Whether you’re a serious photographer, want to pump up your Insta feed, or just love taking eye-catching pics, try these never-ending photo ops. From parks and rooftops to architecture old and new, this city is spectacularly picturesque.
State Library of Victoria
One of Melbourne’s most beautiful heritage interiors is the La Trobe Reading Room in the State Library of Victoria. During the day its soaring, ornately detailed white walls are bathed in natural light from the domed ceiling windows. At night, the old-fashioned green banker lamps cast a golden glow on the wooden desks. There are endless angles to capture, including several floors of balconies surrounding this majestic space.
From daytime rowers and night-time city lights to public art like Deborah Halpern’s big, colourful Angel sculpture, you could spend hours snapping away here. Don’t forget the view from William Barack pedestrian bridge in this riverside park on the south-eastern edge of the CBD. Learn more about Birrarung Marr’s history and cultural significance with Koorie Heritage Trust’s Birrarung Wilam Walk.
Queen Victoria Gardens
Sparkling in summer, golden during autumn and picturesque in winter through to spring – Queen Victoria Gardens never disappoints. Snap the giant floral clock featuring over 7000 flowers, or capture baby ducklings as they glide across the water. For more eye-catching displays, take a stroll through the gardens at the National Gallery of Victoria across the road.
The Block Arcade’s 1890s French Renaissance Revival architecture alone is worth visiting for anyone wanting to add some class to their Insta feed. Then there’s the very photogenic cake display in the Hopetoun Tea Rooms window – perhaps with the eternal queue in-shot for context. Plus the funny little toy man in the window of Haigh’s Chocolates, and the heritage trumpeters way up in the rafters. Dressed by the Block’s Adriano Carbone Master Tailor as part of their refurbishment, they play a grand fanfare on the hour – so consider switching to video!
Hamer Hall balcony
Next time you’re at Hamer Hall for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra or an international star in concert, take your interval drink out on the balcony. Facing north and east, it’s the perfect vantage point for an elevated pic of the city skyline – maybe with you and your bestie in the foreground. You can also access this public area via some secluded stairs leading from the lawn next to Hamer Hall.
Queen Victoria Market
Colourful fresh fruit and veggies. Customers pondering everything from local cheese to Syrian shawls. Indoor heritage spaces and outdoor areas with buskers and multicultural festival fun. Queen Victoria Market offers photographers endless opportunities. Don’t miss String Bean Alley on the market’s southern edge, recently relaunched with even more shipping-container stalls for independent creatives. Especially during the weekly Winter Night Market, when it’s crisscrossed with pretty lights and the nearby apartment towers create a dramatic, glowing background.
Expect the unexpected at Blindside Gallery – including a cracking seventh-floor view of the city’s southern edge and beyond, down St Kilda Road. Of course, there’s also plenty to catch the eye inside this independent contemporary art space. Exhibitions rotate every week or two, from sculpture, drawings and paintings to performance art and video installations.
Royal Exhibition Building
Melbourne’s only UNESCO Heritage-listed site, the 1880 Royal Exhibition Building is a no-brainer for photographers with an interest in majestic architecture. Drawing on several historic Italian architectural styles, its main inspiration is the mighty domed cathedral in Florence. Walk around to capture different aspects of the building’s exterior, perhaps with trees, ducks or a heritage fountain in the foreground. Shots of the opulent interior are very doable too. Take the guided tour offered most days, or attend one of the fairs or markets often held here.
Rooftop views aren’t hard to find in Melbourne these days, but what you’ll see from Rooftop Bar is hard to beat. From the seventh level of Curtin House, right in the heart of the city on Swanston Street, you’re surrounded by tall buildings old and new. Plus there are plenty of burgers, drinks and even summertime outdoor cinema when you’re done snapping.
Looking for a sweet city vista with the added glamour of cocktails and chic outdoor furniture in the foreground? Then head straight for QT Melbourne, the newish hotel with contemporary art-and-design smarts, including in the 11th floor alfresco bar. Take a few shots looking east, then sit back and sip that pretty prop.
Webb Bridge, Docklands
The snaking, super-contemporary sculptural metal frame arching over this pedestrian bridge offers endless fab photos. Close-ups, long shots, interiors, exteriors, reflections on the river – it’s a subject that keeps on giving. When you’re done with Webb Bridge, refuel at one of the many waterside dining spots nearby. Can’t decide? Try our guide to dining in Docklands.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out Favourite places to take photos in Melbourne – part one, which includes laneway street-art ops. You can also stop by the Melbourne Visitor Hub to get ideas from the team of knowledgeable locals.