourne beach

St.Kilda Pier

St Kilda Pier on sunset
St Kilda Pier on sunset

There are plenty of nice places in St.Kilda.

However, I believe the pier is the most iconic one.

Avoid going there on the weekend. Far too many people.

My favourite time is at sunset

It can be really windy and wavy here so plan to arrive with a good tripod.

Don’t give up on a cloudy day as, by experience, you can achieve great results.

See the top 6 sites to make a photo in St.Kilda

City View from St.Kilda Pier

With the new marina, there is now a new view of the city which is absolutely magnificent.

The best time to visit is after sunset to have all the night lights from the city.

Here I suggest using the highest focal length (zoom) you have to compress distances.

City view from the St Kilda pier
City view from the St Kilda pier

The St.Kilda marina

The marina in St.Kilda can be a fantastic spot for sunset photography, besides an awesome place to just enjoy the last hours of the day.

The best location for this photo is from the deck, on the right side on the cafe pier

The Melbourne marina (6sec at f/8, 16mm ISO200)
The Melbourne marina (6sec at f/8, 16mm ISO200)

St.Kilda West Beach

I love to use lead-in lines in my travel and landscape photography. I find it to be a great composition rule

I discovered this elevated walking path on the west beach.

Visit this area in summer and you will have the sunset just in front of your eyes

St.Kilda West Beach
St.Kilda West Beach

Princes Pier at Sunset

Princes Pier, Port Melbourne
Princes Pier, Port Melbourne

Plan it on a cloudy day, better in Autumn when the sunset is more dramatic with the sun just in front of you.

And that’s it for today.

Now scroll down and you will see also the map with every site discussed in this post

Enjoy your travel photography!

Don’t miss these guides for Melbourne

Full Map of the top sites to take a photo in Melbourne

Map 25 Sites Photography Melbourne
Best Photography spots in Melbourne – For an interactive Google Map click here

41 thoughts on “25 Best photography spots in Melbourne [view from rooftops, sunset & sunrise]”

  1. For Southern Cross Station (and any other station) you need a permit to take any shots. Welcome to Australia. Yes, it is a public place.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback. My understand, following also a chat with the security at Flinders Street Station, is that if you are shooting in public or state parks/recreational areas that a permit is required for commercial use. If you sell your photos for example, or for wedding photography etc.
      If you shoot for recreational use then it should not be an issue unless there is a special law enforced for special occasions. Which makes sense as I can’t imagine how many people take photos of the own dears at the station.
      As a matter of curiosity, I did ask about a tripod use. In that case, I would need a special permit. Same in other places as the Luna Park in Melbourne or Sydney (introduced only a few years ago).
      This rules/laws apply also to other public places as parks. I am fully aware that you need to apply for a permit if you shoot (any kind of commercial photography or video) at the Sydney Botanical Garden. I assume the same for Melbourne.
      More interesting information here.
      Indeed you are right if anyone is planning commercial photography in public places then it’s better to check the local laws/rules, in any country, I may add. If it’s for recreational purposes (to have a memory) then there should not be a problem. Ask if in doubt

      Reply
  2. Hey,
    Where exactly were you standing to take the black and white city panorama? My husband is an amateur photographer and loves that kind of photos.

    Thanks,
    Pru

    Reply
    • Good day Juan,
      thanks for contacting me, really appreciated. At the moment I am not looking for new collaborators however I will definitely contact you in case things change. You never know
      Again, many thanks for contacting me
      Cheers
      Stef

      Reply
  3. GREAT photography! Thanks for putting all this together. I’m actually at the airport on my way to AU. With limited time in Melbourne this is so helpful.

    Reply
  4. Hi Stefano, Thanks for all the information.
    I am visiting Melbourne on the 23rd till 26th Jan 2018. I stumbled on your page while looking for information about Melbourne. You’ve done a great job documenting the top locations. Thank you.

    Reply

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