Art & Design


An Island Getaway

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What if I told you there was a man made island in the Yarra that is a sculpture park and nature reserve? “You crazy!” you’d scream. Well hold onto your hats ’cause it’s true. One of Melbourne’s least known attractions, Herring Island, is a seriously fun adventure.

Tucked into a large bend in the Yarra off Alexandra Ave, the site was a quarry in the early 1900’s (hence the large bend) and the island was formed to protect the quarry from flooding. Initially known as Como Island, from the 1950’s to 1970 it was leased to the Scouts Association and was used for their training exercises, before being renamed Herring Island after Scout Association President Edmund Herring.

In 1994 responsibility transferred to Melbourne Parks and Waterways which proceeded to enhance and establish the island as a public park, regenerating it with local flora. The sculpture park was created in 1999, exhibiting many works of stone and granite, most materials acquired locally around the Yarra. The end result is an island just 3.2 hectares in size, lush with native flora, fauna and a really interesting sculpture trail. There is also a large picnic ground with barbecue facilities, a native wild garden and the old scout hall has been turned into an art gallery. The ferry operates in the summer/early Autumn months and is $2 per person and $5 for a family.

For ferry operating times please check the Parks Victoria website. There is also great cafe right next to the punt called Kanteen and it’s smack bang on the Yarra bike trail if you were so inclined. Can’t get more Melbourne than this folks. If only it had a pop up bar on it.

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