Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Australia chapter Melbourne - Victoria has to say about the Yarra River:
“Splitting the northern suburbs from its southern sisters is the very brown Yarra River. There’s a slight cultural divide, too, though sport knows no boundaries and Melburnians are intoxicatingly loud-voiced about AFL football (footy), horse racing or cricket, depending on the season.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
On our second day in Melbourne, we decided to head to the Federation Square and then walk along both sides of the Yarra River, to enjoy the amazingly beautiful weather and the buildings along its length. The banks of the Yarra are incredibly low and I had to wonder if the city ever experiences flooding at especially low-lying places. At one point early on, we stopped to take in a storyboard that showed what the river looks like in the past, a pretty grim looking scene was spread out before us.
When we arrived at the Princes Bridge near the Flinders Street Station, we decided to walk across it and back again to take in the various views from the bridge before we started to walk along the north side towards to the west. The bridge was built on one of the oldest river crossings in Australia. It was built to replace the wooden toll bridge that began operating in 1840. A new single-span stone bridge opened in 1851, and at that time it was one of the longest, flattest stone arch bridges in the world.
As traffic on the river increased dramatically with the gold rush, the Yarra River was widened to cope with the shipping and occasional flooding issues. A new bridge was commissioned, using the bluestone and granite from the old arched bridge. It opened in 1888 and was named Princes Bridge after Edward, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Today, the majority of the traffic across the bridge is pedestrian, though trams, buses, bicycles and limited motor vehicles are able to cross.
We spent the balance of the day walking along the north and south banks of the river, admiring the views and all the modern and not so modern buildings nearby. The weather was warm and sunny so we took frequent breaks to quench our thirst and to fuel our bodies with healthy food – no greasy snacks or gummy pastries for us. We had discovered a great Korean restaurant not too far from our AirBnB apartment and we were saving ourselves for a delicious meal in the evening.