Always on the hunt for creative, fun, and interesting places, events, and experiences.
Published April 26th 2013
Spend the Afternoon Island-hopping in Melbourne
Melbourne has some beautiful rivers, lakes, and a stunning bay, but surprisingly few islands. In fact, there are only three, and they are not islands in the traditional sense.
Nestled in a bend in the Yarra River, Herring Island is a secret island getaway for art lovers, walkers and birdwatchers. It is fairly small at only 8 acres, and was created in 1928 by cutting a channel through an old quarry. It was originally leased to the scouts, who named it after their patron Sir Edmund Herring. It is now managed by Parks Victoria.
Access to the island is from a weekend punt service that leaves from Como landing, between December and April. On the island, there is a picnic ground, and a sculpture trail. Sculptures include works by Ellen Jose, Jill Peck, and Andy Goldsworthy. The old scout hall has also been renovated to become the Herring Island Galley.
Herring Island Punt. GailLeenstra/Wikimedia Commons
Coode Island was an island at the meeting of the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers, to the west of the Melbourne CBD. It is now part of the Port of Melbourne, and includes industrial sites, rail yards, chemical storage facilities, and docks. The city has grown and developed around this complex, and it is still an impressive sight.
Coode Island has an interesting history. In 1909 it was a quarantine station for animals, and then became a sanatorium for contagious diseases. In the 1920s, it was a town full of hermits and abandoned ships, but was eventually occupied by an Aircraft production company and their operations. In 1960, it was converted in to a storage centre for petrochemicals, and in 1991, there was a large explosion on the island.
The pylon underneath the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge has been converted to Ponyfish Island. A floating cafe is accessible from stairs that descend from the bridge. The island is adorned with specimens and diagrams of exotic flora and fauna, and is a lovely place to sip coffee and stare out at the Yarra River. The café also has a range of cakes and sandwiches at reasonable prices.