17 of the most Instagrammable spots in Melbourne

Timber footings of disused Port Melbourne pier

Tianna Nadalin

Posted November 04, 2022

Get your camera ready. From graffitied laneways and heritage rollercoasters to rooftop bars and half-built piers, these are 17 of Melbourne's most photogenic locations.

Melbourne is not only one of the world’s most liveable cities, it’s also one of the most photogenic. Walk a few metres in any direction and you're practically guaranteed to stumble across a snap-worthy laneway, vintage arcade or heritage building sandwiched between modern skyscrapers.

It’s a city of juxtapositions, where classic and contemporary, hipster and mainstream, past and present have been woven into an ebullient cultural tapestry that brings Melbourne to life.

From Degraves Street to Princes Pier, Federation Square to the State Library, the city that was almost Batmania is a beguiling labyrinth of lens-worthy lures that offer style and substance.

If you’re looking to up your social ante, or you just want to dive into the vibrant history of Melbourne, these are 17 of the most impressive – and Intagrammable – places to see in Melbourne. And, if you're exploring on foot or taking public transport, download the free arevo app to help you get there.

Most Instagram-worthy spots in Melbourne

Princes Pier

This eerily pretty Port Melbourne pier was built in 1915 and, until 1969, was a major arrival point for new migrants. It was originally known as the New Railway Pier, until being renamed Princes Pier after a visit from Edward VIII – then Prince of Wales – in 1920. The 580-metre driftwood dock, now a collection of picturesque stumps, is part pier, part open-air museum and is at its most stunning at sunrise or sunset.

Luna Park. Image: Getty.
Royal Arcade
The Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria.
Royal Botanic Gardens

Luna Park

If there is any place that is part of the fabric of Melbourne’s cultural DNA, it’s Luna Park. Who hasn’t taken a photo in front of its flamboyant, gaping entrance? The popular amusement park opened its, er, mouth in 1912 and has been operating almost continuously ever since. While many rides have come and gone over its 100-year history, one has remained through all the ups and downs – the Great Scenic Railway. This heritage-listed rollercoaster, which dips and dives around the perimeter of the park, is the oldest continually running wooden rollercoaster in the world. Plus, RACV members save on tickets to Luna Park.

La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library

Forget books, people are flocking to the State Library of Victoria for a photo of its iconic, domed reading room. The State Library, which opened in 1854, is Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world. Though its collection spans more than two million books and 350,000 photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts, the striking La Trobe Reading Room, which reopened in 2003 after a four-year refurbishment, claims more than its share of attention.

Royal Arcade

Wandering through Royal Arcade is like taking a time machine back to the 1920s. Chequered corridors slink past brightly lit boutiques selling vintage wares, while mythical creatures Gog and Magog help busy shoppers keep track of time, striking Gaunt’s Clock on the hour every hour since 1892. This ornate, heritage-listed arcade in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD opened in 1870 and is the longest-standing arcade in Australia. It was designed by English architect Charles Webb, whose other masterpieces include Melbourne Grammar School, Tasma Terrace in East Melbourne, and the renowned Windsor Hotel.

Royal Botanic Gardens

This is the ultimate urban oasis. The Royal Botanic Gardens, founded in 1846, is a green wedge that spans 36 perfectly manicured hectares and showcases nearly 50,000 individual plants. Meander through lush rainforests, discover a cactus wonderland, enjoy a picnic by the lake or bring your binoculars and do some bird watching. Or, if a leisurely stroll is more your style, the perennially popular Tan Track is a 3.8-kilometre walk around the gardens’ perimeter. With endless flora and fauna, as well as sweeping views over the city’s skyline, there will be no filters needed when you whip out your camera at this picture-perfect spot.


Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance is a five-minute tram ride away from the CBD.

Shrine of Remembrance

This majestic monument was built in 1934 as a tribute to lives lost in World War I, but now serves as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It was designed by architects and World War I veterans Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, and inspired by the Parthenon and the Tomb of Mausolus in Greece. The avenue of cypress trees – many bearing commemorative plaques – is a popular spot for photo takers. Inside, you can wander through the santcuary, crypts and even galleries, or take in the views of the lush memorial gardens from the balcony. RACV members receive discounts on guided tours.

Degraves Street and Centre Way

Melbourne has become known for its bustling sidewalks, but it was Degraves Street that really cemented the city’s laneway love affair. Enter via Flinders Street and you’ll find yourself meandering through a maze of laneways cafes, coffee shops and boutiques. Tourists sit at sidewalk tables sipping their morning coffees, while suit-clad city slickers dart easily through the crowds. Cross over Flinders Lane and you’ll find yourself in the even narrower Centre Way, which links up with Collins Street via Centreway Arcade. You can even join a walking tour and step your way through some of the city's hidden attractions.

Brighton Bathing Boxes

It wouldn't be a guide to Melbourne's most 'grammable locations without a nod to one of the state's top-snapped coastal locales. Brighton's iconic bathing boxes have long appeared on postcards and calendars, but, these days, they're taking over social media, too. The colourful attraction includes a row of 82 brightly coloured beach huts that stretch along Brighton's idyllic Dendy Street Beach foreshore.

