The Royal Exhibition Building Dome Promenade experience is billed as being Melbourne’s ‘oldest-newest attraction’ and is a unique experience for Melburnians and visitors alike.
As the first Australian building to be awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Listing, the Royal Exhibition Building has great historical and cultural importance, not only to Melbourne but to all of Australia.
Now for the first time in 100 years, you can climb to the base of the iconic building’s dome and see the city from a whole new vantage point.
Visit The Dome Melbourne
Built in 1880 for Melbourne International Exhibition, the Dome Promenade was a key attraction, providing visitors to the Exhibition Building with the opportunity to overlook the landscaped gardens and view the emerging Melbourne skyline.
After years of restoration work, visitors can once again be able to experience the Carlton Exhibition Building’s spectacular view over Melbourne – from Carlton Gardens to the city skyline, and the metropolitan horizon.
Dome Promenade guided tours happen every day, with two tours on weekdays at 10am and 2pm and four times a day on weekends 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm. You must book a tour to visit the Dome Promenade and there are a maximum of 30 visitors per tour, so pre-booking ahead is highly encouraged to avoid disappointment.
Adults and children are welcome to attend, though I’d say older kids will get more out of the experience. The views are only really accessible if you’re taller than the chest-height parapet and there aren’t any interactive, push-button elements to the exhibition.
For people with accessibility issues or prams there is a lift to access the basement, mezzanine and lower promenade.
However, the upper dome promenade is not wheelchair accessible and requires visitors to climb around 20 steps. From there, there are additional stairs required to travel around the entire upper promenade to see a 360-degree view.
The Dome Exhibition
Accompanying the Dome Promenade experience is a small basement exhibition that explores the site’s significant events and varied uses of the building over time.
All the costumes, artefacts, photographs and paintings help you to learn more about the history of the building.
When I visited the exhibition it seems that everyone has a memory of the space. For me, it has been the home of the Big Design Market where I used to work, as well as the site of the annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
The Dome Promenade is the place to absorb the history and views of Melbourne. It is also available for hire as a unique backdrop for events, from cocktail parties to weddings.