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“Melbourne’s cultural jewel that's so easily accessible” 5 of 5 stars
Review of National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria
180 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria 8004, Australia (Southbank)
61 3 8620 2222
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Ranked #7 of 204 attractions in Melbourne
Type: Art Museums
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Opened in 1861, this is Australia's oldest art gallery.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
34 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Melbourne’s cultural jewel that's so easily accessible”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

This monolithic structure with its dull, grey frontage wouldn’t be out of place in North Korea, but don’t let its ugly exterior put you off: It’s a lot more user-friendly once you get inside.

I went specifically to see the exhibition of Neo-Impressionist art called “Radiance” ($20 entrance fee for adults) but I also took the time to wander around the Asian and European galleries as well. It’s full of interesting artefacts and exhibits that have been carefully and thoughtfully laid out in an easy to follow style, with narrative panels on the walls. I especially liked the fact that the information provided dealt not only with the objects themselves but also the political and economic context in which the works were made. The huge wall chart showing the political developments in China in parallel with developments in the west was especially well presented and informative.

The gallery is a spacious and airy place, not overcrowded and perfect for just wandering around at your leisure.

The serious part of my visit was of course the exhibition of Neo-Impressionist art and I was not disappointed. It contained 72 paintings by all the luminaries of this movement which arose in Paris after the debacle of the Franco-Prussian War and the chaos that followed. The main artists featured included Georges Seurat, Theo van Rysselberghe, Max Luce, Henri Cross and the eventual leading light and driving force behind the movement, Paul Signac. I took the free tour which started at 2.15pm. Our guide, Sue, was pleasant, entertaining and knowledgeable and her tour was conducted in a relaxed and informal style. I especially liked the fact that she took the trouble to cover at least a third of the paintings in the exhibition rather than just a few.

But if all you want to do is browse the permanent collection then there is no charge to enter. There are no cloaking charges either which makes a pleasant change from the London galleries where a 2 pound or more charge for storing just one bag is “de rigueur”.
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Even if you’re only in Melbourne for a few days, I wouldn’t miss this attraction, especially since it’s so easy to access. You can get here on foot from Fed Square – it’s about 15minutes at a leisurely pace - or the free red shuttle bus passes by here as well on its circuit around the city. And that of course is the joy of visiting Melbourne. Everything is accessible, and this attraction is no exception.

Visited February 2013
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Date | Rating
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“FREE”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

what's not to like, it's free, right across from beautiful gardens, easy to get to and FREE! You do have to pay for the special exhibition though.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Ever changing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

Love a visit to the gallery as it is always different. Great to have a couple of hours there before a show. Took my teenagers last visit & even they had a really lovely day

Visited October 2012
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Woking, England
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Always worth a visit.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

Seen a couple of exhibitions here, well laid out and documented. Good staff and plenty of space to relax.

Visited January 2013
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“It's Free so go as many times as you like.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

I have always liked this place, it is relaxing, never crowded, quiet and a great way to spend a few hours on a hot weekend as the temperature is always the same. The extensions over the years have made this experience even better. I am not commenting on the art, you can do this yourselves, except to say that I will quote my kids here, "why is the modern art not as good as the old stuff?" Have fun seeing that for yourself.

Visited August 2012
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