Where scenic meets urban – nothing is better than a refreshing walk along one of Melbourne’s Yarra River tracks!

The Yarra River is home to some of the best walks in and around Melbourne. It’s the destination that’s filled with a perfect combination of breathtaking walking tracks, natural beauty and city skyline views. 

The iconic waterway holds strong spiritual and cultural significance to Aboriginal communities. To the Wurundjeri people, the Yarra River was originally named birrarung, meaning a ‘river of mists and shadows’ and was an important meeting place and fishing ground. 

Today, most locals and visitors alike continue to enjoy the Yarra River’s tranquil scenery and surrounding flora and fauna. But, what better way to do so than by switching into your activewear and experiencing the beauty firsthand. So whether you’re looking for a place to start a casual stroll, a bike ride or even your next picnic, read on through our list of the top scenic walking tracks around Melbourne’s Yarra River!

<strong>Capital City Trail</strong>
Photographed by Josie Withers. Image via Visit Victoria.

Capital City Trail

The Capital City Trail is another treasured city of Melbourne walk any Victorian must complete at least once in their lifetime. This scenic trail, 29-kilometres in length, will take you past some of the cities’ most important cultural and entertainment hubs. A common starting point is from Princes Bridge near Flinders Street Station. Follow the path east towards Docklands for a leisurely bike ride. This track winds along the banks of the Yarra River, passing Melbourne icons such as the Victorian Arts Centre, Royal Botanic Gardens and, of course, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Better yet, if you head west from Princes Bridge, you can then connect straight on to the Main Yarra Trail.

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St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3000
<strong>Dights Falls Loop Trail</strong>
Image supplied.

Dights Falls Loop Trail

We don’t blame you if you fall in love with this walking trail in Melbourne, just like we did. This easy, near five-kilometre walk starts from Kanes Bridge near Studley Park Boathouse and follows the Yarra River until you reach the spectacular Dights Falls Lookout. An alternative, yet equally scenic route starts from Trenerry Crescent, connecting onto the Main Yarra Trail. This route takes you past an impressive mural that pays respect to traditional Wurundjeri stories that was painted in collaboration with the local Indigenous people and Melbourne-based artist Tom Civil.

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Yarra Bend Rd, Fairfield, VIC 3078
<strong>Main Yarra Trail</strong>
Photographed by Roberto Seba. Image via Visit Victoria.

Main Yarra Trail

The Main Yarra Trail is the quintessential Melbourne walking track –  it’s your best friend if you’re wanting to get a good sense of Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs. The trail spans 33-kilometres in total and includes a shared path for cyclists, joggers and dog walkers alike. The best way to tackle Melbourne’s Main Yarra Trail in its entirety is by cycling. Start from Westerfolds Park in Templestowe and follow the path along the river. You can take a lunch break at the charming Collingwood Children’s Farm or Abbotsford Convent and continue on until you reach Southbank.

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Fitzsimons Ln, Templestowe, VIC 3106
<strong>Merri Creek Trail</strong>
Photographed by Adam Calaitzis. Image via Shutterstock.

Merri Creek Trail

After exploring Dights Falls, check out the natural offerings of Merri Creek Trail. This trail spans 21-kilometres and boasts both spectacular views of Melbourne’s CBD as well as native bushland that immerses you in the best that Victoria’s nature has to offer. We recommend starting at Dights falls and following the path towards Merri Creek. Take a quick pit stop at Ramsden Street Reserve for an awe-inspiring view of the Melbourne CBD skyline. Alternatively, follow the Main Yarra Trail to arrive at Snakes Lookout, an elevated view of the Merri Creek with a backdrop of the city. One of the best walks in Melbourne!

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112A Trenerry Cres, Abbotsford, VIC 3067
<strong>Pound Bend Reserve</strong>
Photographed by FiledIMAGE. Image via Shutterstock.

Pound Bend Reserve

If you’re looking for the best day hikes from Melbourne, let us introduce you to this hidden gem. Meet Pound Bend Reserve that’s found just a short drive from Warrandyte town centre. Feeling like its miles away from everything. This four-kilometre, 60-minute walking trail follows the banks of the Yarra River, starting close to the well-known Pound Bend Tunnel, and traversing tranquil bushland. The trail is a relaxing escape in a country setting found just a mere 45 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD.

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Pound Bend Rd, Warrandyte, VIC 3113
<strong>Yarra Bend Park Walk</strong>
Photographed by Alanna W. Image via Shutterstock.

Yarra Bend Park Walk

The Bushland Circuit Trail is just one of the many walks around Yarra Bend Park. This quick and easy trail, just 950-metres in length, is perfect for a laid-back stroll when you’re wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This scenic trail starts left of Kanes Bridge in Kew and is abundant with native bushland and wildlife. While you’re there, visit the historic Studley Park Boathouse for an ice-cream or set up camp for the perfect picnic lunch in the sun.

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Yarra Bend Rd, Fairfield, VIC 3078
<strong>Yarra River Heritage Walk</strong>
Photography by FiledIMAGE. Image via Shutterstock

Yarra River Heritage Walk

For those after a longer hike through nature, then tie your shoes and get started on the Yarra River Heritage Walk. Starting at Tills Drive in Warrandyte State Park, this five-hour hike will take you through a windy and richly dense path that is truly beautiful, complete with native trees and even a kangaroo or two. Ending up at Mount Lofty and on the edge of Heritage Golf and Country Club, this day hike is a pleasant trek along the Yarra River where you experience a land untouched by society. Treat yourself to a hearty hike through the Yarra this weekend along the Heritage Walk.

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Warrandyte State Park, Warrandyte VIC 3113

To make the most of your next urban walk, why not graze your way through our list of The 10 Best Scenic Picnic Spots around Melbourne. If you love the Yarra River, you’ll also love these Waterfront Bars and Restaurants in Melbourne. Happy hiking!

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land mentioned in our article, the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation, and we recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Feature image: Photographed by Rob Blackburn. Image via Visit Victoria.
This article was first published on October 01 2020. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on September 07 2023.