The Yarra River

The Yarra River At NightThere aren't too many cities in Australia, or in the world, where you can walk along a large river, be surrounded by leafy parklands and still be within minutes from the metropolis. The Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia is a rare exception, running for 242km and boasting the largest port in the southern hemisphere.

The river boat cruises in Melbourne Victoria tend to take two main courses. The upper river journey incorporates Herring Island, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the city's main sporting arenas. The downstream track travels past the port of Melbourne, the Casino and the World Trade Centre. Both tracks could be seen in half a day. With a range of river cruises in Melbourne to choose from, visitors can find enclosed and air-conditioned boats, luxury cruise lines, restaurant boats or old steam boats ripe with nostalgia.

For affordability, a Yarra River shuttle service stops at several well-known destinations, including Federation Square, Southbank, and the City Aquarium. Guests can hop on and off at the different stops over the course of the day. The Yarra is also home to water taxis, private and corporate boat charters and gondola's.

Those who'd prefer to enjoy the Yarra River from the bank will love the varied landscape and offerings which line the river shore. From the ritzy restaurants along Southbank boulevard to the native bushlands, rowing clubs and local running tracks, experience how Yarra River acts as Melbourne's lifeblood.

For more than half a century, the river has come alive each March as Victorians celebrate the famous Melbourne Moomba Festival. Steeped in tradition and heart, the water festival still retains its community spirit and diverse range of food, art and sports events (including the much loved and slightly eccentric Birdman Rally). Line up your next trip to Melbourne with the annual Moomba Festival and you're guaranteed an exciting local experience.