Docklands, Melbourne - 2020 (Photos & Reviews)

About Docklands

Docklands Melbourne is a suburb located in the inner-western side of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is about 2 km (1.2 miles) from Melbourne's CBD or Central Business District. Taking into account all the land and water that makes up Docklands, the entire area adds up to around 200 hectares.

It is a waterfront area bounded to the west by CityLink, on the east by the Wurundjeri Way and the Charles Grimes Bridge while Lorimer Street across the Yarra river lines up its south.
The west of Melbourne initially used to be a forest swamp and by the 1880s parts of it began to be utilized massively as an address for a dock accompanied by a vast network of wharfs, railways and small industries.

Later following the introduction of containerisation of shipping traffic the dock started losing its importance and was virtually abandoned in the 1990s. An underground rave dance scene, which generally involves parties surrounding performances by DJs, also started to gain popularity in Docklands by the 1990s.

Today's Docklands is the shelter of Melbourne’s many tourist attractions including the striking Melbourne Star Observation wheel and the Docklands football Stadium. Other recommended options are the beautiful sunset, the urban arts and the cafes and restaurants facing the Yarra.

The west of Melbourne initially used to be a forest swamp and by the 1880s parts of it began to be utilized massively as an address for a dock accompanied by a vast network of wharfs, railways and small industries.

Later following the introduction of containerisation of shipping traffic the dock started losing its importance and was virtually abandoned in the 1990s. An underground rave dance scene, which generally involves parties surrounding performances by DJs, also started to gain popularity in Docklands by the 1990s.

How to Reach Docklands

By Bus: Take a Skybus from Melbourne Airport T1 to 454 Docklands Dr. It is a 21-minute (21.5 km) ride costing around 18 australian dollars and is available once every hour. 

By Taxi:
You may also take a Taxi ride, from Melbourne Airport (MEL) to Docklands, for roughly 17 minutes (21.7 km) costing somewhere between 43 and 51 australian dollars.

By Shuttle:
Shuttle services can be availed as well within a range of 15 to 123 australian dollars depending on demand of service.

By Uber:
An Uber ride (17 minutes) will cost somewhere around 41 and 47 australian dollars.

Best Time to Visit Docklands

In terms of weather, the best time to visit Docklands is between January 29th to May 6th and September 17th to December 2nd based on humidity and temperature data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

During January the average temperature is around 22 degrees (celsius) which gradually drops to 14 by the beginning of May. Following May the weather only gets colder, making it a little unpleasant for tourists.

The temperature starts to rise again from mid September until late December. If you are looking for some bright sunny skies at Docklands with no sign of rain, January, March and February are the driest months in decreasing order. 

Docklands is at its busiest in the months of January, July and March making hotels and flights more expensive than usual. May is the least crowded and hence the least expensive month of the year.

What Not to Miss at Docklands

The following is an ordered list of the various activities you can try out in a single day at Docklands.

1. Check out Urban Art Sculptures:
Docklands is an open-to-all urban art gallery that does not charge an entry fee but demands a will to discover the many sculptures, present almost everywhere, depicting modern contemporary art. Top mentions include ‘Cow Up A Tree’ signifying the Australian floods and ‘Continuum’ indicating the birth and growth of Docklands.

2. Walk the Webb and Jim Stynes Bridge:
Done with the urban art sculptures? The artistic side of Docklands is not over though with just that. Lying between the north and south banks of the Yarra River, the Webb Bridge connects Docklands to South Wharf and at the same time also highlights designs inspired by aboriginal fishing traps, fishing baskets, and drums. The Jim Stynes Bridge too features a striking display of architecture.

3. Grab a nice read at the Library:
The view of the Yarra river, a parkland on the other side, a cafe in the middle of the ground floor serving great coffee, renowned imperishable design and architecture and lastly a good read makes the ‘Library at the Dock’ an unavoidable visit for bookworms.

4. Shopping:
Stroll and shop down the diverse stores and markets within the suburb that promise to satisfy the taste of almost every kind of buyer. Popular names include the Factory Outlet, the Sunday Market and the markets of Harbour Town although every shop in Docklands will guarantee you your desired value and quality of products.

5. Dine at the Waterfront:
Luxurious restaurants to pretty cafes, Docklands has it all covered with options like the Italian Watermark Docklands or the Hortus x 7 Seeds cafe that offer great cuisines complemented by the wondrous view of the sunset and the riverbanks of Yarra.

6. Sunset at Central Pier:
The Central Pier in Docklands is popular with tourists gathering to catch a glance of the orange sunset meeting the shimmering water of the river which at dusk is also populated with migrating jellyfish, making the entire scene a sight worth capturing at least once if you ever visit Docklands.

7. Cruise the Yarra River:
Choose between a vintage tour on the Melbourne Tramboat or a more refined experience on the Melbourne Showboat. Once you are done with that, you will get to decide your theme among options ranging from burlesque to even Japanese. But no matter what choice you end up with, a cruise down the Yarra river will for sure earn you an experience of a lifetime.

8. Ride the Melbourne Star:
Located in the Waterfront City section of Docklands, Melbourne Star is an observation wheel that is lit up colourfully every night illuminating the star shaped structure in the middle while giving the people on board a beautiful 360-degree view of the entire city of Melbourne.

