Herring Island


Herring Island

The island is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape in the 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.

Herring Island is a small 3.2ha artificial island located on the Birrarung “Yarra River” in South Yarra Naarm, approximately 3kms from the city centre.

To get to the island, catch the free punt service (weekends and public holidays from January until Easter) or make your own way there in a boat, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. 

The island is best known for its unique sculpture park. The trail that weaves through these sculptures is a must-do for anyone visiting the island. 

Herring Island forms an environmental corridor of wildlife and regional vegetation. The island consists of indigenous forest and grassland communities. The dominant vegetation includes River Red Gum around the perimeter, Silver Wattle, Manna Gum, Drooping Sheaoke, Southern Mahogany, Wallaby and Spear Grass, Chocolate and Bulbine Lilies, and native Everlasting Daisies.

The varieties of birds that occupy this vegetation commonly seen include Honeyeaters, Willie Wagtails, Cormorants, Darters, Kookaburras, Magpies, Wattlebirds and Herons. Waterbirds such as the Pacific Black Duck, Maned Ducks and Dusky Moorhens shelter and forage within the reeds. Possums, lizards, and snakes are also found on the island.

Herring Island history

Herring Island is the only substantial island on the Yarra River. Originally a basalt quarry in the 1800s, the island was formed by excavating the tip of Richmond, changing the natural course of the river.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Australian Scout Association leased the island then known as Como Island, which was renamed after the then President, Sir Edmund Herring. In the 1990s the island became managed by government and, 1996, Parks Victoria in association with Maudie Palmer developed the concept for an Environmental Sculpture Park. Unique sculptures were added to the island's landscape to provide a retreat from the urban environment of the city. In 1997, Maudie Palmer repurposed the Scout Hall into a gallery, which was transformed by architect Gregory Burgess.


Things To Do


Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park

Follow Herring Island's environmental sculpture trail. The trail weaves through 9 unique sculptures interwoven into the parks’ landscape created by internationally renowned artists. These sculptures celebrate nature and were created using only natural materials.

Barbecuing and picnicking at Herring Island

At the eastern end of the island near the southern landing, you will find the grassy picnic area which contains free electric barbecues, drinking fountains, picnic shelters and nearby toilet facilities. Bring along a picnic and make a day out of your visit with family and friends.

Herring Island flora and fauna

Herring Island forms an environmental corridor of wildlife and regional vegetation. Wander the indigenous forest and grassland landscape and keep your eyes peeled for a huge variety of birds along with possums, lizards, and snakes.


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

Herring Island

Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park is accessible by boat, canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard. Licensed Tour Operators also provide transport options to the island.

On weekends and public holidays in the summertime, catch the punt across from Como Landing from the first weekend of January until the Easter long weekend (Easter Monday included).


When to go

Enjoy a picnic on the lawn, meander along the sculpture trail and keep your eyes peeled for the local animals taking shade under the trees.

Need to know

Herring Island

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

    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. 

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