Trams rattle overhead. Shadows from the Princess Bridge pass by. The Yarra laps at the bow of the kayak. Melbourne Adventure Hub's 2.5 hour City Kayaking Tour lets you experience Melbourne's skyline from a different perspective. The trips are suitable for all ability levels.
I went along on the City Kayak Tour on a sunny Sunday afternoon, picture perfect for kayaking. We met on the banks of the Yarra, opposite Federation Square. Darren, our friendly guide, introduced himself and kitted everyone out with PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices), a kayak and paddles. The group was given a quick safety briefing and skills session before launching into the water. Taking a trip upstream or downstream depends on the weather conditions and tides. We headed downstream, making our way towards the Bolte Bridge. The Yarra hosts a wide range of watercraft, from the Williamstown Ferry to rowing boats. The importance of giving way to larger boats, keeping to the righthand side of the river and staying within 5 metres of the bank was emphasised along the way.
The Yarra River is a key part of Melbourne's history and Darren entertained the group with a smattering of facts and information as we went. It was reassuring to find out that the Yarra is one of the cleanest rivers running through a city in the world, the brown colour of the water is created by suspended silt.
We paddled under the Princess Bridge and were surrounded by Flinders Street Station, the Hamer Hall and Southgate on either side.
Throughout the trip, icons of Melbourne surrounded us on either side. We started by paddling under the Princess Bridge then past the newly renovated Hamer Hall, lively Southbank precinct and Flinders Street Station.
The tour lets you experience Melbourne from a different perspective.
The area around Crown Casino and the Melbourne Aquarium was in full swing with people everywhere. We travelled down to South Wharf and the Docklands where the river's banks are experiencing an explosion of growth with new restaurants, bars and cafes, then continued on towards the Bolte Bridge.
We paddled under the eye catching South Wharf footbridge.
A wonderful part of the trip was seeing people along the banks enjoying various aspects of Melbourne, from the funky moves of the Parkour group at Southgate to the family fishing off the ramp South Wharf. If you want to see what living in Melbourne is all about then this is a great way to do it.
I was lucky, my partner was capable and understood how to steer the boat, which meant that I enjoyed a very relaxed trip. Kayaking requires a bit of co-ordination and teamwork so my hot tip is to share your kayak with someone that you know you work well with. It can be hot on the water so wearing a broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and taking a bottle of water is advised. There is also a high chance you'll get a little wet so bringing a towel and a change of clothes is recommended.
The Melbourne City Kayak Trip is for people aged 12 years and older. It costs $85 per person. For information about this trip or any of the other outdoor adventures organised by Melbourne Adventure Hub you can call them on 1300 182 077 or head to their website.
Gen's 2.5 hour Melbourne City Kayak trip was courtesy of Melbourne Adventure Hub.