The National Gallery of Victoria (see NGV Australia and NGV International) is the oldest public art museum in Australia. Located across two sites on St Kilda Road and in Federation Square, the NGV features permanent exhibitions including Indigenous and international collections and the largest stained-glass ceiling in the world. Over in Southbank, the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art was designed to work as a sculpture in which to store contemporary art. The building's rusty Corten Steel exterior and its cavernous interior, devoid of 90-degree angles, functions to challenge visitors and provide a space for new, envelope-pushing works.
Hidden around Melbourne are gems waiting to be found. A mural by the late street artist Keith Haring is tucked away in Collingwood; a once controversial nude painting by French artist Jules-Joseph Lefebvre hangs in the city's Young and Jackson pub, and down the otherwise grimy Hosier Lane are hundreds of works by all-star street artists.
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Templestowe Rd
A bike or tram ride away is Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen. Although the gallery and garden was established in 1981 for the public, the location was once the creative hub for prominent Australian artists including Sidney Nolan who painted his Ned Kelly series from the gallery's old dining room. Make sure you visit Heide's Cafe Vue for some relaxed French-inspired fare.
Art and galleries details
National Gallery of Victoria 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3000. +613 8620 2222. www.ngv.vic.gov.au