Estimated Attendance for NGV Intl
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Admission to the NGV collection is free.
Entry fees may apply to special exhibitions and Friday nights.
NGV: sites and crowds
The NGV operates across two sites: NGV International, located on St Kilda Road, and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, located nearby at Federation Square. The first one houses an extensive collection from Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania and hosts major exhibitions. The Ian Potter Centre is the home of Australian art, from the colonial period to the present day. The buildings are about 5 minutes from each other, by foot.
NGV International is more popular and is therefore usually more crowded. It gets quite packed during the first two and last two weeks of popular exhibitions and during seasonal events.
Friday nights are extremely popular at the NGV, combining extended opening hours for exhibitions, DJ sessions and dining options. It is highly recommended to book your ticket in advance if you plan visiting on a Friday night and check the official website for programs and performers.
Keep in mind that the museums have different opening days. NGV Australia is closed on Mondays, whilst the permanent collection of NGV International is not accessible on Tuesdays (though you can visit temporary exhibitions on this day). Therefore our advise is:
- If you want to visit NGV Australia only: prefer Tuesday, it’s when the gallery is at its calmest.
- If you want to visit only the temporary exhibition in NGV International: Tuesday is also by far the best choice.
- If you want to visit only the permanent exhibition at NGV International: choose Monday or Thursday.
- If you want to visit both sites: Wednesday or Thursday are the best days to avoid the crowds & do both galleries in one day.
In any case, weekends are always busier than weekdays at the museum, and holiday periods bring even more visitors.
Booking your ticket may be required for some temporary exhibitions, check when planning your visit.
Best time to visit the National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne’s peak travel season is from December to February, with good weather (it’s the summer in the Southern Hemisphere) and crowds everywhere. Students are on holidays from mid-December till late January, and it’s the busiest period of the year, with fully booked hotels and higher prices everywhere. If you plan to come during this season - give preference to February, it’s usually calmer.
Low season is from June till August - it’s winter in Australia. There are however, a number of popular events that are held (International film festival, gastronomical festivals, etc.), during which, Melbourne sees a larger number of visitors than normal (for this season).
Fall and spring are probably the best time to visit Melbourne and NGV, though you should be careful, as it’s also the customary time for the exhibitions to be changed. You may end up attending both, but this is when the museum can be overcrowded (last and first week of any exhibition, always sees the longest queues). But in terms of crowds and weather the shoulder season is usually the best compromise! Try to avoid the beginning of April and the end of September, those are periods of school holidays and all the cultural sites become crowded.
Friday Nights at NGV
Photo credits to Steve Collis via Flickr
By tram: Flinders Street trams (70, 75, City Circle) and Swanston Street/St Kilda Road trams (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72) travel past Federation Square. Alight at the Flinders Street stop and enter via Federation Square.
By train: Flinders Street Station is adjacent to Federation Square.
By car: A car park is available at the Federation Square. Enter at the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets, or from Batman Avenue (Exhibition Street extension - City Link).
By tram: Swanston Street/St Kilda Road trams (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72) travel past NGV International. Alight at the Arts Precinct stop.
By train: Flinders Street Station (walk across the bridge past the Victorian Arts Centre).
By car: A car park is available at the Victorian Arts Centre, located beneath NGV International. Enter from Sturt Street, Southbank, accessed from St Kilda Road / Southbank Boulevard and Alexandra Avenue / City Road.