Top sites to take a picture in Melbourne

Top 30 sites for photography in Melbourne [view from rooftops, sunset & sunrise]

Last updated on August 9th, 2018 at 02:55 pm

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

I started this post with 5 sites. I extended to 10, 20, 25 locations and growing. Some of these photography places in Melbourne are great for sunset, others for sunrise or a rainy day. Why not a great city viewpoint, like from the rooftops

Every time I visit a new city for a photo trip, I google for some existing photos just to have an idea of where and when to go. As a second step, I build a google map with all the candidate sites. As the last step, I try to optimise a walk through these sites thinking also at the time of the day. I leave all the interior photos during the day.

Selecting great locations is not an easy task. There are many sites to take a picture in Melbourne and I keep finding new ones every week. This is to say that this post is growing on a monthly basis with new findings

I went back to all of my photos posted in the previous years and I checked all the new ones. It has been a hard selection with just 30 locations. There are iconic ones as well as some unknown sites. At the end, I decided to include also famous places although always trying to have a different corner.

I visit few of these sites in the workshops I usually run every second Saturday or on demand. 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 or just book your spot below

Email to check workshop availability      

Scroll to the bottom for the map and if you are planning a trip to this beautiful city here are the list of hidden places to discover in Melbourne

You may be also interested to the top locations in Sydney


Best locations for Melbourne sunset

These places for Melbourne sunsets are tremendous not only for your photography but also to enjoy as such, maybe with a drink too πŸ˜‰

Some of these sites have a deeper description and a photography example below in the post (just follow the link)

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 to stop for drinks at the Pavilion, sometime they have also a beach party and open fire on the sand. A real Aussie style to celebrate 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. Take the drinks with you, there is nothing around. 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 and I have never experienced anyone disappointed LOL so take your camera or mobile πŸ˜‰
  • The Rooftop bar on Swanston Street : I believe this is the best rooftop bar for a Melbourne sunset, right on the top of a 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. Great selections of drinks and even an open air cinema in summer. 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.

By the way, if you are after travel photography tips, compositions, tutorials and much more then why not reading and, if you prefer, downloading for FREE (no need to pass your email, no worries) this ultimate guide for travel photography. Over 70 pages that may change your way to make (not just take) photos when travelling.

FREE (no email required) Reference Guide to Travel Photography

Best views in Melbourne

How many times I got 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 both a view to Melbourne city and to South Gate too
  • The Docklands Library viewpoint : for a fantastic photo of this 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 at 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  LOL 

These are just a few. This list is growing on a weekly basis. Certainly the toilette is on top of my personal must place to visit LOL

Melbourne rooftops for photography – China Town

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

No, you do not need an 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 few photos. This second option does not work in the weekends because way too busy with people, especially on warm nights.

This multilevel garage offers a great view of China Town. Entrance is from Exhibition street, almost at the corner with Little Bourke Street


Melbourne rooftops for photography – the Observation Wheel

This is another favourite location of mine.

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


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


Both amazing views. Entrance to this garage is at 440 Docklands Dr.

If you are interested to more rooftops for photography in Melbourne, have a look to the G@Top project I have been running since 2014

Map of the multilevel garage for the top view of Melbourne

This is a map with just part of the project. More sights are added on a regular basis. See the Google interactive version here

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 life style 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


Princes Bridge

Another great spot for photography in Melbourne. Walk down St.Kilda Road from Flinders Station, just few hundreds meters

Best time is after dark, 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 be not that sharp.

Princes Bridge_DSC_7462-min

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


The Webb Bridge

This is probably one of the most beautiful bridges we have in Melbourne, must be in the photography list

This is really one of the most famous and photographed place in Melbourne I believe.

I think I was here at least 5 times myself. 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!

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


Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge

From here you have one of the best close-up 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.

The long night walk to the city The long night walk to the city

The green city contrast point

This is a fantastic point to highlight the contrast between the city skyline and the building of the CBD. 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 on.

Green city contrast point Green city contrast point

William Barak Bridge, the light trail

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

I love it because 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. I was just stopping for some light trail photography in the previous spot and from there I was going either to the MCG or to the city.

I have been back a few times though and my favourite composition is most definitely with a person on the lift balcony (yes, that is a lift tower on the right)

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

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

Bolte bridge viewpoint

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

It is a 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 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

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 location


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.

Explore 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

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, on the right side).

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


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 University area in the Melbourne CBD. Have a walk around the building. Some interesting architectural and street photography

1/30sec at 34mm, f/3.8, ISO 1600 1/30sec at 34mm, f/3.8, ISO 1600

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


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 North side is just amazing, the buildings look almost on fire.

Lights almost off in Albert Park_ Melbourne_AlbertPark_20130914_019-min

St.Kilda Pier


There are plenty of nice places in St.Kilda. However I believe this is the most iconic one. Avoid going there on the weekend. Far too many people.

If you love shooting facing the sun, than sunset is the best time. Otherwise come on sunrise.

