Docklands is situated immediately west of Melbourne's central business district and fronts the Yarra River and Victoria Harbour.
Originally used by container ships but abandoned during the 1970s with the advent of modern shipping practices further downstream, the area is being redeveloped into a modern residential, leisure, sporting and dining precinct.
The proximity of Docklands to Melbourne's CBD (walking distance or a short tram ride) and the several kilometres of Yarra River and Victoria Harbour water frontage that it enjoys, make Docklands a central and attractive place for visitors and residents.
Docklands has created an extensive waterfront aspect for the heart of Melbourne. Wide promenades beside the harbour and river are lined with apartment buildings, restaurants, retail outlets and areas of open space which also serve as outdoor art galleries with sculptures, figurines and other forms of creative contemporary artwork on display. Notable landmarks within Docklands include the Bolte Bridge and towers to the west, the large stadium overlooking Victoria Harbour (Etihad Stadium), and Southern Cross Station which is the hub of the state's regional rail network.
Docklands is divided up into a number of distinct precincts. Waterfront City and NewQuay occupy the northern edge of Victoria Harbour and offer a mix of retail, dining and residential developments fronting promenades and open spaces on the waterfront. The Victoria Harbour precinct occupies the heart of Docklands and features residential apartments, office space, retail outlets, restaurants and large expanses of open space including wide promenades fronting the water and the green oasis of Docklands Park. Between Victoria Harbour and the Southern Cross Station is the sporting ground and entertainment venue of Etihad Stadium which features a retractable roof and hosts football, rugby and cricket games as well as concerts and other major events. Along the northern bank of the Yarra River, bounded by Flinders Street and Wurundjeri Way, is the World Trade Centre precinct. It consists of a wide riverfront promenade fronted by restaurants and apartments, with the Seafarers pedestrian bridge over the river which links it to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre at Southbank. On the southern bank of the Yarra River is the Yarra's Edge precinct, primary dedicated to residential apartment buildings and featuring a large marina, public promenade and the attractive Point Park. The architecturally striking Webb Bridge provides a cycling and pedestrian link between Yarra's Edge and Victoria Harbour on the north side of the Yarra River.
Other precincts at Docklands are home to more residential developments, a movie studio and the headquarters of large businesses.