9. Party at Alumbra:
Open until 2 in the morning, Alumbra is a bar cum club that hosts frequent concerts involving soul music or parties for people to dance their night away. It also includes New York City style BBQs served by award-winning chefs, making this place the perfect venue for both food and casual knees-ups.

Other Essential Information About Docklands

1. Location:
Docklands is located at a distance of 2 km (1.2 miles) from the Melbourne CBD (Central Business District). It is an inner-western suburb in the city of Melbourne.

2. Entry fee:
There is no such entry fee for visiting Docklands. The entire area is open to the public, both tourists and locals alike. However, if you want to enjoy an uninterrupted 360-degree view of Docklands from the 120 metres tall Melbourne Star, you will have to buy a ticket for $36 to $46 ($22 to $32 for children) depending on the type of flight.

3. Distance from Melbourne Airport:
The separation is 18 km while the distance by road is 21.7 km.

Bars in Dockland

Docklands is full of several beer parlours worth checking in at least once during your visit and mentioned below are only a popular few.

1. Platform 28:
It is a two-story, initially a railway goods warehouse, bar cum restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor seating for casual dining and drinking. It contains a pretty relaxed ambience surrounding a vast collection of beer and wine.

2. The Woolshed Pub:
It is a restaurant cum bar serving gastro pub style tastes within a warm family atmosphere. You can book it for a private party facing the beautiful views of the Dockland or grab a meal on its external balcony, fireside rooms as well as the waterfront rooms.

3. Alumbra:
Located on Victoria Pier, this bar plus club organises a live band performance every Sunday guaranteeing a chilled weekend experience alongside some BBQ street food in New York City style from chef Daniel Wilson. It is a popular place for evening hangouts and also comes with a nightclub. There is also an option for a VIP menu served by a personal hostess, but only if you book early.

4. Renzo's Bar:
Standing right in the heart of Docklands, this Italian bar, cafe cum restaurant is known for its friendly atmosphere surrounding the cocktails and the appetizing Italian cuisine.

5. Watermark Docklands:
Other than boasting about its deluxe decor and Italian hospitality the Watermark also serves a wide selection of beer and wine.

History of Docklands and Docklands Rave history

Docklands formerly used to be a wetlands area before the city of Melbourne was founded. It was mostly comprised of a large salt lake and a giant swamp also called the West Melbourne Swamp, at the opening of the Moonee Ponds Creek. The Wurundjeri people who used the land as one of their open hunting grounds also created middens surrounding the edges of the lake.

Once Melbourne started to form up, John Batman placed the foundations of his new residence on Batman's Hill at Docklands which used to lie on the westernmost side of the settlement. Other than that, the remaining part of the land stayed largely unused till decades.

The 1860s witnessed the introduction of railways that gradually resulted in an industrial development of the area. A new Victoria Dock was constructed in the 1880s as a part of a major engineering feat that also widened and changed the course of the Yarra river. The Dock was also used as the main naval port in times of war, making it the busiest in Melbourne by the 1920s. For a long time the place remained untouched by any form of urban settlement. In 1989, for the first time, several architectural firms were tasked with the job of deciding how to make public use of the land.

Docklands kept evolving in the following years and in late 1996 a plan for the construction of a private football stadium was also announced. The City of Melbourne Local Government Authority finally declared Docklands as a part of it on the 1st of July 2007.

The early 1980s also saw the birth of the gay and lesbian warehouse party scene which ultimately inspired the underground rave dance scene of Docklands in the 1990s. It usually involved parties in nightclubs and warehouses with people dancing to the tunes of electronic music played by DJs. The culture continued to flourish through events like New Year's Eve, Winter Daze and Resurrection dance parties.

Tips for Docklands Melbourne

Keep the following in mind while you are in Docklands.

1. There is no entry fee for visiting Docklands but for getting on the Melbourne Star you will have to purchase tickets starting at $36 ($22 for children).

2. If you are in or around Docklands near evening do not miss a chance to catch the beautiful sunset from Central Pier.

3. If you are still in Docklands after dusk and wish not to call it a day yet, try checking out Alumbra, the most popular nightclub in the area, for some New York style food and a band performance every Sunday.

4. The best time to visit Docklands is at night for the stunning fireworks and the illuminated Melbourne Star.

Newly Added Melbourne Experience

Trending in Melbourne

Recommendations for Melbourne

Melbourne Tours Explore All (64)
Explore All (64)
Things to do in Melbourne Explore All (30)
Explore All (30)

Melbourne Top Attractions

Places To Visit In Melbourne

Popular Related Destinations

People Also Ask About Docklands

  1. Where should I stay in Melbourne?

    Some of the best neighbourhoods include Richmond (hip suburb close to city), Prahran and Windsor (many bars and restaurants), The CBD (Central Business District), Hawthorn (great for experiencing the local lifestyle), St Kilda (close to beaches), Collingwood (inner suburb with great cafes), Fitzroy (excellent for boutique shopping or a night out) and Brunswick (famous for its urban art but is a dirty neighbourhood).
  2. What time are the fireworks at Docklands?

    You will get to see the fireworks every Friday during July and August at 7 PM in the evening that last for about 10 minutes.
  3. What is Docklands in Melbourne?

    Docklands is an inner-western suburb or one may also say a modern harbour development of Melbourne, Victoria, which is popular for its waterside dining and shopping amidst other attractions like its high-rises and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel.

Popular Nearby Places Around Melbourne