See a Melbourne view last experienced nearly 100 years ago

Carol Saffer

Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building’s dome promenade opened to the public on Saturday, October 29. 

The dome promenade was a strong attraction of the 1880 and 1888 international exhibitions providing visitors with an opportunity to view the Melbourne skyline.

The Royal Exhibition Building was the first Australian building to be awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Listing.

The federal government funded the Protection and Promotion Project, ensuring the restoration and preservation of the dome promenade as it was during the 19th century.

The dome promenade, including the timber deck outside the building and a gallery exhibition space, was under construction from 2018 to 2020.

A Melbourne Museum spokesperson said the promenade would be open to visitors all year round, apart from when the building is holding events.

Tours of a maximum of 30 people are running four times a day; at the time of publication, the tours are sold out until late December.

Museums Victoria CEO and Director Lynley Crosswell said, “I am delighted we can now welcome visitors to Melbourne’s ‘newest oldest attraction’, the Royal Exhibition Building’s Dome Promenade.”


“We are especially pleased to be opening during springtime, offering visitors a spectacular view of Carlton Gardens in full bloom and an outlook over Melbourne not experienced for nearly 100 years.”


The Royal Exhibition Building joins a group of prestigious buildings offering dome tours and rooftop access. 

St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican allows visitors to climb up to Michelangelo’s dome and view the layout of the Basilica from above.

At the Duomo of Milan, visitors are encouraged to “walk between the earth and sky” on the rooftop of Europe’s second-biggest cathedral.

The interior of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in London can be reached by climbing 528 steps.

The Royal Exhibition Building dome promenade guided tours start at a meeting point in the Melbourne Museum foyer before travelling across to the basement, mezzanine and lower promenade, which are wheelchair accessible via a lift.

To reach the upper dome promenade on the fourth level, tour participants must climb around 20 steps.

For the exhilarating experience of walking around the entire upper promenade, people must climb additional stairs to enjoy the 360-degree view.

Both the upper and lower promenade are outside and exposed to the elements. •

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