Melbourne sunrise – from the south?

Watching the sun rise in the east, then set in the west – simple, isn’t it?

In Melbourne you only need to look down Bourke Street of a morning towards Parliament House, and there is the sun.

Sunrise on Bourke Street

And in the afternoon, look down La Trobe Street towards the West Gate Bridge, and there it is again.

Sunset on La Trobe Street

However the other morning something really threw me off at the corner of William and Collins Street – the sun shining down on me from the south.

Sunrise from the south on William Street?

The cause of the unexpected sunbeam – light reflecting off the new Prima Pearl apartment tower at the corner of Queensbridge and Power Streets in Southbank, located directly south from me on the other side of the Yarra River.


The long axis of the Melbourne CBD grid is orientated 70 degrees clockwise from true north, allowing the streets to be roughly aligned to the Yarra River. Most of the other major roads in Melbourne are orientated 8 degrees clockwise from true north.

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8 Responses to “Melbourne sunrise – from the south?”

  1. mich says:

    I am rather unconvinced by your claim that you can see the sun along Bourke Street in the morning and along Latrobe Street in the afternoon. Maybe, in the summer.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      It will only happen at certain times of year as you say – in Manhattan they get two aligned sunsets a year, either side of the summer solstice, and two aligned sunrises occurring either side of the winter solstice:

      For Melbourne’s CBD grid LaTrobe Street has a clear view of the sunset to the west, but for the sunrise from the east the Dandenongs might get in the way, as would the various buildings along Spring Street.

  2. mich says:

    According to my calculations, the sun should set in Melbourne at a bearing of 250 degrees from north on the 75th day after the summer solstice, and should rise at a bearing of 70 degrees from north on the 108th day after the summer solstice.

  3. mich says:

    That is assuming a circular orbit around the sun, which it isn’t. The geometry doesn’t change, but the rate at which the earth progresses proportionally around its orbit, does change. Anyway, it isn’t the same day.

  4. Mark says:

    The sun in Melbourne rises approximately in the East. In winter, for example it rises north of East and sets north of West. Does it ever rise or set at true East/West or even south of these?

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