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 in the area
Bushwalking, four-wheel driving, horse riding, kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking are just some of the many activities you can experience in Victoria's parks.
If you want to try something new or meet some like-minded people on your next visit to a park, contact a licensed tour operator.
Parks Victoria licenses tour operators who are experts in these activities and more. They will help you get the most out of your visit.
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.
Notices Affecting Multiple Sites
Stay safe this summer around lakes and riversInland waterways may have hazards such as strong fast-flowing currents, colder than expected water temperature and submerged branches and debris. Always heed warning signs and advice even if you are not planning to go in the water and be aware of changing weather conditions. Always wear a lifejacket when boating, fishing or using a watercraft. Flash flooding can occur quickly due to heavy rainfall. Water levels may rise quickly and without warning.
Free Punt service to Herring Island Environmental Sculpture ParkThe free public Punt service to Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park will begin on Saturday 2 January 2021 and will end on Easter Monday 5 April 2021. Parks Victoria only operates this service on weekends and public holidays ( Australia Day, Labour Day, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday) and any midweek access to the island needs to be organised via other vessel providers.Operating times will be: 11am to 5pm sharp.*Please note the first Punt at 11am will be from Como Landing and last Punt service leaving the Island will be at 5pm.Due to COVID 19 restrictions of social distancing 1.5m, numbers will be restricted to 7 people at a time on the Punt , so please be patient as delays getting to and from the island may occur.Como Landing can be accessed from a path that runs down to the river from the Main Yarra Trail, Alexander Avenue, South Yarra (just down from café Kanteen).Other conditions to watch for:
Things to see and do:
- snakes are present on the island, please keep a watch out.
- the paths are uneven gravel surfaces, some with swale drains which can make it difficult to traverse.
- Please take your rubbish home with you.
- Environmental sculptures
- Picnic and BBQ
Notices Affecting Multiple Parks
Notice to river users - river closures, works, and eventsAs 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.