National Gallery of Victoria#6 in Best Things To Do in Melbourne
Opened in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest and most visited art gallery in Australia. Local artists are mostly featured, although there are works from international masters like Anthony van Dyck, Claude Monet and René Magritte. You'll also find unique exhibits like Ichwan Noor's "Beetle Sphere" – a Volkswagen Beetle that's been molded into a sphere – and Kohei Nawa's "PixCell-Red Deer" – a taxidermied deer covered in glass and crystal beads.
Though many of the museum's free collections are worth exploring, several recent travelers said paying extra for specialty exhibits is a must. Notable current and past temporary exhibits focus on iconic artists and art styles. The permanent Pacific Art collection, which displays indigenous artwork and artifacts from Pacific nations like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand, is another favorite.
The museum's collections are located in two buildings – The Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square and the main building on St Kilda Road – near the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Australian art is housed in The Ian Potter Centre, while international works can be found in the main building. Both sites are open daily (excluding Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are free to enter. Keep in mind that hours are restricted on Anzac Day (April 25) and additional fees apply for temporary exhibits. Amenities found inside the museum include restrooms, a gift shop and several restaurants and cafes. Free collection-specific tours are provided every day at select times.
Travelers can get to The Ian Potter Centre and the main museum by car, taxi, bus or tram. The Circle City Tram's Swanston and Flinders streets stop sits within walking distance of both buildings. On-site parking is also available, though some people recommended avoiding the garage due to its high hourly rates. To learn more about the National Gallery of Victoria's exhibits, events and facilities, visit the gallery's website.
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#1 Shrine of Remembrance
To commemorate the 19,000 Victorians killed during World War I, the city of Melbourne built the Shrine of Remembrance in 1924. The monument, which was inspired by famous Greek sights like the Parthenon and the Acropolis, features several memorials, including the bronze Gallipoli Memorial, The Forecourt (a World War II memorial that houses the Eternal Flame) and the Remembrance Garden (where fallen soldiers from post-World War II conflicts are honored). Several military-themed exhibits are also available inside the shrine.
According to many recent travelers, the Shrine of Remembrance is one of Melbourne's best attractions. Though a sobering experience, you'll walk away with a greater understanding and appreciation of Australia's participation in major conflicts. Past visitors recommended joining one of the free property tours, which are offered daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and last about an hour. And for incredible views of the grounds and the Melbourne skyline, check out the second-floor balcony.
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