Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

River view of the Exhibition building. A bridge extends over the river with a red helicopter flying in the blue sky.

10 Reasons MCEC Makes the Perfect Event Venue

By Deni Kirkova|

The largest convention and exhibition venue in Australia, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is the ideal place to host events that leave a legacy.

Set in the heart of Melbourne on the picturesque Yarra River, we accommodate events of all sizes - from small meetings with just a few delegates to international conventions. We are known as the pinnacle of conferencing facilities in the southern hemisphere. And with good reason.

Our incredible range of multi-functional spaces and state-of-the-art technology accommodate all kinds of events. We make personal connections with immense impact at small strategy sessions, gala dinners, creative performances, exhibitions, and international conferences.

Read on for some of our unique points of difference.

Three people stand in the foreground holding champagne talking to one another. A busy crowd is behind them and they are outside with the MCEC building slightly in view in the background.
1. Outstanding Support

From sales to planning and delivery, our event experts find new and out of the box solutions to bring event concepts to life. We like to do things a little differently.

From the moment you come on board, we will be available to help with everything: entertainment, lighting, canapés, floor plans, name tags – you name it. Whether you need inspiration or know what you want, our team will bring skills and passion to the project.

Meanwhile, government assistance from Melbourne Convention Bureau and our Club Melbourne ambassador program propel events to new heights.

Bird's eye view of the city with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre at the centre of the image.
2. Unbeatable Location

Named as Oceania's Leading Business Events Destination at the World Travel Awards in 2020, Melbourne has been a place to exchange ideas for tens of thousands of years.

Our iconic location offers inspiring waterfront views. It is just a short walk to the city and 20 minutes from the airport. And with access to Melbourne’s buzzing South Wharf precinct with shopping, dining, and entertainment on our doorstep, we couldn’t be more convenient if we tried.

Among many accommodation options, we provide direct access to world-class hotels from within the building. The Pan Pacific Melbourne and Novotel Melbourne South Wharf are onsite. Plus, there is plenty of parking and public transport stops just outside. Our prime location is one of the reasons events at MCEC bring in record attendees.

Two people dressed in bellboy costumes stand in front of a double story exhibition stand with lots of chairs and tables on both levels.
3. Pillarless Exhibition Space

We have an industry-leading 40,000 square metres of flexible, pillar-less exhibition space. Our exhibition bays are designed to showcase expos to their full potential. No obstacles or view obstructions; just a clear path to bring your dream setup to life.

Accessibility at the forefront of the building’s design: everything is on one level. The loading docks back right into the exhibition bays for seamless bump in and out. And our customers get direct access to electricity and water via floor pits throughout our 26 bays.

Our exhibition space is convenient and comfortable for suppliers and visitors alike. We cover all bases, from air conditioning to built in food kiosks and toilets. Although, the bays can also be totally draped and transformed for formal gala dinners. We’ve done it all – just ask us. The possibilities are endless.

Plenary at MCEC (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre) is filled with people looking at the stage with is light up for a presentation.
4. Unrivalled Theatre Space

Made for conferences, full-scale concerts, creative stage performances, and single-speaker presentations alike, the Plenary theatre is our venue's centrepiece.

The enormous space has a total seating capacity of 5,500, though it can be divided into self-contained thirds thanks to two internal operable walls. When split, the outer theatres can seat 1,500, while the middle theatre seats up to 2,500.

With dressing rooms, green rooms, VIP suites and future-proof tech, Plenary offers unparalleled versatility. Fully motorised blinds can be lowered to conceal excess seating, plus the walls are acoustically treated to keep sound inside.

Gala and cocktail dinner at THE LUME Melbourne at MCEC with bespoke under water artwork scene on display.
Photography: Hell Studios
5. Immersive Experiences

Whether planning an annual dinner or new launch, make it an event to remember at the awe-inspiring THE LUME Melbourne. The creative venue, set in MCEC, is home to immersive digital exhibitions, art-filled yoga classes, and out-of-the-box events.

THE LUME Melbourne is currently showing a multisensory experience of Van Gogh and will be switching to Monet & Friends Alive from 26 October 2022.

