The Southern Bank of the Yarra River
The Southgate, Casino Entertainment and Exhibition Centre precinct forms the
southern bank of the Yarra River directly south of the CBD extending from Princes
Bridge to the Polly Woodside Museum (refer Chapter 10 Museums). Opened in
1992 the Southgate complex was the first of the Yarra River developments which
replaced a series of old and decaying warehouses on the south bank of the river.
Southgate (Centre Management, 9699 4311) revitalised Melbourne's cafe and cultural
society, which, while being aware of the river, had never really utilised its potential.
Southgate provides access to the river with stunning views across to the city and
Flinders St Station, particularly at night. One of Southgate's highlights is the array
of sculptures dotting the promenade and its four shopping levels (look for the
rowboat & water sculpture near the office buildings and the huge fish above the
central staircase). Southgate is alive with street theatre, music, dance and on New
Years eve, fireworks light up the river. It boasts a range of cafes and restaurants
with specialty stores plus a magnificent Food Wharf, probably Melbourne's best.
Sheraton Towers Hotel is also located at Southgate.
Access to Southgate is very easy. There are two disabled persons car parks in
Southgate Ave (almost underneath the Melbourne Concert Hall), or you can park
under the complex where many well signed spaces are available. Stroll across
Princes Bridge to St Kilda Rd, then down a short grade (4.8%) to River Walk Terrace
connecting to Southgate's Upper Level by a grade (5 7.2%) through automatic
doors then another short grade (8.5%). A pedestrian bridge crosses the river from
Flinders Walk, a promenade along the north bank accessed from Batman Ave and
running under Princes Bridge.
Other entries are at the western end grade (8.6%) through automatic doors or the
centre entry (flat) past Ophelia a marvellous sculpture which has become a
Melbourne icon. Accessible unisex toilets are located on Ground and Middle Levels
which are connected by easily accessed and operated lifts.
The Arts Precinct/Southgate hosts a Sunday Arts & Craft Market along the
promenade in front of the Arts Centre extending to the Concert Hall and down to the
Southbank Promenade which runs along the Yarra under Princes Bridge. The
market is a collection of stalls featuring arts, hand crafts and some food items.
Trading commences early Sunday morning and extends into the afternoon.