Ilya Genkin Fine Art Landscape Photography, Travel Photography

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Best Melbourne Sunrise and Sunset Photography Locations


Melbourne and Yarra River at Dawn, Swan Street Bridge, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


Melbourne is a very beautiful and photogenic city. It has been named the world's most liveable city for seven years in a row! While it doesn't have any iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House or the Harbour Bridge it still has plenty of photographic opportunities such as Flinders Street Station, Southbank, St Kilda Pier etc. It's packed with nice photo spots. Many spots can be photographed at sunrise, daytime and sunset changing it's appearance dramatically. Another good thing about Melbourne is that everything is so close there so you can walk from one spot to another. As usually all these places and lookouts are easily accessible by foot, public transport or by taxi/car. I also provided links to Google Maps and The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE).

Location 1: Crown Casino on the Yarra

Crown Casino at Sunset, Enterprize Wharf, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Crown Casino at Sunset, Enterprize Wharf, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


There are two classical spots for photographing Crown Casino on the Yarra. The first one is Enterprize Wharf and the second is from the Spencer Street Bridge. The best time to photograph is around sunset, up to 1 hour after sunset. It's especially beautiful when The Gas Brigades, also called Fireballs, are on display and the sky is not completely dark.

The Gas Brigades is a show on the banks of the Yarra River outside the Crown Casino on the Southbank. Computer controlled fireballs are released from eight ten meters high towers at night time. The Fire display timing at the Casino Melbourne display occurs every hour right on the hour from Monday to Friday starting at 9:00 pm till Midnight. On Saturday and Sunday the fire display starts from 8:00 pm till Midnight. Please note that the Gas Brigade operation is subject to weather conditions on the day and during summer time if there is a Total Fire Ban declarations, the show will not take place. Display times are subject to seasonal changes.

Crown Casino at Sunset, Spencer Street Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Crown Casino at Sunset, Spencer Street Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Easy and close walk from all public transport. Paid parking is usually available on the streets nearby. If you want to shoot from both location during the same sunset then it's recommnded to start at Spencer Street Bridge and move to Enterprize Wharf later. This will give you nice dark, but not black skies. You need wide-angle lens for these locations.

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Crown Casino from Enterprize Wharf on maps:
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Location 2: Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station after Sunset, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Flinders Street Station after Sunset, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Before Federation Square took the honours, Flinders Street Station was Melbourne's favourite meeting place, hence the catchphrase 'meet me under the clocks'. Flinders Street Station is Australia's oldest train station, and with its distinctive yellow facade and green copper dome it's a city icon. Takeaway stands line the concourse, and the upper floors were purpose-built to house a library, gym and a lecture hall, later used as a ballroom. Flinders Street is the busiest suburban railway station in the southern hemisphere, with over 1500 trains and 110,000 commuters passing through each day. Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, its 708-metre main platform is the fourth longest railway platform in the world.

An ideal vantage spot is diagonally across the intersection of Swanston and Finders Streets, outside St Paul's Cathedral. This location allows you to capture the stations iconic entrance and will also provides views down Flinders Street towards the stations clock tower at Elizabeth Street.

The best time to photograph Flinders Street Station is around sunset and up to 30 minutes after sunset when the sky is not very dark. You can combine beautiful sunset sky with traces from car lights and the station is highlighted with golden lights. Sunrise shots can be good as well - especially in Winter when the sun can highlight the facade of the station.

Flinders Street Station is located at the intersection of Finders Street and St Kilda Road. Easy and close walk from all public transport. You will need ultra-wide angle lens for this location as it's very tight - 16mm - 20mm for a full frame camera.

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Location 3: Princes Bridge

Melbourne, Princes Bridge and Flinders Street Station at Sunset, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Princes Bridge and Flinders Street Station at Sunset, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Named in honour of HRH the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, Princes Bridge is dominated by squat half columns, resting on giant piers, contrasting with its delicate iron girder piers. The bridge's decoration, in typical Victorian era style, includes mouldings and balustrades along the top of the bridge and lamp standings crowning the giant half columns, with the coats of arms of the municipal councils who contributed towards the cost of construction decorating the spandrels. The bridge's abutments, piers and wing walls are made of bluestone quarried from Footscray. The present bridge was built in 1888 and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Melbourne, South Bank and Yarra River before Sunrise, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, South Bank and Yarra River before Sunrise, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The Princes Bridge is a great object to photograph and the view from the bridge to Southbank, Melbourne CBD is beautiful. Best time is before sunrise or after sunset when lights from the city and Southbank are on and the sky is a bit dark. When shooting from the bridge try to shoot when where are no trains or heavy vehicles as the bridge tends to shake slightly. You will need wide angle to normal lenses for this location. Parking could be a problem nearby, but plenty of public transport.

