The Yarra River is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape that includes traditional Country of the Wurundjeri People. Parks Victoria respects the deep and continuing connection that Traditional Owners have to these lands and waters, and we recognise their ongoing role in caring for Country.
The Yarra River’s journey begins on the southern slopes of the Great Dividing Range and twists through the forested valleys of the Yarra Ranges and its quaint regional towns before concluding its journey on the muddy flats of Port Phillip Bay.
Elemental to Melbourne’s identity, the Yarra River is one of Victoria’s iconic waterways. It has spiritual and cultural significance for Aboriginal communities. To the Wurundjeri people the river, known as Birrarung, was the life source and an important meeting place. And, to many locals, where happy memories of personal pilgrimages, peaceful summer evenings, and days exploring were made.
Board one of the river cruises from Southbank to explore the lower reaches of the Yarra, follow the Capital City Trail on foot or bike, canoe or kayak all or part of its 240-kilometre expanse, or set up for a scenic sunset barbecue or picnic on the banks of the river.
Join in on the rich events calendar – from the famous Moomba Festival to regattas and rowing races, the Dragon Boat Festival and an endless array of community events. The Yarra has something for everyone!
As rivers, lakes and reservoirs are natural environments, you may encounter hazards. Follow our water safety advice to make sure your day out at Yarra River is a safe and enjoyable one.
Things to do in the area
Canoeists and kayakers can enjoy under-the-radar spots along short river trips such as Jumping Creek to Warrandyte and Sweeneys lane to Westerfolds.
Tours and adventure experiences in parks
One of the best ways you can get into nature is with a Licensed Tour Operator.
There are more than 400 Licensed Tour Operators across Victoria who are ready and waiting to help you experience and connect with Victoria’s spectacular parks and waterways.
Discover more than 60 different types of nature-based experiences including hiking, mountain biking, boating, four-wheel driving, indigenous culture tours, birdwatching, surfing, diving and so much more.
Licensed Tour Operators know all the best places to go and will plan and prepare your visit to ensure you are safe and can enjoy your nature-based adventure to the fullest.
How to get there
Need to know
Change of Conditions
Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.
Banksia Park Picnic Area (Yarra River, Yarra Valley Parklands)
Banksia Park Toilet ClosureBanksia Park toilets are currently closed due to a failed pump system. Parks Victoria are currently planning repairs to rectify the issue. The nearest toilets are at Birrarung Park.
Little Peninsula Picnic Area (Yarra River, Yarra Ranges National Park)
Little Peninsula Bridge Closed
Little Peninsula Bridge closed due to storm damage.
Big Peninsula Picnic Area (Yarra River, Yarra Ranges National Park)
Big Peninsula Stepping Stones ClosedBig Peninsula Stepping Stones closed due to flood damage.
Yarra River - Charles Grimes Bridge to Spencer St Bridge (Yarra River)
Shallow Waters - River Channel Downstream of Charles Grimes BridgeThe channel immediately downstream of Charles Grimes Bridge in the vicinity of Yarra's Edge Marina has reduced water depth as a result of sediment build up. Minimum depth at low tide may be less than 2m. Large vessels should navigate the area with caution.
Notices Affecting Multiple Parks
Notice to River Users 20 September 2023As Waterway Manager under the Marine Safety Act 2010 Parks Victoria wishes to advise these waterway closures and activities (PDF) on the Yarra River, Maribyrnong River and Victoria Harbour.
Attachments: NTRU September 20 (1,173KB)