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 pier we have a new view to the city which is absolutely magnificent.

Best time is after sunset to have all the night lights from the city. Here I suggest to use the highest focal length (zoom) you have to compress the background.

City view from St.Kilda_DSCF9993-min

The St.Kilda marina

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

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

A walk to the sun in St.Kilda_Melbourne-Daily-Photo-Blog-Beach- HeadOnMY2- Landscape- Nature Perception- path- Salon13- St.Kilda- Sunset-StKilda_20120917_020_1_2-2-Edit-min


Princes Pier at Sunset

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 to receive your personalized copy of the Melbourne City photographic sites. Print it or load it on your mobile/tablet as you reference guide.

Go down a bit more and you will see also the map with every sites discussed in this post

Enjoy your travel photography!


All images are Creative Commons, Non-Commercial
Details and licensing rights

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Stefano Ferro
Stefano is a travel and landscape photographer with a background in cycling, movie and lifestyle photography. When in Melbourne, his hometown, you will see him cycling around at sunset or sunrise looking for the best spot for a photo of this beautiful city. It is quite amazing how much photography gear he can pack on his bike :o
    • Southern Cross Statio
    • October 11, 2018

    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

    • Bryan
    • August 4, 2018

    Brilliant work: you have a great eye!

    • Pru
    • July 29, 2018

    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.


    • Reply

      Hey Pru,
      I was next to the Richmond Rowing Club ( with a wide angle. It’s actually two photos stitched together
      Take a great photo and do not hesitate to contact me in case of more questions

    • Juan Mey
    • June 28, 2018

    Hi Stefano,
    would love to collab and learn from you! based on Melbourne also

    • 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

    • Marsha
    • May 3, 2018

    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.

  1. Reply

    Love your post. Much thanks for your liberality.

  2. Reply

    Amazing collection, thanks for such a very nice collection, really very helpful stuff.

    • Nigel
    • January 22, 2018

    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

      No worries Nigel. So glad I was helpful. Enjoy your time in the city

    • Jamie
    • October 28, 2017


    When I go to the interactive map to view all the locations, what’s the difference between the Red markers and the White markers?

    Are the White ones no longer available / accessible?

    • Reply

      Thanks Jamie,
      the are all existing locations. I may be unaware of some last minute change though (like start of a new building etc).

      I actually set the color of all markers to red but somehow, based on the used browser it may come out white. I tried to investigate with Google without luck. It’s annoying however ultimately the important thing is that there is no difference. Red or white is the same.

    • R4nd0m_4t0gr4ph3r
    • May 16, 2017

    Docklands library viewpoint is no longer awesome, as two buildings were built covering almost half of the observation wheel.

    • Erwin
    • May 15, 2017

    Hi Stef, need some advice as I might be dropping by Melbourne in June. Is it safe to travel around melbourne in the evening for photography? Can I reach these locations using the tram services?

      • Stef
      • May 15, 2017

      Hi Erwin,
      I have personally never had any problem walking in the night and taking photos from some unique places and I was alone in most of the cases, which I am not here to suggest of course πŸ™‚

      In saying that, as any financial advisor says, the past experiences are not an indicator of the future ones πŸ˜‰

      Enjoy your trip
      Cheers Stef

    • Andrew
    • April 25, 2017

    What a generous resource. Thank you. I Love your imagemaking and post processing style.

    • Reply

      Thanks Andrew, really appreciated. Comments like yours help me to run this website πŸ™‚
      I will share soon my processing presets, stay connected with the mailing list πŸ˜‰

    • Ian Wright
    • March 28, 2017

    What a great site with some great suggestions – visiting family in the city from the UK so given us lots of activities! Much appreciated

    • Reply

      Thank you so much Ian, really appreciated!!
      It may be a bit clique however, believe you me, it really means a lot to me.
      Enjoy your trip in Melbourne

    • Todd B.
    • February 19, 2017

    Thanks for all the great sites to go see. Just got my Fuji xt1, so ill be off to see some of these sites very soon. ???

      • Stef
      • February 21, 2017

      No worries Todd,
      Fuji XT1, that’s awesome Todd. One of my favourite cameras for travel photography and city exploration.

      Enjoy your trip and let me know how it goes πŸ˜‰


  3. Reply

    Stefano a lot of your photos are missing from this post, are you able to put them back?

      • Stef
      • February 16, 2017

      Thanks so much Jane. I had yesterday a first part of a server upgrade and the links were corrupted.
      All back to normal now.
      Really appreciated

    • John Wilson.
    • February 9, 2017

    I was impressed of your photography.

    • Reply

      Thank you so much John, really appreciated.

      I hope to meet you soon around

      All the best with your photography


    • Warren
    • December 17, 2016

    Love your post. Thank you very much for your generosity.

  4. Reply

    I like your shots around Melbourne

    • Reply

      Thanks you so much Ronald. I will publish a new list very soon. Just organising it. Stay tuned πŸ˜‰

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