Yarra River


Yarra River

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

Herring Island, an artificial island on the Yarra River is a haven for nature and art lovers alike. Environmental sculptures made from natural materials reflect the island’s tranquil setting and make for a great day out. Each summer the Herring Island Summer Festival takes over the island to celebrate contemporary Australian art.

Canoeists and kayakers can enjoy under-the-radar spots along short river trips such as Jumping Creek to Warrandyte and Sweeneys lane to Westerfolds.
Herring Island.

Herring Island

Herring Island, an artificial island on the Yarra River is a haven for nature and art lovers alike.
The Pound Bend Tunnel on the Yarra River near the Warrandyte State Park.

Pound Bend

Pound Bend has a delightful picnic area with tables, toilets, a canoe launching ramp and great views of the river. There are easy walks and tracks around this area.
Four friends walk alongside the Yarra River through Yarra Bend Park.

Yarra Bend Park

Yarra Bend Park is the largest area of natural bushland near the heart of Melbourne. The park features steep river escarpments, open woodlands, playing fields and golf courses.
Father and son bird watching on boardwalk

Bird watching

From bushland to wetlands and everything in between, parks provide habitat to an abundance of common and rare bird species. Go for a wander and see how many you can spot.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to explore beautiful waterways. Enjoy the tranquility and spot wildlife that hikers don’t normally see.
A husband and wife stop to take a photo of Masons Falls from the lookout.

Day trips

Pack the car and round up your family and friends. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, parks offer a variety of day trips close to Melbourne.
A three year old boy leads his mum and younger brother through the forest near Grants Picnic Ground.

Family activities

Stash some supplies into a back pack and take the family out for a day trip and in only a short drive from Melbourne you can be surrounded by nature.

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.

Find a Licensed Tour Operator

How to get there

Yarra River

Need to know

Yarra River

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.

  • 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 Closed

    Big Peninsula Stepping Stones closed due to flood damage. 

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Sites

    Notice to River Users - river closures, works, and events

    As Waterway Manager under the Marine Safety Act 2010 Parks Victoria wishes to advise the following waterway closures and activities on the Yarra River, Maribyrnong River and Victoria Harbour.           

    Attachments: NTRU June 12 (619KB)

  • Yarra River - Charles Grimes Bridge to Spencer St Bridge (Yarra River)

    Shallow Waters - River Channel Downstream of Charles Grimes Bridge

    The 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.

Parks Victoria

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