Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published September 22nd 2012
A riverside stroll between Melbourne's historic boathouses
Melbourne is spoiled for choices when it comes to gorgeous walks beside a river - for of course Melbourne is built on the banks not only of the meandering Yarra, but also the Maribynong, Moonee Ponds and Merri Creeks - in fact, there are also many underground creeks running hidden below our built streetscape. However, for a really lovely day walk on the banks of the Yarra, I recommend exploring some of the riverside paths which run between Fairfield Boat House in Fairfield and Studley Park Boathouse in Kew.
Both of these historic boathouses are over 100 years old and are the only remaining boathouses from an original seven. Each of them offer a variety of dining options, but favourite of course are the Devonshire teas (scones, cream and tea or coffee) and delicious ice creams. Boats can be hired from either boat house, though have to be returned to the same boathouse at this stage, so unless you have your own boat, you can't paddle one-way between them. However, you can certainly walk between them, following the well made paths which run beside the river.
If you are keen for a full day walk, you can make it a full day out by walking between the two boathouses - either there and back if you don't want to think too hard about navigating, or you an make it into a circular walk. The Melways (maps 2D, 30, 44 and 45) show sufficient detail for the walk. Start at the Fairfield Boathouse (carpark entrance off Heidelberg Road Melways J12), cross over the high level pipebridge and turn right after the bridge to join the dirt track which follows along the left hand side of the river until you reach Fling Fox Lookout and the Bellbrid Picnic Area. From here you rise up to walk beside Yarra Boulevard for a way before descending back down beside the river and passing Kanes Suspension Bridge to have a well deserved rest at Studley Park Boathouse.
Cross over Kane's Bridge and turn left to walk along the right hand side of the Yarra past the old site of Deep Rock Swimming club, to Dights Falls. Turn right at Merri Creek and walk under the Eastern Freeway then follow the Main Yarra Trail on the right bank of Merri Creek. Just after the old Fairfield Hospital, turn right to join the path which crosses Yarra Boulevard once more and goes beside the NMIT Campus through Fairfield Park back to the Boathouse. All in all a good 12km stroll to keep you entertained. Dogs are welcome, but must be on leads within 20 metres of the Yarra and where signed. Enjoy! Oh, and don't forget an ice-cream at the end (or start, or middle) is a just reward for all your hard labour!