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Yarra Trail Walk to the CBD

Home > Melbourne > Adventure | Free | Fun Things To Do | Outdoor | Walks
by Mia Ferreira (subscribe)
Born in Madeira, raised in Sydney, living in Melbourne and dreaming of Bali...
Published October 16th 2018
I always seem to take the long way to get somewhere - so this part of the Yarra Trail Walk was a perfect fit.

Starting behind Melbourne Girls High School, on a gorgeous Spring Saturday morning, I set off in the direction of the CBD. While the river was crowded with rowers, the path is not as busy - except for the odd quick passing cyclist or runner. I was ready for a long leisurely walk.

Yarra City Trail to the city
Yarra City Trail to the city

The path twists and turns and as I wind my way along, I begin to wonder if I'm actually going anywhere?!

Passing busy roads and under various bridges, the view of the river is often hidden by trees and bushes. When I do see the river and peer across its brown murky water, there are homes of huge proportions with tennis courts and private jetty's looking back at me suspiciously.

Yarra City Trail view
Yarra City Trail view
Yarra City Trail view
Yarra Trail views

Then I hit the noisy freeway. While partially blocked by a wall on to my right, it's still fairly loud so I pick up the pace, trying to out-walk the chaos and busy-ness.

Passing underneath the historic Church Street and Punt Road bridges, it's certainly not the most scenic walk to take - but I press on determined to make it to the end.

Yarra City Trail view
Yarra City Trail
Yarra City Trail view
Bridges, roads and powerlines...

The path changes from the concrete two-lane bike path, into a long floating platoon sitting mere centimetres off the rivers' surface. There are gates at either side, preventing people from entering this section of the path during wet, flooded or dangerous conditions.

Beside this path, under yet another bridge I discover Burnley Boulder Walls - three climbing walls that I almost mistook for a homeless shelter thanks to the random furniture and worn out gym equipment that's scattered around. But there was an official council sign explaining that this was yet another of Melbourne's hidden gems!!

Burnley Bouldering Walls
Burnley Bouldering Walls
Burnley Bouldering Walls
Burnley Bouldering Walls

I emerge onto the pale dirt path behind the white domes of AAMI Park stadium, and the outlook finally seems to be improving. The narrow bike path hemmed in by trees and river on one side and the freeway wall on the other, are finally replaced by lovely green grass, welcoming benches and water fountains - inviting you to sit, replenish and enjoy.

Yarra City Trail
An we are still in Richmond!
Looking at Melbourne CBD from Birrung Marr
Looking at Melbourne CBD from Birrung Mar

Reaching the Birrung Mar hill and I see the angular shapes of the ACMI building coming up. It's been more than 1.5 hours and I swear that I'll take the direct route next time... but will I really?

Or will I just find another equally long and indirect way to avoid one of the 3 trams, trains and cheap Uber pool options that would get me into the CBD in 15 minutes? I guess some of us just like the adventure...

Started: Melbourne Girls High, Yarra Blvd, Richmond
Ended: MCEC (or continue on to Docklands if you wish)
Distance: 11.2km to the MCEC
Time: allow 2 hours (go early in the morning of late afternoon to avoid the heat)
Bring: water and a hat (limited shade on this walk)

More info:

A quick Yarra Trail selfie
A quick Yarra Trail selfie
Yarra Trail view
River on one side, freeway on the other...
arriving at AAMI Park more than 1 hour later
arriving at AAMI Park more than 1 hour later

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