Melbourne’s grandest avenue, Collins Street is known for being a hub for prestigious boutiques and designer stores, theaters, global bank headquarters, high-end hotels and restaurants.
Running for a mile between Elizabeth and King Street, Collins Street is the traditional main street of the city. On a visit, start at the east end, or “Paris end,” so named for its lavish Victorian-era buildings, erected in the 1880s when Melbourne grew recklessly during the Victorian gold rush.
Collins Street has long been Melbourne’s center of financial activities. Some of the banks are housed in Victorian gothic builds nicknamed “Cathedrals of Commerce,” while others are in shining glass skyscrapers, some of which are Australia’s tallest, like 101 Collins Street. It’s worth seeing the late 19th century Old Stock Exchange, which looks straight out of Venice, and the ANZ Gothic Bank — all gold leaf ceilings and grand ceilings on the inside.
On Collins Street you’ll also find flagship branches for the likes of Prada, Armani, Tiffany & Co, and Longchamp. There are also a number of shopping malls along the street, including Collins Place, the Block Arcade, and Georges on Collins.
Collins Street is also home to the Athenaeum and Regent theatres, which put on international productions throughout the year, and it’s also known for its impressive 19th century churches: Collins Street Baptist Church, St Michael's Uniting Church, and Scot's Presbyterian Church.
Trams 48, 109 and 112 all run down Collins Street.