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Yarra River Trail

Home > Melbourne > Escape the City | Free | Nature | Outdoor | Parks | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Sue Williams (subscribe)
Writer, bushwalker, dessert enthusiast. Author of the Rusty Bore Mysteries. More info here:
Published June 7th 2012
Bushland close to the city
Bushland close to the city

Melbourne is full of pockets of bushland surprisingly close to the city centre. One of them is the walking trail alongside the Yarra River, called the Main Yarra Trail . Like its neighbour, the Merri Creek trail, the Main Yarra Trail is an enjoyable bushland path just on the doorstep of Melbourne's city centre.

Starting at Southbank in the city, this shared pedestrian and bike path follows the Yarra all the way to the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail in Templestowe, near Pettys Orchard (Melway 22 B11).

The whole trail (map here) goes for 35 km, although you can easily do shorter sections.

One of my favourite sections is the walk from Studley Park Boathouse in Fairfield to Loys Paddock Reserve in Burnley. It's around 12 km return and takes about three to four hours. Along the way, you encounter tranquil bushland, peaceful views of the river, the odd vista of the city towers and bizarre sections of tycoon residences perched high above the river.

The boathouse is a good starting point - it's a lovely spot in its own right and a good place to pick up a sandwich or snacks for your walk.

Studley Park Boathouse
Studley Park Boathouse

The walking trail then crosses to the north side of the river on the footbridge at the boathouse and takes you west towards Coben Oval. With the path surrounded by bushland, you'd never know you're so close to the city.

There are lots of points of interest along the way. The path takes you by the site of the 1918 World Record Dive by Alick Wickham – a terrifying 62.7 metres from the cliffs opposite.

It also passes the Yarra's junction with Merri Creek, an important gathering site for Aborigines in the past and now the site of the peaceful Koori Garden. You also go by the Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Children's Farm.

The path is wide, mostly flat and in most areas is sealed, suitable for bikes, wheelchairs and prams.

After the convent, cross the river on the footbridge and keep following the river south-east through Kew. At the Walmer Street bridge you cross the river again. From the bridge, you can see the Studley Park Vineyard, only 4 kilometres from the city centre.

Still following the river, you can now spot any number of tycoon-style residences perched on the Kew side of the river, many with boats and private piers.

A modest shack by the river
A modest shack by the river

Navigation on this walk is easy – you just follow the river, then turn around and head back the way you came, once you've had enough.

Fancy your own boat?
Fancy your own boat?

There's patchy shade so a hat and sunscreen is useful. Take plenty of drinking water in summer too, although you're never too far from a cafe.
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Why? It offers instant respite from the city
When: Anytime
Where: Studley Park Boathouse, Yarra River, Kew, Victoria, Australia
Cost: Free
Great selection of walks. Cheers
By wiesn - reader
Thursday, 24th of January @ 06:24 am
New reader comment. Waiting for approval.
By beth. - reader
Friday, 11th of April @ 12:15 am
Thanks Sue.
I live nearby and didn’t know there was so much to see, or distance to cover, on the trail.
By Gerii Caulfield - senior reviewer
Saturday, 10th of July @ 10:47 pm
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