I've been around Melbourne by foot, by tram, by bus and by train and I always take walks along the Yarra but I've never actually been on it. So I thought it was high time that I try a ferry along the river. So when my mum paid me a visit, the two of us decided to go on a mini expedition down the Yarra. After looking at the different ferry services online I decided to go with Melbourne River Cruises.
Our destination was Williamstown and our port of departure was right in front of the Southgate shopping center. 'All aboard' and soon we were cruising down the river, seated comfortably within the small ferry.
A round trip costs 29 AUD for an adult, 25 AUD for concession and 11 AUD for a child and 50AUD for family. You have the choice of sitting inside, snug and cosy or if you want 'the wind in your hair' you can always sit on the open deck area for better views.
And as you stream your way down the river the captain gives bit of a commentary about the sights we pass by. And honestly, even if you've been around Melbourne for a while there's always some new snippet of information to learn, be it where all the million dollar homes are or the particular story behind a building design.
The views change from the sky-rises of Southbank to the various bridges that span across the Yarra from Bolte Bridge to Webb Bridge. Soon enough you'll be travelling through docklands and the port with dozens of containers and cranes greeting you in true industrial fashion. The views change further as you travel further up nearing Williamstown. You will see more people along the banks and you will pass the science works museum. There are drop-offs available on request to the Museum.
As you reach Williamstown the bay opens up and dozens of boats welcome you. If you are interested in boats and ships be sure to ask the captain for the facts and figures of each vessel. There was quite a few passengers who got excited by the different ship models.
In fact the entire area looked like a beautiful painting of some sort with hues of blues with boats dotted in between. (A good place for painting) A happy seaside town. And thus the first leg of the journey ended and we were free to explore Williamstown as we will.
Ferry services run roughly each hour until 4.30pm (weekends) and 3.30pm (weekdays) so after your adventure (And some really good seafood) in Williamstown head back to the same place you were dropped off for the ride back. You can also do a one way trip and take the train back home. Did I mention there is complimentary tea and coffee available aboard the ferries as well?
They also run a floating restaurant which can often be seen docked along the river. This might be worthwhile experiencing too for a night out with a difference.
Melbourne from the river is a different perspective than is when experienced from land. So I highly recommend this if you are interested in discovering Melbourne from multiple angles. It is also a good day trip.