Southbank is an area located just south of the Melbourne central business district. Historically, it was an industrial area, but Southbank underwent complete redevelopment in the 1990s, and was transformed into prime high rise and office territory. Aside from becoming an important business area, Southbank is also full of culture, restaurants and entertainment.
Shopping and Music
The Crown Complex also has a number of luxury clothing boutiques, from Hugo Boss to Burberry. The real draw of Southbank for shoppers is the Southgate restaurant and shopping precinct located on Southgate Avenue.
Here you can find food courts with casual riverside dining, exclusive restaurants, and a diverse range of shopping options–from designer stores and fashion labels to home and garden gifts.
When you have finished with all of that shopping, it’s time to enjoy some light evening entertainment. There’s no better place for it than the Melbourne Recital Centre, the city’s second largest venue for classical music. The Recital Centre opened in 2009, and is well known for its stunning honeycomb exterior.
Inside, you can find Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, a 1,000-seat auditorium, as well as a 130-seat intimate salon venue. The centre hosts musical events ranging from jazz to rock concerts, so it has something for everyone’s tastes, and with over 450 gigs a year, there’s always entertainment to be found here.
Crown Casino Complex
The Crown Casino is undeniably the main attraction on Southbank, and is a major hotspot for tourists seeking an extravagant and all-inclusive resort experience. It is the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere, occupying two whole city blocks.
Melbourne is also Australia’s poker capital. The Crown Casino hosts multiple international tournaments, including the Aussie Millions and WSOP Asia-Pacific series. Aside from the 50 poker tables, the casino itself has a huge range of games, from roulette and blackjack to baccarat, craps, and other unique table options. It’s the perfect night out for gamers!
However, the Crown is not just a casino. It is an all-in-one entertainment venue featuring luxury accommodations plus a cinema, bowling, spa and health treatments, arcade games, theatre performances and concerts, nightclubs, bars, and 29 restaurants. Dining options are world-class. You can eat the finest seafood in Australia at The Atlantic, or go for an all-American steakhouse dinner at Neil Perry’s Rockpool.
River and Sky
Melbourne is a huge city with sprawling streets full of traffic and busy with people. How do you find respite from this hectic environment? The answer is to take to the rivers or the skies, and as ludicrous as it sounds, you can do both on the Southbank!
The Southbank is bordered by the Yarra River to the north, and with Melbourne River Cruises, you can take a trip on one of their 8 vessels, each equipped to take between 25 and 165 people. Trips head up to the port and docks to the North, towards beautiful gardens in the South, or can be combined. You can also take cruises that include fine dining and onboard entertainment, though if you are traveling Melbourne on a budget there are cheaper options.
To take to the sky, head over to Eureka Tower, the second-tallest building in Australia at nearly 300m. On floor 88 is the aptly named Skydeck 88, the highest observation platform in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you can take in 360-degree views across the whole of Melbourne.
For the more daring, the tower is also home to The Edge–a glass box that allows you to stand over the streets below, bringing terror at the thought of a fall. Then there’s Vertigo, a green-screen experience which makes it feel like you have fallen off the tower and are clinging on for dear life. That’s going to get the adrenaline pumping!
Once you come back down to earth, you will want to cool off and unwind. It’s time to experience a different view from the river, this time from the famous Ponyfish Island. This small floating bar and restaurant serves classic dishes and sharing platters throughout the day, and is the perfect spot to unwind after a hard day shopping and sightseeing. It is here that we end our tour of Southbank, though there’s much more on offer for the adventurous souls who take the time to stroll around.