A stroll along Melbourne's River Yarra: 5 things to watch out for!

St. Paul's cathedral Lanes and alleyways: Melbourne art culture - Tram rides - Queen Victoria Market Eureka sky deck / The Edge - Captain Cook's Cottage - Flinders street station - MELBOURNE MEMORY # 7: YARRA RIVER - MCG - Federation Square - Cuisine - Extras.

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To witness two lovers is a spectacle for the gods. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I love walks, especially when you have a wonderful someone for company: the whispering of the waters, the rustling of the leaves, the absence of the honking vehicles and the silence of the environs; universe has its ways of conspiring and magically transforming an otherwise lifeless body of water into a wonderful companion. The River.

My meeting with her was inevitable. I was in Melbourne. And apparently, she was 'the one' settled in his heart. I met her at different points in the day, with no prior appointments, in different climatic conditions, and for brief lengths of time. Each time I met her, I saw her in her many different avatars: shivering in the freezing cold in chilly rains pouring down, or dazzling as a diva, the center of attraction, in bright afternoon sunshine or even blushing as a coy demure bride in vibrant colorful lights of the evening. Every time I saw her, I was daunted; I now knew why Melbourne was in love with the Yarra. She was gorgeous, a source of life to many.

The Yarra River walk in Melbourne, Australia
The trail of the Yarra River: Get ready to fall in love with the Yarra, in love with her.

For the uninitiated, the city of Melbourne, situated on the shores of one of the largest bays on the Australian coast, comes to life at the Yarra River. Here, you can find cafes, restaurants, scenic views, cyclists, tourists, travelers, festivals (if you are lucky) and a lot of people all around the place. Melbourne’s love for Yarra can be gauged from the fact that it has been decked up over the years so that today it has a dedicated trail to its name - The Yarra River trail - a must do for most travelers visiting Melbourne.

Still, I could never complete walking her entire circuit no matter how much I wished to, no matter how much she wanted me to. And still, for all the time we spent together, she offered enough for her new found friend to take back home so that later someday… you and me - we both can sit down and relish her treasures together. 

So, here they go - 5 gifts from the Yarra River – 5 sights you should look out for the next time you are off to the Yarra River in Melbourne! 

1. Locks of Love!

While walking my way across the Southbank footbridge running over the Yarra, I realized something unique about its handles. They were heavy: not with the weight of steel or iron but with a bundle of emotions and memories, which two committed souls had left behind in love, in abundance.

"I'm gonna lock up my heart and throw away the key,
because there is no other in this world for me.
I'm gonna lock up my heart and throw away the key,
because no one else in this world can do the things you do to me." ~ Unknown

Love locks along the Yarra River footbridge, Melbourne in Australia
Love padlocks along the Yarra River footbridge, Melbourne in Australia
Love Padlocks at Southbank footbridge over the Yarra River

2. Icons of Melbourne.

Melbourne is a city of icons, carefully spread and scattered all around. And River Yarra has a way to bind them all. Step on the Southbank footbridge to see the Eureka Sky Deck touching the sky. The yellow colored historic Flinders Street Station can be seen from the Princes bridge while the grand stadium of the MCG comes into view while walking towards the north of the river. Even if you are in no mood to step inside the MCG, this should still make for a pretty sight. It rises up gradually with each step that you take eventually decorating the Melbourne skyline with its entire majestic splendor. 

Eureka sky deck from the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia
Eureka Sky Deck, SouthbankIt’s one building of Melbourne that is visible from just about everywhere!
Flinders street Station seen from the Princes bridge in Melbourne
The Flinders Street StationWhile standing on the Princes bridge, the yellow colored building.
MCG view from the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia
MCG: The greatest cricketing stadiums of all times to the north of the River.

3. Artworks.

Melbourne is city so quirky that artworks was something I found everywhere in Melbourne, not only in the lanes and bylanes but also down the Yarra river. Since it was raining very heavily on this day, I couldn't explore as much as I would have liked and this is all I could capture for my diary.

Art works along the Yarra River trail, Melbourne in Australia
Artwork along the Yarra trail

4. Melbourne Panoramas from its bridges, Southbank and Princes.

There are few vantage points in the city if you wish to see the city in its full blown brilliance. 88th floor of the Eureka sky deck is one point and the others, I discovered, were the bridges of Melbourne namely the Southbank footbridge and the Princes bridge spanning across the Yarra River. All I had to do was step onto the bridge, open my camera lens and then take a deep breath simply to see how a gorgeous city rises towards the skies in glory.

Yarra southbridge from under the Princes bridge along the Yarra River trail in Melbourne, Australia
Southbank footbridge (in the background) as seen from under the iron arch of the Princes bridge
Melbourne from the Yarra Southbank footbridge River in Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne from the Southbank footbridge
Lamp post on the Princes bridge framed by the Eureka sky deck and the Rialto towers, Melbourne
A lamp post on the Princes bridge framed by two of Melbourne's tallest buildings:
The Eureka sky deck to the left and the Rialto Towers to the right.
The Yarra River, not in the picture, runs below.

