The Art of Sport is a self guided walk provided by the City of Melbourne. There is something for everyone as it combines the city's main sporting attractions, arts precinct and parks and can be customised to suit your particular interests and curiosities.
The walk is recommended for the reasonably fit as it is 6 kms long and takes approximately 3 hours to complete depending on whether you get lost or do some extra exploring.
The Art of Sport is part of a series of 7 walks and can be picked up from the Visitor Centre in Federation Square or can be downloaded here.
It starts and ends in Federation Square and takes you along the Yarra River, around the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG); through Melbourne & Olympic Parks; and to Southbank via the King's Domain parklands.
Walking along the Yarra River, you will pass through Birrarung Marr; a large, public park featuring a colourful, three-legged sculpture, Angel. If you're lucky, you'll hear a composition from the Federation Bells, an impressive collection of upturned bells in different shapes and sizes that play three times a day.
Federation Bells in Birrarung Marr, public park by the Yarra River
Making your way to the MCG, you will walk over the William Barak Bridge to be greeted by an ethereal soundtrack of music, laughter and the spoken word. Walk around the MCG, to marvel at sculptures of sporting heroes throughout Australian history, including female Olympians Betty Cuthbert and Shirley Strickland, champions from the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Betty's gold medals are on display at the National Sports Museum, also at the MCG.
William Barak Bridge on the way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground"
Passing the Rod Laver Arena, home of the Tennis Australian Open, you will enter Melbourne & Olympic parks. This vast and deserted space containing several modern sporting venues is in stark contrast to what it must have looked like 60 years ago in the midst of the Melbourne Olympic Games.
The walk then takes a turn towards Southbank, Melbourne's art precinct, via the King's Domain parklands. Tucked away in the corner is the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA); an interpersonal, rusty but interesting structure situated next to the delightful Malthouse Theatre. The walk passes The Victorian College of the Arts; the architecturally intriguing Melbourne Recital Centre; the Southbank Theatre; the National Gallery of Victoria; the Arts Centre Melbourne with its iconic 162m spire; and Hamer Hall.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Arts Precinct, Southbank (Wikipedia)
Overall, the map is easy to follow but pay extra attention when looking for the William Barak Bridge from the Federation Bells and for Linlithgow Avenue after visiting the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the King's Domain parklands as the writer unintentionally veered off-track in both spots.
The Art of Sport walk is an enjoyable experience for sport and culture fans and is a fantastic way to become acquainted with the city if you're new to Melbourne. You will learn a lot about its history and will discover many places and interesting facts along the way.