Centuries ago, settlers developed Melbourne around this river. Today it is the heart of the city with bars, shops and restaurants lining its banks.
The picturesque Yarra River is the focal point around which Melbourne flourishes. Enjoy the river's beaches, try out a watersport or take a boat tour to one of the scenic islands.
Go shopping at the Southgate complex which is situated along the river’s banks. Find upmarket shops, entertainment and restaurants here. Climb aboard a boat at Southgate or Princes Walk for a trip down the river.
To the east, you’ll find a more rural setting. Take a stroll around the Royal Botanic Gardens and stop at one of the many picnic and barbecue facilities. Visit Herring Island Park in the summer months by taking a Parks Victoria ferry and walk around the sculpture parks. This area is remarkably tranquil considering it is in the center of a busy city. Take photos of the Melbourne skyline at sunset.
Cycle along any of the many cycling routes or go kayaking along the waterways. Swim at one of the river’s many beaches, manned by lifesavers in the summer months.
If you are brave enough, take a dip during the chilly winter months. If that seems a bit too cold, visit one of the numerous heated pools and centers. The annual Moomba Festival celebrates the cultural significance of the Yarra River to Melbourne. It takes place over Labor Day weekend on the first Friday of March. Head to the river then for firework displays and live music.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the river was used as a main meeting point for the indigenous people of Australia. As Europeans began to settle, they forced the indigenous population away from the river and gradually the city was built along the banks.
The river runs from the Yarra Ranges down through the center of Melbourne and into Hobsons Bay. The main attractions around it are focused within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) section but parks and recreational attractions spread out for miles along its banks.