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Princes Bridge Location #1 on maps:
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Location 4: Melbourne City, Yarra River and Rainbow Pedestrian Bridge

Melbourne, Rainbow Pedestrian Bridge and Flinders Street Station at Sunset, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Rainbow Pedestrian Bridge and Flinders Street Station at Sunset, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The Yarra has long been dubbed "the river that runs upside down" however it's muddy appearance does not mean that the Yarra is unclean. Today urban renewal along the 1km stretch of the river from the MCG to the Docklands area has returned the Yarra back into a significant and important part of the city's landscape. This location is very close to the previous one and could be photographed on the same day. There are plenty of spots to photograph Melbourne City over the Yarra river between the Princes Bridge and the Queens Bridge.

Melbourne, Rainbow Pedestrian Bridge and Flinders Street Station at Sunrise, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Rainbow Pedestrian Bridge and Flinders Street Station at Sunrise, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Capture the city skyline as it lights up in the evening or explore the footbridges that cross the river. Southbank offers those interested in people and street photography plenty of opportunities with the passing parade of visitors. The many architectural features and public art, also make great subjects. Parking could be a problem nearby, but plenty of public transport. These spots are great for panoramas so you can use any lense from wide angle to normal lens and the stitch panorama. Best times are early morning or early evening while there is still some light in the sky.

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Southbank Yarra River Location #1 on maps:
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Location 5: Melbourne City from Eureka Tower

Melbourne City at Night from Eureka Tower, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne City at Night from Eureka Tower, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The building is named after the 1854 Eureka Stockade, a miner's rebellion, which occurred during the height of Victoria's gold rush era. As reference to this, the gold crown represents the gold rush and the red stripe is representative of the blood spilt during the rebellion. Possibly more obvious are the white horizontal lines depicting the markings on a surveyor measuring staff. The Skydeck located on the 88th floor offers views of Melbourne and beyond.

The Eureka Skydeck opens daily from 10am till 10pm, last entry at 9:30pm. Adult ticket is $23.00. Please note - usually there is a line so arrive well in advance if you want to shoot sunset. Shooting through the glass could be an issue so have some dark fabric or jacket to block light from lamps abouve and below. You will need wide range of lenses from wide angle to medium telephoto. Tropod is highly recommended.

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Location 6: St Kilda Pier

St Kilda Pavilion at Sunrise, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

St Kilda Pavilion at Sunrise, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


St Kilda Pier offers superb views of Port Philip Bay and the Melbourne skyline and it's a very popular location for tourists looking to enjoy St Kilda Beach and watch local colony of penguins at dusk. At the end of the pier is the historic kiosk and breakwater and if you look closely penguins can be found nesting amongst the rocks. Due to popularity of this place it's always busy, especially on weekends. If you love shooting facing the sun, than sunset is the best time. However sunrise is probably the best time there for a few reasons - less people, the kiosk is highlighted with warm light.

The foreshore provides vantage points from either side of the pier down towards the kiosk. Walking down the pier, you'll find a couple of shelters, which offer some great opportunities to frame your shots in interesting ways. At the end of the pier is the kiosk, which is lit until after closing time.

Melbourne from St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne from St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


How to get here: Trams 3/3a, 16 and 96; Bus 606. There are plenty of street parking nearby. It could be really windy so sturdy tripod is recommended. It's also very useful if you want to use neutral density filter to capture a photo with long exposure and blur people. You will need a wide range of lenses from wide angle if you want to shoot close to telephoto lenses if you want to capture Melbourne City in the distance.

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Location 7: Princess Pier, Port Melbourne

Sunrise at Princes Pier, Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sunrise at Princes Pier, Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Princes Pier is a 580 metre long historic pier on Port Phillip, in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was known as the New Railway Pier until renamed Prince's Pier after the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) who visited Melbourne in May 1920. It was opened in 1915 and was able to accommodate the largest of steamers and mail ships. New Railway Pier was renamed Princes Pier in 1921 following the arrival in 1920 of the HMS Renown carrying H.R.H. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales. Over many decades, this pier has played a critical role in commerce, wartime embarkation and migration. With the advent of modern commercial air travel, arrivals to Princes Pier gradually declined from the 1970s. Closed in 1989, Princes Pier has been disused until its recent refurbishment. The redeveloped Princes Pier was launched as a public space in December 2011.

