Yarra Valley Parklands
Yarra Valley Parklands extend along the Yarra River and provide visitors with a wide range of recreational opportunities, from picnicking to canoeing and even camping.
The parks include Westerfolds, Banksia, Birrarrung and Candlebark parks, Yarra Flats, Sweeneys Flat and Longridge Park Camp.
The parklands form a significant 'backbone' of interconnecting trails, linear parks, wetlands and waterways throughout the metropolitan area. The ongoing effort revegetating the parklands, mostly with the aid of valued community groups planting about 30,000 trees per year, has seen the return of a number of significant wildlife species.
Things to do in the area
WildlifeThis park is well known for iconic Australian wildlife. Keep your eye out for:
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
Yarra Valley Parklands
When you're there
In 1929 it was recognised that rapid urban development in Melbourne after the 1880s had resulted in a lack of parklands to meet community needs. Finally in 1971 the state government announced the 1430ha Yarra Valley Park as a vital wildlife corridor and natural recreational space for Melburnians.
Before European settlement the whole Yarra Valley area was part of the Wurundjeri tribe territory. In 1847 the area which is now Westerfolds Park was purchased from the Crown.
In the early 1930s the Turner Family bought the land and built the ‘Manor’ in 1936. By the 1950s the growing population had pushed most of the large-scale farmers and orchardists out of the surrounding area, but residential and industrial development did not occur mainly because of the threat of flooding. In the 1970s plans to create a residential estate were strongly opposed by the community and the state government purchased the land in 1973; to meet the growing need for public open space.
The park was officially opened in November 1984.
In 1841 a punt service was established across the river at Banksia Park forming a key crossing point for the area that encouraged the clearing and development of the surrounding land. The first bridge was built in 1960.
The name ‘Birrarrung’ is derived from an Aboriginal name for the Yarra River; ‘Bay-rayrung’ meaning ‘river of mists’. Stone chips, flakes and an axe head found in the park are remnants of large gatherings of the local Aboriginal people, the Wurundjeri. Because of the constant threat of flooding, residential and industrial development did not occur at this location.
The Yarra Flats areas was a popular site for Aboriginal gatherings of the Wurundjeri people up until the 1950’s. From the 1830s the land was claimed by the state and sold as prime agricultural land. The fertile soils provided excellent conditions for growing wheat and barley.
Need to know
Yarra Valley Parklands
Visiting a park can be more of a challenge for people with disabilities, however in Victoria there are a wide range of facilities to help people of all abilities enjoy our wonderful parks around the state.
Assistance dogs are welcome in Parks Victoria parks and reserves. Entry requirements apply for parks and reserves that are usually dog prohibited, such as national parks.
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.
Birrarung Park (Yarra Valley Parklands)
Birrarung Park Playground ClosedThe playground at Birrarung Park is closed due to safety concerns.Parks Victoria apologises for any inconvenience caused.
Yarra Flats (Yarra Valley Parklands)
Yarra Flats Toilets ClosedToilets closed due to safety concerns.
Banksia Off-lead Dog Park (Yarra Valley Parklands)
Banksia Park - Dog Park ClosedThe Banksia Park fenced off lead dog park area is currently closed due to tree risk and damage from floods in Oct 2022. Tree management works are due to commence on February 27th. The off lead dog park will reopen once these and other risk management works are completed by late March 2023. Dog walking is permitted at Banksia Park outside of the dog off lead area however dogs must be kept on lead at all times.
How we keep it special
Parks Victoria is proud to be a key partner in the implementation of the Yarra Strategic Plan, Burndap Birrarung burndap umarkoo. Delivering the plan is a Victorian Government commitment to protect our treasured Yarra River, Birrarung, and its parklands for future generations.
Yarra Flats Park
Yarra Flats Park in Eaglemont is popular with walkers, cyclists, picnickers and birdwatchers. Parks Victoria undertook community consultation to test community support for proposals for the park which include: revegetation and new walking paths; an Impressionist Lab Art Gallery and Education Centre proposed by Banyule City Council; a tree-based adventure course proposed by Parks Victoria and Ecoline; and a stormwater wetland proposed by Melbourne Water.
A revised concept plan for the northern section of Yarra Flats Park has been developed to incorporate feedback from community consultation.