Queen Victoria Market

This is the longest-running and most intact 19th-century market in Victoria. And, being set over seven hectares, it is also the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. The Queen Victoria Market was established in the 1860s and has cemented itself as one of the city’s must-see, snap or eat-your-way-around attractions. Plus, the skyline setting makes for the ideal photo backdrop. Hello, hot jam doughnuts.


National Gallery of Victoria. Photo: Visit Victoria.
Hosier Lane. Photo: Visit Victoria.
Melbourne city skyline from Williamstown Marina. Photo: Visit Victoria.
View over Melbourne city from Naked for Satan rooftop. Photo: Visit Victoria.

National Gallery of Victoria 

It's not just the water fountains that frame the entrance that have landed this icon on the list of Melbourne's most Instagrammable. The National Gallery of Victoria, or NGV, was founded in 1861, making it Australia's oldest and most-visited museum. The gallery spans two sites, NGV International and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, which house both permanent and rotating collections by some of the world's most prominent artists. For a leafy urban oasis, head to the NGV's backyard, which is adorned with towering Pin Oaks, Ficus and Gleditsia, providing a lush backdrop against the grey walls of the gallery and surrounding city.

Hosier Lane

Melbourne has become synonymous with street art. And what better place to capture it than the city’s world-famous Hosier Lane – the vibrant bluestone thoroughfare that put Melbourne on the map for its urban art scene. It’s painted from wall to pavement and nothing is off the palette, with dumpsters, windows and wheelie bins given the technicolour treatment. Continue paying your hues on Rutledge Lane, another animated alley that horseshoes off Hosier.

Anchorage Marina, Williamstown 

Sick of St Kilda? Escape the crowds and take in sweeping views of the city skyline, punctuated by small boats moored in the harbour, from Williamstown's Anchorage Marina. The marina, with its sea of masts, is reminiscent of an English fishing village. As well as being the start of the Bay Hike, which traverses nearly 13km of coastal landscapes from Williamstown to Altona, history lovers will enjoy being able to explore the retired HMAS Castlemaine, one of sixty Australian Minesweepers built during World War II, which now calls the dock home. 

Naked for Satan Upstairs

Melbournians love a rooftop bar and, from the rooftop at Fitzroy favourite Naked for Satan, you can take in some seriously swoon-worthy views. The vibrant Brunswick Street tapas and vodka den, which is housed in the former Moran and Cato building, is slinging oh-so-sippable cocktails, scrumptious share plates and infused vodkas - a nod to the original caretaker, Leon Satanovich, affectionately nicknamed 'Satan', who began distilling vodka from the building's warehouse during The Depression. Pull up a cafe table on the festoon-lit rooftop and enjoy mouthwatering tapas against a twinkling backdrop of city skyscrapers and sprawling suburban streetscapes.

Outisde Glyn Davis Building

Glyn Davis Building at the University of Melbourne in Parkville.

Glyn Davis Building at the University of Melbourne

It is now the face of the Glyn Davis Building at the University of Melbourne, but this gold rush-era facade, designed by architect Joseph Reed (who we also have to thank for the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Town Hall and State Library), was originally part of the Bank of New South Wales building in Collins Street. After the bank was demolished in 1932, the heritage facade was presented to the University of Melbourne, where it has become a stunning centrepiece for its eco-friendly Melbourne School of Design building. And trust us, the building is just as impressive on the inside.

Coop’s Shot Tower at Melbourne Central

It’s nearly impossible to miss the towering focal point of Melbourne Central. Coop’s Shot Tower, which was erected in 1889, is perhaps most famous for its guest appearance in the opening sequence of Jackie Chan’s 1997 film Mr. Nice Guy and, after being saved from demolition in 1973, has become one of the most photographed buildings in the city. The tower stands 50 metres tall, nine storeys high and has 327 steps to the top and, perhaps most impressively, sits under a conical glass-domed roof. It was decommissioned in 1961 when the demand for lead shot (small pellets made of molten lead which were used as ammunition in shotguns) dwindled.

Southern Cross Station

It’s not the oldest train station in Melbourne but it’s definitely one of the most impressive. It began its life as Batman’s Hill Railway Station in 1859 (there was even a public holiday declared so people could watch the first passenger train depart from its sole platform), before being renamed Spencer Street Station. After a major redevelopment was completed in 2006, the newly minted Southern Cross Station won several awards for its futuristic, architectural design, which includes an undulating, wave-like roof.

Federation Square

It cost $450 million to build but this now-iconic arena takes the cake for being one of Melbourne’s most controversial public spaces – mainly thanks to its angular, geometric design. Since opening in 2002, Federation Square has had more than 100 million visitors and, in the first year of its life, became the most awarded project in the history of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) Victoria, receiving five major awards for architectural and design excellence. It was even ranked sixth in a top-10 list of the world’s best public squares in 2014. Over the last 200 years the site has been home to the city morgue, a fish market, corporate offices and rail yards. These days, with myriad restaurants, bars, galleries and specialty stores, it is well and truly part of the city’s cultural psyche.


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