We can plan events accommodating parties of under 100 through to 1,200, including a private viewing of the art experience on show, an unforgettable work party or gala dinner among immersive projections, or a product launch fully customised to your brand.

Three chefs in MCEC (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre) uniform stand at an industrial kitchen bench in conversation.
Photography: Hell Studios
7. Future-Proof Technology

From sound and lighting through to virtual and hybrid event solutions, MCEC uses the latest world-class event technology to design the environment needed for your event.

Our rooms have inbuilt hi-tech presentation tools, including intelligent lecterns and a multimedia audio system. Internet, projectors, pre-installed lighting, and rigging come as standard.

Meanwhile, our state-of-the-art digital event platform and live streaming service provide an equally awesome experience to delegates attending in person and those logging in from anywhere in the world.

Looking over a person's shoulder who sits in the shadow of a dark room. They look upon a busy technology board with lots of screens along the wall. sitting at eye level.
Photography: Liam Neal, Near Far Productions
8. Sustainability Leaders

From our source-local food philosophy to our eco-friendly building architecture, reducing our carbon footprint and all sustainability practices are our venue’s priority. We look to find innovative solutions that provide better outcomes for our community, our customers, and our environment.

In 2020, we hired a full-time Sustainability Manager and launched a five-year sustainability strategy in 2021. This involves reducing plastic and food waste, using more renewable energy, and reducing our carbon emissions with a target to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

Our local Siddeley Street carpark is being transformed into a 2,000m2 rooftop fruit and veggie farm. Melbourne Skyfarm is set to open soon and will feature sustainable dining, education, and awesome green event spaces. It will also provide around five tonnes of produce each year. Much of this will be donated to local food charities like our partner, OzHarvest.

Over head view of Skyfarm with two people sitting in the foreground talking. City landscape sits in the background along with blue skies.
9. Architectural Icon

MCEC’s innovative design is an architectural masterpiece combined of three builds that came together from 1996 to 2018. Each one reflects the era’s zeitgeist and represents Melbourne in its details, colours, and locally-sourced materials.

The tilted blade at our Clarendon Street entrance won the prestigious architecture Sir Zelman Cowen Award in 1996. It was designed by Denton Corker Marshall, a firm behind many iconic Melbourne buildings of the early 1990s known for their characteristic blades.

Later, the interior of Melbourne Convention Centre (MCC) would nod to Melbourne’s maritime history and the significance of our venue’s location: the Yarra used to carry merchant vessels that docked opposite our site. MCC’s wall panelling, perforated aluminium sheets, and floor tile pattern are inspired by the river and the flow of water water through to Port Phillip Bay. Meanwhile, carpets and upholstery designs reflect iconic Melbourne flora. MCC would become the first convention centre in the world to be awarded a 6-Star Green Star environmental rating.

In 2018 came the beautiful Melbourne Exhibition Centre (MEC) expansion project. It was awarded a significant 5-Star Green Star environmental rating. The bespoke ‘Goldrush’ colour of the build’s exterior and the precious metal-inspired interiors represent Australia’s gold rush era. Of course, there is Goldfields Café and Bar, too.

Over head view of a stair case leading down to the Convention Centre foyer.
Photography: Peter Bennetts
10. A Place for Everyone

We welcome all visitors, event organisers, suppliers and employees and aim to provide a safe and inclusive environment that considers the needs of everyone who uses our venue.

Features that make MCEC convenient for all include accessible toilets, ramps, lifts, and car parking, free wheelchair hire, braille signage on all rooms and TTA Hearing Assisted telephones in most meeting rooms. We have parent and prayer rooms.

Our industry leading VenueSafe plan enables fully compliant and COVIDSafe events that keep visitors, event organisers, suppliers and employees safe and secure. Protocols include training on the latest COVID-19 safety measures plus increased sanitation and cleaning. We continue to innovate to ensure MCEC remains an inspiring and inclusive place for all who come through our doors.

Considering options for your next event? Reach out to the team and discover the difference at MCEC.

Looking down the corridor of the Convention Centre as natural light streams through the large windows.
Photography: Peter Bennetts