5. Reflections: Melbourne with Yarra at night.

There are fewer ways better than this, that I know of, to end your day in Melbourne. This is how I had wished to end my day in Melbourne and this is how I did:  Walking leisurely by the river, under the canopy of a thousand twinkling lights,

... watching Melbourne and Yarra unite…

Melbourne Views at night in the Yarra River, Australia
Melbourne and Yarra River: United in love!

... like two one armed lovers,
inhabiting two different bodies,
walking hand in hand,
locked in a single soul.

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Tips for travelers and other fast facts:

1. Yarra is focal: The river from the Yarra provides 70% of the city’s piped water and its valley is world renowned for its vineyards and natural beauty. It is the focal point of many cultural and nature-based events.

2. Attractions to watch out for: You can either choose to take the upstream trail or walk the river downstream, along the Northbank or the Southbank. Both ways, you will be treated with wonderful scenic views to savor all along. I had taken the Northbank trail walking towards the north of the river covering MCG, Federation square, River cruises wharf , Melbourne Park and Birrarung Marr. Some of the other attractions that I missed were Royal Botanic Gardens, Crown Entertainment Complex, Arts Centre, Melbourne Aquarium, Olympic Park Sports Venue

3. Take a cruise: Another great way to enjoy the river is by taking a cruise. You can take an inexpensive boat trip down the Yarra from Southbank in Melbourne. Ticket counter is there. However, due to the harsh climatic conditions during my visit, I found all jetty’s and cruises docked neatly in the harbor area and missed out on this as well.

Getting there:

There are a few entry points to the Yarra walk which follows the course of the river. I chose the stairs going down from the Flinders street station. Easily accessible and very convenient for all those wandering around the central area of Melbourne, the CBD.

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  1. A beautiful post, very tastefully written with dramatic shots of clouds, city skyline and the river in night. I so much wish that we take inspiration from the beautiful city of Melbourne and the clean river and work towards making our cities and rivers clean...

    .and those locks they look so beautiful with the messages of love....

  2. A beautiful walk indeed. We always are drawn to the rivers or waters wherever we are.

  3. Good morning Arti.
    Glad to see that beautiful Yarra river. The only knowledge about Melbourne I had was that the country had a few rivers as it was flat land. Those handles over the rive and the art are very sweet! I like them.The fifth photo you took on the Princes bridge reminds me of Nakanoshima in Osaka.
    I hope you have a happy day, smile!!

  4. what a very well written travel tips for visitors to Melbourne Arti, accompanied of course by your wonderful experience and pictures.

  5. Nice to read your new post. Wonderful post and photos.

  6. lovely writeup n clicks as always.. though i ve never been to australia i feel im familiar with so many places .. thx to u

  7. Lovely pictures.
    Like the design of the bridge in the first picture.

  8. Hi Arti,

    I enjoyed reading some more and seeing your wonderful photos of Melbourne.
    Thanks for sharing all this - as I said my daughter is going over there in May, so will tell her - this will be helpful.
    Happy weekend

  9. What great shots of the city and the locks.

  10. There is nothing like a stroll along a beautiful river. I am yet to visit melbourne but for now i am in love with the name :)

  11. How wonderful, this is definitely a post to bring out the romance in us all.

  12. First, beautiful shots. And second, I so love this 'lock tradition'. It's quite popular in Europe as well.

  13. Lovely captures Arti. the locks theme is good.
    In some temples here devotees offer locks in the temple when they start building their houses. Different cultures., different customs.

  14. Really lovely Arti. Such a cool description. Loved reading this.
    Yarra & Yatra have four-letters in common :)

  15. The locks on the bridge is interesting. Paris also has the same thing. The only difference is the bridge in Paris there are so many locks, it is difficult to find a space for your lock. :)

  16. Beautifully written and equally complimented by the photographs ...the locks are so cute.. :-)

  17. Wow, those love locks are a great idea. I have seen them somewhere else in Australia but just can't remember where...

  18. This is lovely and soothing to read. I liked the way you presented it in a poetic and sort of philosophical way. :)

  19. You have such a way with words that captivate your readers, Arti. One of my most treasured memories of Melbourne is cruising down the Yarra River during my honeymoon. my husband and I enjoyed walking along its banks many years ago. It's such a beautiful city and you captured it well with these beautiful photos.

  20. That was such a beautiful description of the river ! I am sure the night cruise would be wonderful down that river. Thanks for making it so vivid for all of us who haven't seen it yet :)

  21. I missed going to melbourne, we just did not have enough time .. next time I am visiting for sure and seeing all these places


  22. Dear Arti – Lovely writing as always. No wonder you got in love with the Yarra River. I like a leisure stroll along a river, too. I’ve heard about Locks of Love but first to see this time. The view of river cruising (#5 photo) would look almost the same with that of my country’s but the beautiful iconic buildings make the difference clear.


  23. You had the time of your life, Arti? :)

  24. beautiful description of the river Arti...i guess humans all over love the rivers which sustain them.

  25. I am just smiling while I read your discriptions and see your photos. How you have blossomed in to a wonderful writer and photographer. I see and hear you in everything you share.

  26. Another stunning travelogue with gorgeous pictures to match! Whenever - and I am hoping I do someday - I go here, I am going to remember you and your tips. :) Hope you have been good, Arti.


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