He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Double defending champion Roger Federer will start his bid for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles next week against unseeded Uzbek Denis Istomin, who caused a huge upset when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round two years ago.
The 37-year-old, seeded third, is bidding to extend his all-time leading men's Grand Slam record to 21 title and would capture a 100th ATP tournament win in the process.
Kyle Edmund, back at the scene of his semi-final appearance 12 months ago, was also given a hard opener against former top-10 stalwart Tomas Berdych, who is unseeded following injury.
The Spanish 22nd seed defeated Djokovic on his way to the title in Doha last week while concerns about Murray's fitness grew as he struggled through a practice match against world number one Djokovic at Melbourne Park today. But being so close, I'll give it a go.
Defending champion Roger Federer takes on Denis Istomin in round one and is in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, who faces Australian James Duckworth.
Those two, and seventh seed Dominic Thiem, are in the same quarter as Alexander Zverev, who could meet Djokovic in the semifinals but must first plot his way past Aljaz Bedene in the opening round.
Cilic was drawn into the same section as five-time finalist Andy Murray, who is coming back from a long-term hip injury and is set to open against No. 22-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut.
"I can't believe it's been a year already", Dane Wozniacki said at the draw ceremony.
The fan, Australian teenager Jordyn Kollmorgen, posted that Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, was the inspiration behind her love for tennis.
Second-seeded Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. Opens in 2016 and added the Wimbledon title previous year, is in the same half as Wozniacki and has 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in her quarter. Among those looking to halt Serena's charge: world number one Simona Halep, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and US Open victor Naomi Osaka.
Kerber will open against Slovenia's Polona Hercog, while No.3 seed Wozniacki will face Alison van Uytvanck first up to begin her title defense.