Yarra River

Yarra River

Yarra River

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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

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 the all 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.

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Sites

    Notice to river users - river closures, works, and events

    Notice Issued 12th January 2022

    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.

    January 2022 Events
    12 January
    13:30 – 14:30
    15:30 – 16:30
    City of Melbourne Drone Show testing
    Victoria Habour - Situated as a square in the middle of Victoria Harbour 30 meters west of central pier, extending for 280mts west and covering the 280meter width of Victoria Harbour from the outer edge of d’Albora Marina to the outer edge of New Quay West Marina as marked by buoys.

    13 January – 31 January
    1845 – 1915
    2045 – 2245
    Please note following onsite approval single transit lanes will remain open on the southern and northern sides of Victoria Habour for commercial vessels only, during the hours of: 20:45 – 21:20
    21:45 – 22:20
    Closed
    Victoria Habour - Situated as a square in the middle of Victoria Harbour 30 meters west of central pier, extending for 280mts west and covering the 280meter width of Victoria Harbour from the outer edge of d’Albora Marina to the outer edge of New Quay West Marina as marked by buoys.

    Works
    Ongoing
    Banana Alley Wharf maintenance works
    Closed
    Banana Alley Wharf closed for all use and purposes both on land and in water

    4 October – 22 March
    Hydrographic surveying
    Open

    17 January – 1 March
    Botanic Gardens Landing dredging. Disposal site adjacent to Botanic Gardens Landing
    Open
    Botanic Gardens Landing closed – exclusion zone around works at dredging site and disposal site

    20 September – 10 January
    Lynch’s (Smithfield) Bridge works, Maribrynong River
    Open
    Lynch’s Bridge works – updated dates (see appended Gazettal Notice)

    Until December 2022
    Demolition of Western Tip of Central Pier Victoria Harbour
    Open
    Central Pier- Western Tip demolition (see appended Gazettal Notice)

    Please note:
    - There is currently infrastructure berthed alongside Enterprize Wharf.
    - Arbory Afloat is in place alongside Flinders Walk.
    - AVC is in place alongside Sandridge Wharf.
    - Herring Island Meander has sediment build up creating shallow waters around the Island, please proceed with caution or avoid entering if unfamiliar with the area.
    - There is crowd load and berthing restrictions currently in place at Leonda Landing, with 10 person crowd load limit and no berthing on the upstream 5m span of the landing.
    - Herring Island Southern landing is tilted at a steep incline during low tide.

    *All closed river events will be conditional upon publishing of an Activity Exclusion Zone Notice in the Government Gazette in accordance with section 208(2) of the Marine Safety Act 2010. For the purposes of planning and/or operations, river users may assume the river is closed unless otherwise notified, in writing, by Parks Victoria.
    # Event operates under a Flag System. A flag marshal will be positioned at the starting and finishing points of the course to indicate when vessels can proceed through.
    ## See Notice to Rivers Users
    All vessels in the area of activities are advised to travel with caution and to follow any directions given by Parks Victoria Officers. River traffic along these sections of river during event times may encounter delays due to congestion and are urged to maintain a courteous manner toward other river users.
    For further information, contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit Parks Victoria website www.parks.vic.gov.au.
    Marine Safety Act 2010

    Section 211(1)(b)
    NOTICE CONTROLLING NAVIGATION IN THE VICINITY OF WORKS
    Parks Victoria, as the declared waterway manager for the waters of Maribyrnong River upstream of Shepherd Bridge on Footscray Road, makes the following notice under section 211(1)(b)(i) of the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) (the Act).
    For the purposes of the works activity proposed by Fitzgerald Constructions Pty Ltd and AWS Services to undertake maintenance and rehabilitation works on Lynch’s Bridge over Maribyrnong River, the navigation and movement of vessels is prohibited in the waters of the Maribyrnong River as detailed below in Table 1, excluding vessels involved in the works and Parks Victoria vessels.
    Table 1: Lynch’s (Smithfield) Bridge works
    Dates/Stages
    Prohibited Waters
    Open for transit
    Stage 1:
    20 September to 8 November 2021
    Northern spans 1, 2 and 3 closed to river traffic, extending 30 metres upstream and downstream of the bridge to the northern bank
    Southern span - single lane open to river traffic
    Stage 2:
    9 November to 22 December 2021
    Southern spans 3, 4 and 5 closed to river traffic, extending 30 metres upstream and downstream of the bridge to the southern bank
    Northern span - single lane open to river traffic
    Stage 3:
    23 November 2021
    Full width of river extending 30 metres upstream and downstream of the bridge
    Closed
    The prohibited waters will be marked by lit yellow communication buoys, unlit stringline buoys and sign float information buoys on approach from both upstream and downstream. Vessels travelling downstream have right of way.
    Times and dates are subject to change. Changes to times, durations or days will be advertised on Parks Victoria's website and Notice to River Users.
    This notice has effect from 7am on 20 September 2021 to 5pm on 22 December 2021.
    BY ORDER OF PARKS VICTORIA
    Date: 17/09/2021

