A daring vision drives the current redevelopment of the riverbank south of the Yarra: To transform Southbank into a modern leisure, dining and arts precinct – publicly demonstrating Melbourne’s passion for the aesthetic and its love for the arts.
The inner-city suburb has come a long way over the past two decades: The once neglected industrial district has slowly been converted into an attractive district for both tourists and Melburnians.
This area directly across the river from Flinders Street Station is currently a large construction side. In the heart of it is the iconic Arts Centre, Melbourne’s flagship for the performing arts. The redevelopment will see the centre’s transformation into a modern, innovative cultural hub with great connectivity to the city.
From the southern end of Princes Bridge, the Southgate Promenade stretches from the Arts Centre all the way down to the Crown Casino. From the promenade you get great views back towards the city, making it a popular photo-snapping spot, especially at night time when the city lights are reflected in the waters of the Yarra. Adding to the stagy atmosphere eight granite towers by the Yarra in front of the Casino spew fire every full hour between 8pm (9pm in winter) and midnight – a spectacle that often catches visitors by surprise.
Along the promenade are countless restaurants, cafés and bars. The food court on the ground floor of the complex has good-value meals if you’re on a budget. On the upper floors are the more exclusive restaurants. Some of them rank amongst Melbourne’s finest places to dine and all offer superb views over the promenade and the city.
Sightseeing cruises along the Yarra depart from Berth 5 in front of Southgate. From here you can also catch a ferry down the river to historic Williamstown.
Behind Southgate is the colossal Eureka tower, Melbourne’s tallest building. For an unparalleled outlook across Melbourne and beyond take the elevator up to the 88th floor: The Eureka Skydeck.
The pedestrian Sandridge Bridge connects Southbank with Flinders Street Station and the city centre. The large steel sculptures on the bridge are called The Travellers. They represent the waves of immigrants that first arrived at Port Melbourne and helped to establish the metropolis that is Melbourne today.
On the Western end of Southbank sits the impressive Crown Casino. Apart from its giant gaming area, the complex is also home to nightclubs, world-class restaurants, cinemas and shops, including big brands such as Prada and Versace.
Further south along St Kilda Road is the impressive National Gallery of Victoria (more locally known as the NGV), Australia’s oldest public art gallery featuring an extensive collection from Europe, Asia, America and Oceania as well as world famous exhibitions and events throughout the year.
The award-winning, hyper-modern buildings of the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) are located south of Southbank Boulevard and form part of the Southbank Cultural Precinct.