Kick back and relax while you float along the Yarra River in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. The historic Fairfield Park Boathouse is a little gem, nestled within 7km of the CBD.
There are 3 choices of boats to choose from, the Gentlemanís rowing skiff, an old-style rowing boat that suits up to 5 people. The Canadian Rowing Canoes, in Voyager for 2 people or the Prospector for 3 people, or the Touring Kayaks, which is a solo in Adventurer guise or a double in the Guide. A full price list can be found here
The two of us chose the Gentlemanís skiff, with the attendant indicating to row up river against the current to make the return leg easier. He assured me that each way was equally picturesque. I think the boat we chose was the slowest way to row upriver; we picked it up quite quickly, but was still passed by a young child and her mother in their Canoe very quickly. Not that we were in a hurry, in 30 minutes, we made it to the Chandler Hwy bridge, taking photos and relaxing along the way. The attendantís advice was very evident when we took 22 minutes on the return leg.
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We payed for the hour, so took a few more photos of the beautiful Boathouse from another angle and had a nice bob around.
There was an attendant waiting on the pier to tie us off, the hardest part of the whole trip was getting back onto the pier from the boat, we chose the inelegant stumble, the most popular from what I hear.
The Boathouse is easy to find, located in Fairfield Park Drive, Fairfield, with ample signage on the main Rd. There is plenty of parking available, with the parking bays surrounded by bluestone gutters. Itís a 100m stroll downhill to the Boathouse and Tea Gardens. Once there, itís easy to find where to hire the boats with the attendant pointing out where the oars and life jackets are kept.
The Tea Gardens are in the same historic building, so you can enjoy a coffee or meal after your row. The boats are available Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 8:30-6:00pm. The Tea House is open Monday-Friday 10:00-5:00pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 8:30-6:00pm. A menu is available here
The Ballarat Beer Festival will feature not only great beers but plenty of food wine stalls and some great entertainment from the likes of The Vanns, Mast Gully Fellers, Butterfunked, Michael Meeking and DJ Doggler to name just a few.