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Herring Island on the Yarra

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by Janice Heath (subscribe)
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Published March 23rd 2015
Go bush in the city
Didn't know the Yarra boasted an island or two? Neither did I. But that's not unusual, according to our friendly pilot on the Parks Victoria punt, which ferries visitors on the very brief crossing from Como Landing in South Yarra to Herring Island. Apparently the island is quite a popular spot for tourists to visit.

herring island sculpture bush park steerage jill peck stone
On the Sculpture Trail - Steerage by Jill Peck


One of the attractions of the island is its proximity to Melbourne, and the bustle all around, including the South Eastern Freeway. It's almost surreal to visit this little oasis of bush in the midst of high-density suburbia.

parks victoria punt yarra river ferry
The island is a short ride away


A sculpture trail features artworks made from natural materials, and there is also an art gallery which holds exhibitions and events over the summer. A small room in the gallery hosts some interesting old photographs and historical notes, from Melbourne's earliest days.

art gallery herring island yarra parks victoria
Entrance to the Art Gallery


An expansive lawn area offers a couple of picnic shelters with free barbecues and water. Toilets are available at the back of the gallery.

bbq picnic shelter herring island park
Picnic and bbq area


art sculpture herring island melbourne tanderrum ellen jose
Tanderrum by Ellen Jose


art sculpture ball stone herring island
Stone House by Andy Goldsworthy


The punt to the island runs from Como Landing (Alexandra Avenue, South Yarra), and costs $2 per person, or $5 per family. Note that the punt generally only runs over summer, so check Parks Victoria for days and times. Car parking is available in Alexandra Avenue. Alternatively, if you have your own boat, you can take yourself to Herring Island see Melway ref: 2M C2.

For more on the history of the island and its flora and fauna, see the Herring Island website. The island also has a Friends Group, should you be interested in joining in on their conservation days.

herring island yarra river bush park
A glimpse of the Yarra through the trees


Como Landing, where the punt runs from is very close to Kanteen, where you can find some really good eats, if you don't come already prepared for a picnic or barbecue on the island. It's also a good spot to watch the river and the canoeists go by.

avocado toast egg kanteen yarra river south yarra
Brunch at Kanteen


yarra river south yarra canoe canoeists trees
Canoeists on the Yarra


Herring Island is well worth putting on the to-do list, for a bit of a different day out without travelling too far.
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Why? A little piece of bushland in the city
When: The punt runs in Summer. Otherwise you need your own boat.
Where: Como Landing, South Yarra
Cost: Punt $2-$5
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