Best places to watch a beautiful sunset in Melbourne

It’s not uncommon to hear that Melbourne, a city in Australia’s southeast, has the most European vibe of all the places in the land down under. Despite that, Melbourne is one of a kind and knows how to surprise visitors with well-hidden gems scattered throughout the city that’s home to more than 5 million people. With so much to discover – from street art and subculture trends to the phenomenal coffee and food scene – you’ll also be pleased to know that there’s not a lack of great places where you can watch the sun dip below the horizon after an exciting day. Take a look at our Melbourne travel guide or keep on reading to discover the best places to watch the sunset in Melbourne!

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Melbourne | Photo: Wolf Zimmermann

1. St Kilda Pier

A Melburnian favourite, St Kilda Pier is among the best sunset spots in the city and has been for well over a century. Not only is it great for a range of activities like cycling, rollerblading, and even fishing, but it’s also a top location for watching the sunset over Port Phillip Bay and a parade of the famous little penguins – the isolation of the breakwater is the ideal place for them to live. St Kilda Pier dates back to the mid-19th century. Since then, it’s been a pedestrian pier due to its excellent promenade and stunning waterfront and city views. The pier’s crown jewel is its historic pavilion, which was first built in the early 20th century but got destroyed in 2003. It took only three years to rebuild the pavilion due to popular demand for its restoration, and to this day, it provides a gorgeous backdrop for romantic sunset photos – a sight much like from the movies! Once here, make sure to watch the little penguin parade at twilight, when the penguin colony can be seen waddling home.

St Kilda Pier | Photo: Flynn Edwards

Photo: Stefan Stefancik

2. Vue de Monde

High above the Melbourne city skyline, you can experience the most breathtaking sunset views and a fine dining experience unlike any other at Vue de Monde restaurant. Since 2011 the restaurant has been located on the 55th floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building, with sweeping views of the cityscape. While some restaurants in similar locations only rely on their prime backdrop, Vue de Monde delivers a well-rounded experience that includes more than just the views and the food. The architects of Elenberg Fraser purposefully designed the space to reflect the Australian landscape. You’ll see this in the kangaroo fur chairs, the black basalt bar top, and other elements throughout the interior. Food truly is one of the best ways to experience any new destination you travel to, and Vue de Mond invites you to explore the Australian flare with native ingredients and home-grown produce transformed into thoughtfully considered dishes committed to seasonality and locality. To experience this, make sure to book in advance as reservations are essential – you can make reservations on the first day of each month for the following three months ahead.

3. The Boatbuilders Yard

Located on Melbourne’s South Wharf, The Boatbuilders Yard is a revamped trendy boatshed bar and cafe with an outdoor wooden deck – the ideal spot for a meal and some drinks with luscious sunset views. This heritage cargo shed was once the bustling hub of ship repair activity and much like the rest of the South Wharf, now enjoys a new breath of air. The central riverside location is busy with a lively and welcoming atmosphere, where you’re guaranteed to feel right at home. Sip on a bevvy on the deck and watch the sky turn various shades of pink and orange before the dazzling lights of the South Wharf promenade turn on for the night. Before or after catching the last rays of the sun at The Boatbuilders Yard, why not explore some of the foodie trails on the South Wharf, visit the Polly Woodside three-masted cargo ship or the various nearby shopping options?

The Boatbuilders Yard | Photo: Enguerrand Blanchy

4. Royal Park

In Melbourne, you don’t have to go far to surround yourself with nature. The city’s largest inner-city park lies within close proximity to Melbourne’s CBD or central business district and gives you the opportunity to relax and unwind by enjoying one of the many walking or cycling paths on the parkland – a peaceful oasis within the city. Grab a blanket and some snacks, and enjoy the vast sunset-filled landscape with the towering blocks of the Melbourne CBD in the background. In fact, there are picnic and barbecue facilities for enjoying an outdoor meal. The best spots for watching the sun go down are on the grassy hill that gives you the best view of the cityscape. This is also a wonderful place to watch the doggos as the park has an off-leash area for the four-legged friends to run and play on. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life – the 170-hectare park is big enough to get away from noise and traffic.

