I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published January 27th 2016
There are a lot of walking tours to choose from in Melbourne; guided tours and self-guided tours, paid tours and free tours. What sets this one apart is the depth it goes into on the subject of Melbourne's art scene.
The Yarra River Arts Walk is aimed at anyone interested in arts. It's for people who don't know much about Melbourne's cultural side and want to see what's out there, people who want to admire all the pretty sculptures, and people who are willing to spend a whole day (or more) exploring the vast amount of institutions and galleries listed. Some of the attractions along the route include public sculptures, notable architectural buildings and important institutions like museums and galleries.
The walk starts outside Southgate, with Deborah Halpern's Ophelia. It then enters the centre for a look at some of the paintings (near the lifts) and sculptures inside.
Following Southgate, the walk then has you roam around the roads to the south, looking at key cultural institutions like those that make up the Arts Centre, Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the Kings Domain, and many theatres and galleries (this part is a bit of a trek if you're not actually interesting in going inside the buildings right now, so have a glance at what's coming up before you leave the river area).
Heading back towards the Yarra River, you pass by Eureka Tower. The gold at the top of this tower represents the goldfields on which Melbourne's prosperity is based, while the bees at the bottom (found on the river facing side of the building) represent the energy and enterprise taking place inside the building.
The gold panels at the top of Eureka Tower (seen from Federation Square)
The walk finally ends in Federation Square, where you find cultural institutions like the The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, and some impressive contemporary architecture (you can take a tour here to discover the story behind it all).
If you've just done the ninety minute version of this walk (meaning you've noted galleries and other sites to revisit, but didn't go inside them today) then Federation Square is also the start of many other self-guided walking tours you may also like to do.
The City of Melbourne has a series of seven free self-guided walks. One of these, On the Waterfront, covers some of the same ground as the Yarra River Precinct Arts Walk, but with more of a focus on history. Other walks focus on things like the parks north and south of the river, or the laneways.
To access a PDF of the Yarra River Precinct Arts Walk, click here.