The Fairfield Boathouse dates back to the early 1900s – although it has not been in continuous use all that time. In its current capacity it has been operating since 1985 with only brief closures for renovations – the most recent of which ended in November 2010. The renovations have ensured the Boathouse is serviceable and convenient for modern-day patrons, without loosing any of the charm of the original building.
The surrounding gardens are very pretty and there are several areas close to the water that make nice picnic spots. If driving or catching the train, you may like to bring a picnic hamper and a rug and have a picnic before hiring a boat and going for a row.
If cycling and you don't fancy weighing your bike down with picnic paraphernalia then lunch at the Fairfield Boathouse restaurantprior to hiring a boat is an excellent alternative.
On warm days, the boats can be in high demand, so it may be best to take the time to reserve the boat before you eat.
The section of the Yarra that the Fairfield Boathouse is on is wide and very calm. There are four types of boats which can be hired. The most suited to a relaxing, post (or pre) lunch row is the "Gentlemen's Rowing Skiff". These skiffs are replicas of 19th century Thames pleasure boats. They comfortably seat 4 people and can be maneuvered with a minimum of effort and a total absence of skill or coordination (I'm speaking from personal experience!). Boats can be hired by the hour, and this is probably enough time to enjoy being on the water in the boat. If the day is hot, don't forget to bring hats and drinking water – although the banks of the river have plenty of trees, there are sections of your row in which you will be exposed to the sun.