Melbourne | Australia

Golden hour peaks in the morning over the Shrine of Remembrance.

Melbourne is the capital city of the state of Victoria in Australia. It is the second most populated city in Australia following Sydney.

Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9993km square, comprising of a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities.

The city occupies most of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the Hinterland towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley.

Melbourne was the original capital city of Australia (1901 – 1927). It was eventually given to present capital, Canberra.

Melbourne inhabitants are commonly referred to as ‘Melburnians’.

Melbourne CBD

Melbourne has a beautiful skyline that allows for the Yarra River to be on the foreground and led by a series of bridges. 

The composition above can be found at at a location called Hamer Hall on the Southbank side of the city. The easiest way to arrive to this location would be to walk from Flinders Street Station. This composition lends itself to both early sunrise and late sunset times. 

In the morning the sun will be on the camera right side and opposite for the later part of the day.

Around there CBD area there are lot of other interesting photographic locations, below are just a handful that can be found.

Flinders Street Station - Melbourne CBD

Flinders Street during evening blue hour
Flinders Street during evening blue hour

Opened in 1854 Flinders Street Station has been  in considered Melbourne’s most iconic Landmark. In 1926 it was considered the world’s most busiest passenger station, surpassing Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris, Grand Central Station in New York and Liverpool Street Station in London.

This mustard gold building dates back to 1910. In 2015, it was announced that the grand old building would undergo a $100 000 000 refurbishment.

The building is typically photographed from cross the Swanston and Flinders Street traffic light towards its corner facade. 

You can get a lot of different type of compositions of this building as it lends itself to be the main station for the CBD area. 

Having a 6 Stop ND filter allow me to slow the shutter speed into the seconds, thus it will render fast moving cars during the day as invisible and it allows for movement in the clouds
Having a 6 Stop ND filter allow me to slow the shutter speed into the seconds, thus it will render fast moving cars during the day as invisible and it allows for movement in the clouds

Clarion Suites Gateway - Melbourne CBD

The Balcony View from Clarion Suites Gateway Melbourne

Elaine and I stayed at the Clarion Suites Gateway on William Street for 3 nights. The room had a private balcony that overlooked the cityscape of Southbank. The balcony was a bit tight, but I was able to setup up my tripod on a stable surface.

Having a private balcony allows me the option to compose my image and set the camera on interval shooting. Having a secondary tripod is a good idea, so you can have 2 opportunity to capture any good light that is available. 

My primary setup for cityscape is using my Canon 5D4, my 24mm tilt shift lens, remote release and on a tripod.

Southbank Towers during a early blue hour.
Southbank Towers during a early blue hour.

Brighton bathing Houses - Brighton Beach

Along Brighton Beach you can come across 82 colourful bath houses with their own unique character. Started in the 1900s they provide a photo opportunity that overlooks the cityscape in the background.

The photograph above I used a series of vertical images with the Canon 135 F2 lens. I had to walk a fair way back to include all 82 houses. Since shooting, I did see some more houses being constructed.

Coming here during sunset will allow you to have the sun on the left side, which can light the facades of the houses.

Be mindful this is a popular tourist destination and so it will be challenging to get images with minimal people in the shot. Waiting for the sun to go down and combination of long exposures can help lower the numbers.

To get here I caught a train from Flinders Street Station to Sandringham. (23 minutes). You can either walk the 1.5km to the location or use Uber. I walked for the arrival but once it was dark I used Uber back to the train station.

St Kilda Pier - St Kilda Beach

St Kilda Pier shot with a long 10 stop ND filter for long exposure effect. Used a 10Stop Kase 100mm square filter

Another photogenic beach location is over at St Kilda Beach. Here there is a long Pier and beach station that has its back towards the setting sun.

This area can become quite windy, and this can be used to an advantage for long exposures. 

For this session I had to photograph the pier whilst on the pier, I have seen better compositinos from the leftward rocks – however that area was fenced off for this particular day.

Apparently this location can attract local penguins in the evening.

You can come to this location by catching the tram from the city. Note that this area is outside of the free tram network.

Wooden Pillars at Princes Pier

Long exposure of the wooden pillars at Princes Pier during sunrise.
Long exposure of the wooden pillars at Princes Pier during sunrise.

The wooden pillars at Princes pier is another photographically interesting location just outside of Melbourne CBD. The vantage point is southward facing so this location can be photographed either during sunrise or sunset. As I was photographing the picture there was a cruise ship that was about to deport.

This vantage point is accessible 24 hours and is unrestricted. It was only a 10 minute Uber ride from my Southbank hotel, (Not the Clarion Suites Hotel).

the Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks formed by erosion.

If you are staying more than a couple of days in Melbourne, it is worthwhile taking a day trip along the Great Ocean Road.

The most popular attraction is the Twelve Apostles with is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.

In order to visit we booked a day tour that set off from St Pauls Church (Opposite Flinders Street Station) in the morning and arrived later in the night.

We went during February which is when Victoria operates under a Daylight saving time scheme. This made the sunset time around 9pm in evening. 


Tips for Traveling to Melbourne

1: Pack for all 4 season: Melbourne is notoriously known to be able to experience all 4 weather conditions in a single day. (Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry).

2: Purchase a Myki Public Transport card as soon as you can.

3: Learn the free-zone for the Trams in the CBD area and take advantage of them.

4: Melbourne is the only real city in Australia, that you can have a good selection of foods late in the night, past 8pm, Ideal for those with the mid-night munchies.

5: Melbourne has the cheapest eat outs in the city area, compared to all others in the country.

6: If you love coffee, you’ll love Melbourne.

7: Despite being the home state of Australian Surf brand Rip Curl and Victoria.. Melbourne itself is not a surfing city. If you’re a surfer and just visiting Melbourne city, leave the surf board at home.


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