The Yarra River winds its way through Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) plus a number of suburbs. In the city, bars, restaurants, and parks thrive along its banks, bringing locals and tourists together. Numerous festivals and sporting events take place on the Yarra, including the famous Moomba Festival and rowing regattas.
The Yarra River boasts a number of activities for visitors to enjoy. There are tours for every type of traveler ranging from sightseeing cruises to cabaret dinner cruises to an adventurous kayak tour along the river. See riverside landmarks such as Crown Casino, Federation Square, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the Ian Potter Centre.
For those who want to stay on land, walking and bike tours explore the banks of the Yarra River at a leisurely pace. Walk or peddle along the Southbank Promenade or the Main Yarra Trail for a closer look at Melbourne’s green spaces, bike paths, and numerous shops and restaurants that grace the banks.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes to walk along the Yarra’s long esplanade.
- The area’s weather can change at any moment, so bring layers and an umbrella to be prepared.
- The river offers some of the most picturesque views in the city, so come prepared with your camera.
How to Get There
Set in the center of Melbourne, the Yarra can’t be missed. In addition to sightseeing cruises, visitors can navigate the river with hop-on hop-off cruises that offer many stops in between Williamstown and Abbotsford. Some notable stops along the route include Southgate, Federation Square, and the Docklands, so you can see as much of Melbourne as possible.
When to Get There
Visitors can access the best of the Yarra River year-round, but there are a few special occasions that are worth a visit: the Dragon Boat Festival in June, Christmas and New Year’s Events, the Moomba Festival in March, and numerous sporting events throughout the year.
The River of Culture
Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital and that means the Yarra is full of history. Check out some of the art museums along its banks, learn about Aboriginal culture and heritage on a river walk, discover thousands of plant species at the Royal Botanic Gardens, or stroll by some Australia’s most famous sporting venues.