Melbourne was established on the banks of Australia's Yarra River in 1835, enabling survival for the city's early settlers. Today, the Yarra River is where Melbourne thrives — the heart of the city's social scene, the riverbanks boast public picnic areas, grills, fishing docks, and bike and pedestrian paths frequented by Melbournians and visitors alike. Choose from a number of river cruises that take you past Melbourne's most popular attractions, or walk or bike along the river to discover the city's spirit.
Aside from serving as a means of transportation through central Melbourne, the Yarra River offers countless opportunities for recreation. From a romantic dinner cruise to an adventurous kayak tour, you can enjoy the water in whatever fashion floats your boat as you glide through the heart of Victoria's cultural capital. Upriver sightseeing cruises will take you past Federation Square and Princes Walk, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, while downriver cruises will pass the Lower Promenade, Crown Casino, and the Westgate Bridge. Other options include taking a walking or bike tour along the Southbank Promenade and Main Yarra Trail, or choosing a comprehensive combo tour that includes a full Melbourne city tour.Tour options are available for every type of traveler, from families of all ages to the adventurous solo explorer.
Dress for sunshine and waterway breezes with plenty of sun protection.
Melbourne restaurants are generally casual, but travelers should dress to impress at some fine dining options.
How to Get to the Yarra River
Melbourne's Yarra River functions as the city's main artery — it's impossible to miss. In addition to organized city river cruises and sightseeing tours near the water, you can take a hop-on, hop-off water taxi through the canals and access popular stops between the Fenix Restaurant (Abbotsford) and Williamstown, including the Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, plus Federation Square.
When to Go to the Yarra River
Melbourne has a temperate climate, so visitors can enjoy Yarra River cruises and other attractions in comfort year round. Mark your calendar for special occasions on the river, such as numerous Dragon Boat festivals, New Year's Eve and Christmas events, rowing regattas, and the Moomba Festival in March, featuring water sports competitions.