In the past few years, I’ve taken to exploring cities by boat. I’ve passed beneath all of London’s Bridges on a city cruise down the Thames, sailed Boston Harbor on a sailboat, and gotten to know the heart of Chicago on a river boat. As far as I’m concerned, there are few better ways to spend a day in a new city than on the water, soaking up the sunshine, camera in one hand and drink in another.
So that’s exactly what I did on a recent glorious spring day in Melbourne. Lizzie and I found a 50% off coupon in one of the local guides to Melbourne and booked ourselves onto a Melbourne River Cruise on the Yarra River from the city to Williamstown and back.
Our 2-hour boat trip kicked off in the city center and headed out toward Williamstown. Far and away the highlight of the tour for me was crossing beneath all the bridges (you know how I feel about bridges!). Better yet: we got to do it again on the way back!
Once our boat slipped out of CBD territory and out towards Port Philip Bay, it got noticeably cooler without the tall city buildings to block the wind. Make sure you bring layers to keep warm! There’s also not a whole lot to see out this way other than some industrial lots, so if you find yourself unbearably chilly, you could always duck into the cabin for warmth without missing much scenery.
Williamstown is an old fishing town on the outer edge of the bay. From here, you can glimpse the Melbourne city skyline through Port Melbourne (albeit from quite a distance).
You know you’re a photographer when you plan your sightseeing around the quality of light. I intentionally booked the latest tour (departing mid-afternoon) so that towards the end, we’d be heading back into the city to see all the buildings bathed in that golden light.
As of December 2015 —
A return ticket from the city to Williamstown costs AU$29 via Melbourne River Cruises. There’s also a ferry that runs in the opposite direction toward the stadiums and gardens for the same price.