It is a very popular spot for long exposure photography. Old wooden pillars make a great composition. Don't give up on a cloudy day as, by experience, you can achieve great results. How to get here: Buses 236, 234, Tram 109. Parking nearby could be a problem. Try to park a bit further and then walk. You will need a wide angle and ultra-wide angle lenses there.

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Location 8: Batman Ave Overpass and William Barak Bridge

Melbourne City at Sunrise, Batman Avenue, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne City at Sunrise, Batman Avenue, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


This two spots are very close to each other and provide very similar yet different views. Both these spots are great for the light trails - one from cars and another one from trains/metro. Both these spots are great at sunrise and sunset. Bridges could be shaky when there are lots of people or cyclists there. You will need relatively wide angle lens for these locations. Batman Avenue is named after one of the founders of Melbourne, John Batman.

Melbourne City at Sunrise, William Barak Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne City at Sunrise, William Barak Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


William Barak Bridge is stretching from Birrarung Marr to the MCG, improving the link between some of Melbourne's biggest sports and entertainment venues and the heart of the CBD. It's named after the last traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the Wurundjeri-willam clan, first inhabitants of present-day Melbourne, Australia.

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Location 9: Alexandra Ave / Olympic Blvd Bridge

Melbourne and Yarra River at Dawn, Alexandra Ave / Olympic Blvd Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne and Yarra River at Dawn, Alexandra Ave / Olympic Blvd Bridge, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Located only a short walk from Flinders Street Station, the Bridge is located between Alexandra Ave and Olympic Blvd as it crosses the Yarra River. The bridge provides an iconic panoramic view up the Yarra River with the city buildings making a nice backdrop. It's a nice sunrise and sunset spot. In the morning you will have rowers going up and down the Yarra River. You will need a relatively wide angle lens for this spot. There is no public transport nearby so you need to walk from the Flinders Street Station or other public transport stops. There are plenty of parking along Alexandra Ave.

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Location 10: Brighton Beach Boxes

Brighton Beach Boxes, Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Brighton Beach Boxes, Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The 82 bathing boxes that remain on the Dendy Street beach (AKA Brighton Beach) are not only a reminder of Victorian-era morality but represent some of the most expensive real estate in Victoria. Whilst there are other examples of bathing boxes around the bay the Brighton Bathing boxes remain unique because of their consistent proportions. While the colours and designs reflect the individual tastes of their owners, when viewed together they create a work of art on the beach that is ever changing with the light.

Individually and collectively the boxes make great photographic subjects. Experiment with close up and abstract compositions. It's full of different angles and opportunities to get unique images. Photographing the boxes from behind will place the bay in the background and try and avoid the harsh midday light. This is a popular location for wedding photography year round.

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Ratings
RatingScenic Value
Of no particular interest
Mildly interesting, visit if nearby and/or time permitting
Scenic location, worthy of a visit
Very interesting, scenic or original location
Remarkably scenic or rewarding location, a highlight
Word-class location, absolutely tops
  
RatingPhotographic Interest
Of no particular photographic interest
Worth of quick photo
Good photo opportunity
Good photographic potential and scenic subjects
Outstanding photographic potential, highly original or scenic subject
Worls-class photographic location, "photographer's dream"
  
RatingRoad Difficulty
Paved road, accessible to all normal-size vehicles
Dirt road accessible without difficulty by a passenger car (under normal conditions)
Minor obstacles, accessible by passenger car with caution (under good conditions)
High-clearance required, but no major difficulty
High-clearance 4WD required, some obstacles, no real danger
High-clearance 4WD required, some risk to vehicle & passenges, experienced drivers only
  
RatingTrail Difficulty
No or very little walking (close to parking area)
Easy short walk (<= 1h r/t), for everybody
Moderate hike (1 to 3hr r/t) with no major difficulty or short hike with some minor difficulties
Moderate to strenuous (3 to 6hr r/t) and/or difficulties (evevation gain, difficult terrain, some risks)
Strenuous (>6h r/t) and/or globally difficult (evevation gain, difficult off-terrain, obstacles, risks)
Backpacking required or for extremely fit dayhikers
  

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