- Yarra Bend Park, Melbourne
Yarra Bend Park is a 260 hectare (642 acre) park in the
Melbournesuburb of Kew. Located 4km north-east of the CBD, it is the largest area of natural bushland left in inner Melbourne. The most notable feature of the park is the Yarra Riverwhich flows for 12km through it. The park has two golf courses, a boathouse and a number of cycle and walking trails. It receives approximately 1.5 million visitors per year.
The park's location at the joining of the Yarra River and
Merri Creekhas been an important site for the WurundjeriAboriginal people for a long time prior to the arrival of Europeans in Melbourne, which is commemorated by the Koori Garden on the western edge of the park, near Dights Falls. Yarra Bend Park was officially reserved in 1877, and in 1929 it joined with Studley Park to the south to cover the whole of the area today. From 1848 until 1925 the park was home to Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, which took up most of the area of the park with buildings, vegetable gardens and a cemetery.
Things to do
There are a number of shared use tracks for cyclists and pedestrians. The
Capital City Trailand Yarra River Trailboth pass through the park. Organised bushwalking and birdwatching tours are available and there is even a tour to the Flying Fox colony. Some areas of the park are designated Dog Exclusion zones but dogs can be walked in On Lead and Off Lead zones. Canoes and boats can be hired from the Studley Park Boathouse. Fishing is possible in the rivers.
There are a number of sports grounds including the Corben Oval, W.T. Long Oval, Sir Herbert Olney Oval, Westfield South Oval and Westfield North Oval. The Fairlea West Oval, Fairlea East Oval and W.J. Cox Oval synthetic pitches can be hired for social matches.
There are several picnic areas with electric barbecues and toilets. Westfield, North Rotunda and South Rotunda shelters close to picnic facilities can be hired, as can the grassed picnic areas at Deep Rock and Loop Road. Studley Park and Bellbird picnic areas are also available for public use.
A world class fly-casting pool is located (since 1978) beside the Fairlea East Oval. Regular fly casting tournaments, local and intra-state take place here particularly during the winter months.
The park is home to many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and fish, including
Rainbow Lorikeets, Red-rumped Parrots and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Water Rats and Brush-tail and Ringtail Possums.
Yarra Bend Park is also home to a colony of
Grey-headed Flying Foxes. The colony took up residence in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1986. The population varied in size from 6000 to 20,000. Because of the damage the flying foxes were causing to trees, the colony was relocated to Yarra Bend Park in 2003 [ [http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrenpa.nsf/LinkView/40218D0B34530BB3CA256C6A007D817B16C869C35CA02BB14A256DEA00247222 Department of Sustainability and Environment] ] .
Inside the park are two golf courses: the 18 hole Yarra Bend Golf Course, bounded by the Yarra River and the Eastern Freeway, and the 9 hole Studley Park Golf Course in the south of the park. Yarra Bend Golf Course is par 70, ACR (Australian Course Rating) 68.6 and total course length is 5538m. Studley Park Golf Course is par 27 and the total course length is 1196m.
The park is open to pedestrians 24 hours a day (access for vehicles is 8am until late) every day of the year.
Vehicle entrances are at Studley Park Road and Yarra Boulevard, Kew, or Yarra Bend Road, Fairfield. The park is on the route of the following buses: 201, 203-206, 277, 278, 300, 301 and 546.
* [http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=225 Parks Victoria: Yarra Bend Park]
* [http://maps.google.com/?om=1&ie=UTF8&z=14&ll=-37.796967,145.012493&spn=0.030588,0.058537&t=k Satellite image of Yarra Bend Park]
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