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A Walk Along the Yarra River

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by Anne-Marie Leon (subscribe)
I'm a freelance artist/writer living in Seattle USA and have been temporarily visiting my home city of Melbourne. If you like my article please click "like" at the end. Follow me if you want to read more of my work.
Published October 2nd 2011
Although many locals enjoy making derogatory comments about the muddy Yarra River it is truly a fascinating delight to visitors. Yesterday I decided to make my way to the CBD from my accommodation in Hawthorn along the Capital city trail which follows the river. It seemed as if 9km would be too far but the time slipped by as I was totally mesmerized by the busy activity. It was immediately evident that it would be an educational journey as there were frequent informative plaques. Soon I felt like an expert on the indigenous history of the area.

The cacophony of the noisy tropical parrots in the trees made it unnecessary for me to resort to my MP3 player and music option I considered. Immediately, too, I realized that "Missy", the lost parrot portrayed on posters along the path, would not be coming home any time soon as the tree top environment along the river is a heaven for birds of all types. These trees, mainly eucalypts, seem to embrace the slow moving river with their weeping reach. Soon I heard a faint tinkling. As I listened more intently & followed the sound I crossed the gracious Alexandria parade to the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.

In the canopy the seductive bell-like tones continued. Distracted by a rustic stone stairway that disappeared behind low growing shrubs I clambered up them to view a quaint cottage. I ventured inside and volunteers informed me that this was the original gardener's cottage of the Botanical Gardens. Now it is the Plant Craft Cottage. Also they told me that the tinkling bird call was the spring invitation of Bellbirds which inhabit the bush land in Victoria. They were helpful and informative, showing me a picture of the diminutive ochre coloured bird. (or Bell Miner) ~ Manoria melanophrys . There are tours of the Gardens in including the Bird, Binocular and Botanics tour during October and November. Visit the website for more details.

Not wanting to dilly dally around for too long I collected a brochure intending to follow up regarding tours. I wandered past a delightful garden with a romantic grotto and waterfall that is a tribute to the women's labour movement. The Temple of the Winds with its unusual stag head ferns columnar decoration was a refreshingly breezy resting place. To find information regarding the history of this monument it's necessary to read under the rotunda.

Back on track on the Capital City Trail and headed towards the CBD I observed a diverse population using the trail. By now it was lunchtime and joggers and cyclists were dodging strollers but everyone found breath to chat. Surprisingly there were many unfamiliar accents suggesting a delightful exotic quality. Tourists posed for each other to snap shots in front of the city skyline. On such a delightful sunny spring day in Melbourne the trail is a hub of excitement but I suspect that it's an ongoing cultural event. I passed by several outdoor cafes overlooking the gardens and river. These cafes were full of happy smiling faces.

The river provided a source of interest as large tourist occupied boats maneuvered along the broad expanse of slowly moving waters. Wondering what beckoned up river I determined to explore that option another day but I suspected that these barge-like vessels would not be visiting the tiny Herring Island that I spied a short while ago. There was a sign at a small dock indicating a shuttle ferry service to the island which was formed over a period from dredged silt from river floods. Visit this website.

Finally despite my resolution not to be distracted I crossed the Princess Bridge on Swanston St leading past Flinders Station and realized that it was time to head back to my abode. It had taken most of the day just following my whims to arrive at my destination. Exploring the city proper would have to wait for another day after all.

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Where: Anywhere beside the Yarra River
Thank you for sharing your walk along the Yarra River, Anne-Marie. Your account was interesting, well-written and very descriptive. You've have great style. I can hear your lovely voice as I read your account. All the Best! Sher :)
By Anonymous
Friday, 30th of September @ 03:23 am
Anne-Marie, that was so much fun. It is 3 yrs since I have been there but I know every part of the gardens, so could see, hear & smell it with you. Enjoy!!!! Be sure to 'do' St Kilda!!!! love trish
By Anonymous
Friday, 30th of September @ 03:42 pm
Ater that, I can only say I wish Ilived in Melbourne.
By Anonymous
Friday, 30th of September @ 10:08 pm
I'll be sure to cover St Kilda. Thank you very much for your positive comments.
By Anonymous
Friday, 30th of September @ 11:08 pm
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