Photo: Will Li

5. Rooftop Bar at Curtin House

If the weather permits, visiting at least one rooftop bar is a must-have experience in any city you travel to. In Melbourne, it’s the Rooftop Bar at Curtin House, which has been welcoming guests from far and wide since 2003. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and the surrounding skyscrapers dazzle in the evening light. On a warm summer night, you might catch a screening of an indie film in the rooftop cinema while lounging on the candy-striped deckchairs or dance the night away on a Friday night. The best part? Unlike some other rooftop bars that only serve drinks and snacks, at the Rooftop Bar, you can enjoy some delicious bar grub at the Burger Shack before or after watching the sunset. How about a delicious burger served with hurricane fries (sweet potato fries topped with tonkatsu sauce, kewpie mayo, furikake and bonito flakes)? Note that this place takes walk-ins only, so make sure to get there in time if you want to catch the best sunset views.

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Enjoy the peaceful seaside by watching boats go by and people fish

Photo: Shane Duggan

6. Eureka Skydeck 88

By this point, it’s already clear that Melbourne doesn’t lack places where you can watch the setting sun on ground level, but the experience of taking in sunset views with the city by your feet is on another level. Eureka Skydeck 88 is by far one of the dreamiest locations for watching the sun set and seeing how the golden colours of the horizon start to blend with the streetlights below. The highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere offers a unique vantage point for visitors to explore the city from a dizzying height. You’ll get a 360-degree view of Melbourne skyline to fully soak in every corner of the city. The best part? Eureka Skydeck 88 offers various experiences. For example, The Edge invites you to test your own adventure-seeking boundaries as you step into a transparent glass cube extending from the building with the city below your feet. Or head to Voyager™ Theatre, the first of its kind on the continent and the largest in the world, to experience the city in an immersive 360-degree cinematic and sensory voyage. You’ll learn more about Melbourne’s festivals, laneways, the Yarra River, and Victoria’s stunning scenery in Super 8K high definition with 6D sensations. After all this, head to Bar 88 for an elevated drinks experience and toast the epic day!

Photo: Krista Purmale

7. Flagstaff Gardens

Imagine an evening stroll through one of the oldest parks in Melbourne during the golden hour as the rays of the setting sun paint the landscape in the most beautiful colours. Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens is a public garden on a prime hilltop location between the East End and Docklands. Once enjoying views of Port Phillip Bay, this natural oasis in the heart of the city is now surrounded by tall buildings and bustling city life. It’s an ideal place for a weekend afternoon picnic before you watch the sun go down. Take a leisurely stroll to the highest point beneath the old trees and enjoy the scented floral shrub beds or rose gardens on a romantic evening.

8. The Big Drift

Ready for something off the beaten track? It takes a little over two hours to reach one of Melbourne’s hidden gems, the Big Drift at Wilsons Promontory National Park, which is a series of ever-changing massive inland sand dunes best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset when the landscape turns rose gold. Come here to escape crowds and enjoy a peaceful sunset reflection in the presence of the vast golden sand expanse. Prepare yourself to walk a few kilometres in total – upon arrival, follow the path as it winds through bushland before reaching an open field. You’ll be met by a vast and spectacular landscape that culminates with Bass Strait views – truly an amazing experience if you time it right and arrive before the sunset.

Photo: Raymond Lee

Photo: Andrew Furlan

9. Princes Pier – Port Melbourne

The 580-metre-long Princes Pier is a popular sunset location for those seeking stunning sunset vistas over Port Melbourne. This historical location dates back to the early years of the 20th century when it was an important trade point. To this day, it’s the second largest timber piled wharf on the continent. Enjoy the peaceful seaside by watching boats go by and people fish. Head to the end of the pier to see the old wooden pylons still peeking through the water – an otherworldly scenery, especially during the sunset, when you can get some amazing snaps here. While there aren’t any bars or restaurants on the pier itself, there is plenty to choose from nearby within walking distance.

10. Ponyfish Island

Nestled under the Evan Walker Bridge on the Yarra River, you’ll find Ponyfish Island – a hugely popular floating restaurant that you can access only from a single stairwell descending from above. Here you can catch the soft sunset glow all while enjoying relaxed food and delectable cocktails like the Kakadu plum fizz, smoky quartz, and lychee pop. The views at sunset are truly great here, and staying past the daylight hours will guarantee you get some amazing pics with the bright-light city in the background reflected in the water. Great vibes to chill to and unwind are guaranteed and don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back here for drinks more than once during your trip.

Princes Pier, Port Melbourne | Photo: Vince Russell

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