Summer is around the corner, and is there anything better than sitting beside the Yarra with a drink and some nibbles? Well, yes, actually there is...
You can be right on the water, drinking and nibbling, or enjoying a whole meal for that matter.
Our river may be among the smaller of the world’s great waterways, but its water operators are thick on the ground (err, I mean water). From a simple water taxi ride to reach a concert at Hisense Arena or the Australian Open, through to the floating restaurant, Spirit of Melbourne, there’s just about everything in between to really float your boat.
Hot with the Millennial party makers at the moment are the self-hire boats, some of which are eco-powered. Melbourne Boat Hire, GoBoat and OnaBoat all operate along the Lower Yarra River and in Docklands. No boat licence is required if you want to drive yourself, or they can provide a skipper so that you can concentrate on the finer things in life, like the views of Melbourne’s city skyline and that new prosecco from the King Valley.
For truly hands-off fun, Melbourne Showboat is a beautiful converted Sydney harbour ferry, now firmly located in our waterways. During the week, the showboat is semi permanently moored on Harbour Esplanade, where it acts as the ‘pub by the pier’, dispensing drinks and light food from 11am till late. Then on weekends, it breaks it moorings and sets sail on the river, on everything from Burlesque to Blues Brothers themed cruises.
You may have been to Williamstown, but we bet you haven’t taken the water trip from Southgate to the historic seaport. Willliamstown Bay and River Cruises operates daily across the top of Port Phillip Bay, under the Westgate, to the fabled destination on Hobsons Bay. All you have to do is get off at the berth, wander along the foreshore or up the main street, both of which are redolent with seafaring reminders of the 19th century, plus an ample supply of 21st century eateries.
For a more conventional tour of the Lower Yarra, you have plenty of choice: Melbourne River Cruises, Yarra River Cruises and Classic Cruises. They all offer everything from a 1 hour to 2.5 hour tour, complete with a narration and an onboard cuppa. You might think you know your Melbourne history, but not until you hear it from a water perspective.
And finally, for something right out of left field and unashamedly romantic, how about a personalised cruise of the Lower Yarra aboard a Venetian style gondola? Depending on your gondolier, he may or may not break-out into an Italian love aria, but you can expect a delicious picnic basket of gourmet goodies and a bottle of sparkling to accompany your memorable float down the waterway. Take a look at this video clip to get an idea: yarra-river-is...gondola-lower-res-2.mov
For a summary of the above, which also has full contact details, click here.