    Marine Safety Act 2010
    Section 211(1)(b)
    NOTICE CONTROLLING NAVIGATION IN THE VICINITY OF WORKS
    Parks Victoria, as the declared waterway manager for the waters of the Yarra River upstream of the port waters of the Port of Melbourne, makes the following notice under section 211(1)(b)(i) of the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) (the Act) for the purposes of works activity proposed by Australian Venue Co to undertake the installation and fit out of Yarra Botanicals floating bar & eatery.
    The navigation and movement of vessels is prohibited from waters of the Yarra River as detailed below in Table 1, excluding vessels involved in the works and Parks Victoria vessels.
    Table 1: Yarra Botanicals
    Date
    Site
    Prohibited Waters
    22 November 2021 – 13 December 2021
    Prahran Main Drain site, between Cremorne Rail Bridge & Church St Bridge
    Along the southern bank 100 metres wide and extending 15 metres into the river as marked by buoys
    Sandridge Wharf, 30 metres upstream of Sandridge Bridge
    Along the southern bank, extending 100 metres further upstream and 20 metres into the river as marked by buoys
    The prohibited waters will be marked by four (4) lit yellow communication buoys and unlit stringline buoys on approach from upstream and downstream.
    Times and dates are subject to change. Changes to times, durations or days will be advertised on Parks Victoria's website and Notice to River Users.
    This notice has effect from 6:00am on 22 November 2021 until 5:00pm on 13 December 2021.
    BY ORDER OF PARKS VICTORIA
    Date:17/11/21

    NOTICE CONTROLLING NAVIGATION IN THE VICINITY OF WORKS
    Parks Victoria, as the declared waterway manager for the waters of the Yarra River upstream of the port waters of the Port of Melbourne, makes the following notice under section 211(1)(b)(i) of the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) (the Act) for the purposes of works activity proposed by Fitzgerald Constructions Pty Ltd to undertake the demolition of the Western Tip of Central Pier within Victoria Harbour.
    The navigation and movement of vessels is prohibited from waters of Victoria Harbour, Yarra River, as detailed below in Table 1, excluding vessels involved in the works and Parks Victoria vessels.
    Table 1: Victoria Harbour prohibited waters
    Dates
    Work Site
    Prohibited Waters
    29 November 2021 – 23 December 2022
    Western tip of Central Pier, Victoria Harbour
    Extending 30 metres from either the northern, southern or western side of the pier, as marked by yellow “exclusion zone” buoys
    Adjacent to vacant MAB site (West of New Quay West Marina), Victoria Harbour
    Extending approximately 30 metres from the embankment of the MAB Site into the harbour, to a length of 150 metres along the shoreline as marked by yellow “exclusion zone” buoys
    The exclusion zone will be marked by six (6) water communication buoys and a silt curtain installed around works area. Floating information signage will be installed upon approach to advise vessels of no wash around the work sites.
    Times and dates are subject to change. Changes to times, durations or days will be advertised on Parks Victoria's website and Notice to River Users.
    This notice has effect from 7:00am on 29 November 2021 to 6:00pm on 23 December 2022.
    BY ORDER OF PARKS VICTORIA
    Date: 25/11/21

    Advisory Note to commercial vessel operators on the Yarra River – South Wharf Landing Berthing arrangements
    Parks Victoria proposes to amend the berthing arrangements for South Wharf Landing. The current berthing classification for South Wharf Landing, as listed in the Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules for Victorian Waters Version 33 (VOZR), is ‘4 hour limit’. Parks Victoria proposes to amend the classification in the VOZR by creating two designated 30 metres berths at South Wharf Landing, with the following classifications:
    South Wharf Landing - Berth No. 1 - 4 hour limit
    South Wharf Landing - Berth No. 2 - Authorised commercial vessels only
    South Wharf Landing Berth No 1 will be the downstream berth, and Berth No 2 will be the upstream berth. Parks Victoria has requested the amendment to the Director Transport Safety via Maritime Safety Victoria. If/when the amendment is approved by the Director Transport Safety, a further advisory note will be sent to all commercial vessel operators.
    The reason for the alternation to the berthing classification is to allow Berth No. 2 to be used exclusively by commercial vessel operators who are issued a berthing licence for Berth No. 2.

    Attachments: NTRU January 12 (414KB)

    Botanic Gardens Landing Closure

    Botanic Gardens Landing will be closed for all use and purposes on land and on water between 24 January and 24 February 2022 due to dredging works. Please ensure to stay clear of the exclusion zone and to give way to all river traffic travelling in a downstream direction past the exclusion zone. For more information - see attached information sheet.

    Attachments: Botanic Gardens Landing Closure - Information (432KB)

    Shallow waters - Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park

    The Herring Island meander on the Yarra River has reduced water depth as a result of built up sediments.  Please ensure that you navigate this area with caution as certain sections have encroached into the main section of the river (near Como and Wesley Rowing landing).

    Further updates and changes to conditions will be provided as needed. 

  • Yarra River

    Lower Yarra River Maintenance Dredging Program- Dredging Campaign 2021/22

    The second year of dredging under the current four-year Maintenance Dredging Program will commence on 15 October and be completed 31 March. Dredging will occur at four sites between Botanic Gardens Landing and Burnley Harbour. See attached River User Update for more information and the current Notice to River Users for detailed information on safe navigation and exclusion zones related to the works. 

    Attachments: Edition 2 - River User Update Yarra Maintenance Dredging Program Sep 2021 (1,069KB)

Parks Victoria

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