I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
Published November 30th 2019
Be your own captain on the Yarra!
It's easier than you think thanks to GoBoat Melbourne, a relatively new company that operates self-drive boats from their berths at Banana Alley next to Queensbridge. No need for a boating license, just common sense and awareness of some basic rules. The boats seat 8, have a picnic table in the middle and are very easy to operate, and being electric, there are are no emissions or diesel smells, so all good for the environment too.
With a group of family or friends, there is no better way to be on the Yarra, be it at lunchtime, the afternoon or early evening. So what's great about being on the Yarra in a GoBoat? It's a slow, leisurely trip, all the better for noticing things around the river that most of us miss during the hustle and bustle of city living. You notice how different the buildings, tall or otherwise, look when seen from this vantage point. You see the sun reflecting off glass covered towers, the shapes of these buildings and how incredibly tall the cranes that help build them really are.
You see the lush green of Birrarung Marr and reflect on the sounds of Federation Bells accompanying your journey towards Richmond, the MCG and further afield Herring Island. You get to be part of the rowing training, without doing any hard work as you watch rowing boats rocket past you being cajoled, or in some cases, yelled at, by their coxes. You admire the rowers' strength, physique, agility and determination, no matter what their age, and just for a fleeting moment consider taking up rowing in the future.
There is so much to see from the Yarra and if you have 2 captains, everyone gets a chance to relax and take in the surroundings. Part of the relaxation could include the picnic that you can bring along as well as a moderate amount of alcohol (1 bottle for 2 people). You can spend between 1-3 hours on the boat and the cost is $109-$269 - divided by 6 or 8 people, a very reasonable price for enjoyment on the Yarra. and if you have a dog, he or she is allowed to come too.
Sustainability is a big part of GoBoat's vision. Every one of the Danish-designed picnic boats is constructed from fibreglass which uses recycled PET bottles instead of virgin glass, and is powered by a state-of-the-art electric motor direct from Germany. No fossil fuels, no mess, no pollution. They also regularly collect rubbish form the Yarra so take all your rubbish with you when you leave the boat.