Grab your bae or pack the fam and explore the best views of Melbourne city to inspire your next date night or picnic brunch.
Alright, I know. Melbourne will never amount to the picturesque beauty that is Sydney. That's a given. I even admit it as a die-hard Melbournian, although it hurts me to my core. We just fail at harbours and making waterfronts look pretty.
I mean, we tried with Docklands and utterly failed at it. We even tried to lure people to Melbourne's version of 'Darling Harbour' by erecting the Melbourne Star, but that thing literally had a melt down.
But, nevertheless, Melbourne can be beautiful in its own right - if you know where to look. I like to think we're somewhat of a Berlin - not the most aesthetically pleasing at all times, but in turn, we ooze cool. Nah mean?
When viewed from some of the best lookouts in Melbourne, I think she is quite the lovely dame. Have a squiz at our video to gain a better perspective of some of these locations.
Discover more of Melbourne, take a look at these posts:
The Bolte Bridge, Docklands
Okay, you can't exactly access the bridge on foot, and I really wouldn't condone it, so you're just gonna have to snap a quick shot whilst driving over it in the car. The closest you can get to the Bolte Bridge is by walking up Victoria Harbour Promenade in Docklands (opposite side to New Quay), past Library at The Dock, and get a snapshot there from one of the piers.
If you're in the 'hood, you may as well make it a day outing and check out all the spectacles that Docklands has to offer, including a spin on the Melbourne Star for a stunning (but not free) view over Melbourne.
But, if you're really determined to get this very pic from beneath, then you'll have to jump on a Melbourne River Cruise to admire the cityscape from that exact angle.
Getting here: Access via River Esplanade pedestrian walk
Burkes Lookout, Mount Dandenong
If you've been going to Sky High at Mount Dandenong, you've been doing it wrong. Sorry. Because this Melbourne city view is available without an entry charge.
As magnificent as the view from this lookout is, it can be real tricky spotting the speck in the distance that is the CBD. Go on a slightly overcast day and you'll probably see nothing.
Now don't go spreading the news like wildfire, but this spot is a little bit of a secret (at least I like to think so) and slightly off the beaten track, so there's potentially a little bit of bush bashing involved.
More Melbourne day trip ideas? Take a look at 8 Incredible Places to Visit in Victoria.
If you're in to impress your date - this is it. Andy took me here in our early dating phases when he was trying to win brownie points (which he totally did btw) - you know those cliché movie scenes where the guy drives the girl to a cliffside at night with a view over some city (probs LA) to make out in the car?
Burkes Lookout is the spot, guys. This place is the movie cliché, minus being in a car because you can't exactly drive through the bushes to get here.
Getting here: Access via Ridge Road, Mount Dandenong, towards Sky High. Turn into parking lot at the Television Station (massive antennas, you can't miss them)
HOT TIP: Drop by on a clear night for glittery views of Melbourne city - it's even more dazzling and romantic at night if you can snag the place to yourselves.
Shrine of Remembrance
A museum, a landmark, and an observation deck packed into one free attraction in Melbourne. Yes, entry to the Shrine of Remembrance nestled in the Melbourne Gardens won't cost you a damn thang.
Head down when Melbourne weather isn't PMSing and find yourself spending the day roaming the dark corridors of the crypts, read up on Australia's involvement in the World Wars, dash up to the terrace to soak in the beauty that is Melbourne, and why not take a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens across the road?
Getting here: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Brighton Pier, Brighton
Hands down, my absolute favourite view of the Melbourne city scape from afar.
Stroll along the Bay Trail, buy some ice cream from the Kiosk, or even better - do it the Aussie way and grab Fish'n'Chips from across the road, and make your way down the pier (right to the very end) until you reach the rocks. That's the picture perfect view of Melbourne.
Now munch away at your Fish'n'Chips and watch the sun set in the horizon.
Note: This is not the same location as Brighton Beach (where you find the Beach Boxes). Route your GPS to the 'Royal Brighton Yacht Club' which is where you'll find the pier.
Getting here: Access via St Kilda Street, Brighton. Paid parking available in front of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club.
Ruckers Hill, Northcote
Don't miss this view of Melbourne if you happen to be hanging in the northern suburbs. Park your car, take a leisurely stroll down busy High Street, and you'll find a stunning view of the city in between Union and Clarke St.
This venue is also one of the top locations to watch Melbourne New Year's Eve fireworks display without being caught in the centre of the city amongst the mosh pit of partygoers.
Getting here: High Street, Northcote (stop between Union Street and Clarke Street)
Gem Pier, Williamstown
It's not just the eastside that holds the best views of Melbourne, the West has some notable vantage points as well. Not many, but we can't exclude them entirely, hey?
Catch the train, drive, or even jump on a Melbourne City Boat Cruise to Gem Pier in Williamstown where you can spend the day exploring the western front of Port Phillip Bay.
Oh, and this is also where you'll find this neat little view of Melbourne city - if you look past all the factories, cargo ships, containers, and the general industrial revolution that is the westside.
Getting here: Access via The Strand coastal drive in Williamstown
Restrooms @ Sofitel Hotel Melbourne
AKA the 5-star loo on the 35th floor with a breathtaking view. You can handle your personal business, ponder the meaning of life, and admire a sky high view of inner city Melbourne all in one sitting (Ha, get it?) Okay, bad joke. I can keep'em coming all day.
