Yarra Cruises are one of the great activities Melbourne has to offer.
Any of these Melbourne River Cruises either take you up or down the River, or the Williamstown ferry takes you past the Docklands across Port Phillip Bay.
Various cruises leave from either side of the Princess Bridge, usually every hour. There are a few companies to choose from.
You will notice that the cruise boats are very flat. This is because Melbourne River cruises have to fit under the low city bridges. The higher boats have to stay out of the city near the Docklands.
After some rain there is not much room at all for the boats to fit. On this cruise boat the steward jumps up on the roof and takes the chimney off before heading under the bridges – very funny.
The downstream cruises take you along the Southgate and city waterfronts, under the bridges and past the Crown Entertainment complex and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition centre.
As you move away from the city you get a whole set of amazing views of the shifting Melbourne skyline and the Docklands, including the Melbourne Eye, which is being constructed there.
It then travels under the stately Bolte Bridge and takes you past gigantic containerships being unloaded with rows of huge cranes in Port Melbourne – quite a site.
After that you travel out to the Westgate Bridge, the third longest bridge in Australia spanning 336m.
Some of the Yarra cruises and the Williamstown ferry take you all the way to Williamstown, one of the oldest Melbourne suburbs.
It is located in a sheltered harbour on the west side of Port Phillip Bay. A one-way trip is just under one hour.
Nelson Place, the historic heart of Williamstown, is right on the water. It was settled as early as 1850 and today is a strip of restaurants and cafes – a good place to come for lunch.
Upstream Yarra cruises take you past the picturesque boat sheds, through urban parklands and along the Royal Botanical Gardens.
You glide past major Melbourne Sports venues like the Melbourne Olympic Park, Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open is held, and the impressive MCG, Melbourne Cricket Ground.
You also get to see Herring Island and the Governor’s residence – altogether the more regal side of Melbourne.
On Friday and Saturday nights you can book a special luxury dinner cruise - great food, wine and atmosphere along the glowing city lights over the Yarra.
And then at different times of the year, you can take special Yarra River cruises:
There is a romantic cruise on Valentines Day, a Spring Carnival cruises that wines and dines you in style to the racecourse, and a New Years cruise to dance into the night and with great views of the fireworks on the Yarra.
Melburnians know how to enjoy life and a river cruise is just one of the great ways of experiencing this great city.
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