Saturday 26 October 2013

Melbourne CBD Riverside Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 5.6 km (3.5 miles), terrain: flat

Melbourne Running Routes:
Best Melbourne Running Routes Overview
Fitzroy Gardens
Yarra River at CBD
Tan Track
Yarra Bend Trail
Albert Park Lake / St. Kilda Beach
For more running routes, see Route List.

The Ponyfish Café in the river
The most impressive thing about Melbourne is how the town planners have redeveloped their riverfront. Along the downtown, an area that used to be full of factories, car parks and wharves, there is now a lively promenade lined with restaurants, plazas, a huge casino, convention center, aquarium and a marina. During the daytime or in the evening, with the Central Business District skyscrapers lit up in the background, the riverfront is a great place to be.

NOTE: see the Destinations Tips page for tips about spending your free time in this great town!
There are trails on both sides of the Yarra River, and they continue upriver for many kilometers. This run just traces the section along the CBD.
Federation Square
We'll start the run at one of the busiest spots in the city: at Federation Square, across from the Flinders Street train station. Federation Square is another new development, sitting above the train tracks that once occupied this prime piece of real estate.

So, if you're ready to try this great run, let's go!

From Federation Square, cross St. Kilda Road to the station, and turn left to run to the end of the station. The bridge over the Yarra begins right there.

Right before the bridge, take the steps down to the riverside walk, and begin running westwards, with the water to your left side.
First part of run along north bank
You will have the railroad tracks to your right for some time here, and a view of the newly redeveloped riverfront across the river. This is definitely the least scenic of the two riverbanks. But, still, it's pretty nice here on the north bank. But you'll have to cross more streets, and listen to the occasional train go by.

You'll soon go by a pedestrian bridge arched-over with a giant bow, with a café at its foot, in the river. You'll then run past an old railroad bridge now used for pedestrians, and covered with glittering metal sculptures.
Sculptures along the old railroad bridge
Then comes a run through the parking lot of a gym, and soon you'll pass Sea Life, the aquarium.
Now, you'll run through the only real, green park along this stretch, Batman Park, with a strange house for bats.

After the Wharf Hotel, the riverside trail ends: a freeway blocks river access. At the end of the path, you'll see another pedestrian bridge, Seafarer's Bridge, with white metal arches. Cross the river here, at the Polly Woodside windjammer, and continue running west on the other side.
Seafarers Bridge
This next section is an old wharf building now filled with restaurants.

You then run under the freeway bridge, and past a very strange pedestrian bridge (looks like a giant, curved Slinky), and start running past the marina. The little harbor is lined with huge new apartment buildings.
The marina
When you get to the end of the marina, at Point Park, you've reached the turn-around point. Turn back and run east along this side, the south bank. At first, we'll retrace our steps, then keep running past the Melbourne Convention Center, cross Clarendon Street and begin running past the huge Crown Casino complex.
Along the casino
After the casino, you'll come to Southgate, a big development with a long line of restaurants lining the promenade. It looks like Sydney's Darling Harbour. This is my favorite part of the run.
When you get to the round Arts Centre building, you'll see the white St. Kilda Road bridge right behind it. Take the steps up to your right and cross the bridge back to Flinders Street Station.

Make sure you come back to Southgate later and enjoy the evening!
View from Southgate at night

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