From the dunny, you can probably pin point half a dozen of Melbourne's iconic landmarks - the MCG, State Parliament, Fitzroy Gardens, and The Treasure, to name a few. On a clear day, you can even see as far as the Dandenong Ranges. Pretty darn impressive for a free toilet view, right?
The best part? It's actually completely socially acceptable to walk into the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne on a mission to 'use' the bathrooms on the 35th floor. They're actually open to the public.
But, if you're after a panoramic view of Melbourne, you're better off paying the Eureka Tower a visit where you can view the city and beyond from 285m up high and take in a complete 360° bird's eye view through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Getting here: 25 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Naked in the Sky, Brunswick
No. I'm not implying that you get naked and somehow float yourself into the sky in that state to catch a view of Melbourne. Cos that would be kinda creepy of me.
Naked in the Sky is actually one of the most well-known rooftop bars in all of Melbourne. You'll find this gem on the hipster streets of Fitzroy - combo up a Spanish-inspired Tapas menu with a mouthwatering selection of cocktails, PLUS, a mint view of Melbourne over the rooftops of inner city suburbia, and you've got a winner. Chicken dinner.
All their Tapas selections are de-freakin'-licious, but I just have to slip in here that they make a bomb rendition of mashed potatoes. The best in Melbourne - and, guys, you know the food in this city is amazing. If there's one thing you need to do besides finding all of Melbourne's best lookout points, it's to hit up the 10 Best Melbourne Restaurants and mark them off your bucket list.
Getting here: 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Wills Street, Kew
Psst.. This is a local secret. Sorta. We've been here on numerous occasions to walk our dog and admire the sun set behind Melbourne's city scape - it's actually the perfect romantic date spot (as the photo below suggests ;)). But, if you do need more inspiration for date locations, take a look at Top 5 Winter Dates in Melbourne for Under $50.
It's also a hot spot for viewing Melbourne's New Year's Eve fireworks, so if you're looking for a place to view them from afar this year, make sure you head down early, pack a picnic blanket and some food, and snag a good spot.
Getting here: Access via Wills Street, Kew (turn right into the carpark at the end of the street, you'll see a park - that's where it is)
Albert Park Lake, Albert Park
Home to the Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park Lake is an amazing spot to run a lap of the circuit immersed in the beautiful views of the park and the Melbourne city skyline.
Pack a picnic, hire a paddle boat, or stop for brunch at Carousel Cafe and sip on a Flat White whilst taking in the dazzling view of the most liveable city in the world - this is, without a doubt, one of the Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne.
Getting here: 22 Aughtie Drive, Albert Park VIC 3205 (enter via Lakeside Drive)
Bonus: Secret Recommendations
Erica from KidTown Melbourne has provided me with - not one but two - secret locations she found on her Melbourne shenanigans harbouring stunning views of the skyline without any selfie stick-slinging crowds to duck and dodge.
3rd Floor at NGV Australia
Head into NGV Australia at Federation Square and make your way up to the third floor for this beaut view overlooking the Yarra River and the spire at the Arts Centre. It's free to enter and the views won't cost you a cent either. Kick back and enjoy!
Address: 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3006
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 5pm daily
8th Floor at The Arts Centre
Welcome to the Eiffel Tower of Melbourne. Well, not really. Probably not even close. But nevertheless, you can soak in a quiet, close-upish view of the Melbourne CBD from beneath the spire - I mean, that's pretty dope - right?
Walk into The Arts Centre and take the lift up to the 8th floor (no ticket required), turn left and head towards the balcony and you'll be graced with a sight to behold.
Address: 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
Opening Hours: Check the official website for details
View this post on Instagram
Under the Spire ♥ on the 8th floor of the Arts Centre Melbourne. Isn't it great finding new spots like this around the city to take in the sights? Discovered recently when indulging in a special family High Tea with the @teenytinystevies in the Arts Centre Melbourne's function room. Where is your secret little viewing spot in Melbourne or home town? @artscentremelbourne #artscentremelbourne #melbournewinter #Melbournewithkids #kidstheatre #Melbournecbd #instamelbourne #localtravel #staycation #melbourneiloveyou #cityviews #culturedkids #aussiekids
Best Views of Melbourne: The Wrap Up
She's a beauty when she's not PMSing, and by that, I mean the weather. Melbourne is not known to have a kind weather God. In fact, she's quite the biyatch most seasons of the year, which is my conclusion as to why Sydney is more picturesque. Better climate. Simple.
These are only the places I stumbled upon, but I'm sure there's heaps more, and if you know of one - do share. The citizens of Melbourne will love you for it.
Until then, happy date night'ing!
Know of any other secret spots around Melbourne? Let us know in the comments below.
Like it? Pin me.
If you're afflicted with the travel bug and always planning your next adventure - you might find these useful:
- Get $15 USD off your hotel reservation on Booking.com
- $29 USD Airbnb travel credit when you sign up and book your first stay
To stalk the #SquatFam (aka Hangry Squad) more closely, you can find us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. We always promised to deliver fun and a less serious approach to life because I'm really just a 3-year old trapped in an adult body.