East Melbourne is home to Victoria’s seat of government, its most famous sporting venue – and Australia’s oldest surviving European building. With a large proportion of the suburb reserved for parkland, this is a great place to explore by bicycle.
Construction on Parliament House began in 1856 and is inspired by the UK’s seat of power at Westminster in London. You can walk up, sit in the public galleries and watch democracy in action whenever the House is sitting. There are also official tours. Built around the same time, the neighbouring Old Treasury Building is also worth a visit. This is considered one of Melbourne’s finest 19th century buildings and entrance is free.
A short cycle ride away, on the other side of Treasury Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens is a peaceful place for a stroll. The park is also home to the oldest intact European building in Australia – Cook’s Cottage. This is the family home of Captain James Cook, built in England in 1755 and transported to Australia in 1934.
Another short cycle ride south will bring you to Melbourne’s cathedral of sport, the MCG. The venue was established in 1853 – even before Parliament House. It has seen the 1956 Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games as well as many thrilling AFL Grand Finals. Take a tour and find out why many people think this is the beating heart of Melbourne.
East Melbourne is highly accessible by public transport. The most convenient railway stations are Parliament, Jolimont and Richmond. The 11, 12, 35 and 109 trams link Parliament House to the CBD, while the numbers 48, 70 and 75 link the MCG to the CBD.