Herring Island Park
Parcs nationaux • Îles • Espaces naturels et sauvages • Parcs
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Peter S
Rome, Italie3 735 contributions
mars 2021
Review covers Herring Island, Yarra River, South Yarra

We were on our way that morning to the National Exhibition of A4-Sized Artworks being held by the Contemporary Arts Society of Victoria in their gallery on Herring Island. We’d parked on Alexandra Avenue close to Como Landing – where you catch the Parks Victoria ferryboat/punt to the island.
Herring Island? We had never actually heard of the place before and it was only from following the promotional literature of the art exhibition that we came to explore the paintings displayed and, perhaps equally, to enjoy the pleasure of this unique geographical feature – the Yarra River’s only island – and the quirkiness of this patch of native vegetation completely immersed in the urban hinterland of South Yarra and close to some of the most expensive real estate in the city.
Park your car close by on Alexandra Ave, make that coffee call at the Kanteen Café that’s located above Como Landing – there’s no coffee on the island – and then catch the Parks Victoria ferryboat across to South Landing. There’s a deal of pleasure in sitting coffee-in-hand, looking around and taking in the novelty of the location – and particularly first-time.
Remember too that you’ve got just two hours parking available according to the road sign … but, for us, it proved sufficient for that coffee, ferryboat crossings, art exhibition and a walk around the island to see the handful of sculptures on display. We stopped for a picnic lunch just across the river from the Kanteen café and next to the open patch of land mid-island with the covered BBQ seating area which, at the time, contained a group of ‘mature people-out-for-the-day’ eating their lunch.
Start with the art exhibition then. It was in the northern corner of the island and housed in a light single-story building that had once belonged to the local scouts - the island had been leased to the Scouts Association during the 1950s & 1960s before shifting to an interim management group and, in the 1990s, to Parks Victoria. The island takes its current name from the patron of the scouts during the earlier period who was also the Lieutenant Governor of Victoria - Sir Edmund Herring. Before that the island had been known as Como Island.
You needed to register in compliance with Covid-19 restrictions before entering the exhibition hall. Entry is/was free-of-charge. There were >600 original A4-sized paintings/features available in addition to a handful of sculptures on display – far too much to take in with casual wandering unless … you had picked up a loaned copy of the catalogue provided. Then you can scrutinize those images, media, approaches, styles and subject matter to your heart’s content. There was something for everyone in the galaxy of choice provided. Everything you see had a price affixed; everything is/was for sale (apart from those that had already been sold). Prices varied, of course, with the majority within the range $100-$250.
A couple of favourites that we picked out: poppies in the one and sunflowers in the other dominating the foreground with images of the Apennines in the background and, in the one, a faded hilltop town leaning out over the surrounding valley. Same artist.
In a separate room behind the art exhibits there was a collection of memorabilia highlighting the First Australians who lived in the area (and in greater Victoria) and the impact of the settlers on their traditional way-of-life. Drawings and early photographs with stories attached provided a glimpse of the people and their times – both peoples. Just outside the window and across the Yarra River 200 years later was the reality of five million people living in one of the World’s most successful cities. Perhaps only the river remains as a reminder of local human history that stretches back >60,000 years.
After the exhibition there was the ‘Environmental Sculpture’ to explore - a remnant/reminder of the Melbourne Festival of the late 1990s. There’s nine larger-than-life exhibits scattered amongst the trees around the western side of the island. Not particularly well marked but we followed trails that enabled us, we figured, to check on half-dozen of the sculptures – like jungle explorers coming across the remains of civilizations that had receded into the past. That said, at one site we stood and watched one enthusiastic craftsman at work on a shallow curved crescent wall set into the ground with grinder in-hand and surrounded by tools and materials. He was much too busy to interrupt with the usual question … ‘What are you doing?’
And, finally, there’s the island itself, which is sort of triangular in shape and just 3 ha in area. Derived in part from flood control developments during the 1920s, the Yarra River was diverted into a new channel cut through what had once been Richmond Quarry. Instead of filling the original channel the island was formed and has remained. Dredging the river originally provided spoil with which to build up the island, and native trees, shrubs and grasses were planted throughout the period to form the pleasant bush/park-like environment that exists today.
Herring Island has been a public park since 1994. Illustrated information boards outside the art gallery describe the biology of the island – the flora, fauna that you may come across. What you can’t escape, however, is the surrounding city and, in particular, the impact of the Monash Freeway that follows the Yarra River to the north of the island – visuals, noise, emissions, run-off and more. This is, realistically, your urban environment in all its dominant 21st century impact.
The art exhibition draws the visitors in; at other times of the year crossing to the island would be a challenge – you would need to bring your own boat. It’s illegal to swim in the lower reaches. Perhaps I should add that the ferryboat is/was a freebee, but it’s only available during office hours at weekends and public holidays to coincide with the different art exhibitions held on Herring Island during the Summer months. The service is/was due to stop on Easter Monday 05April21.
The island had been a pleasant surprise. Who would have figured this small urban park on an island on the Yarra River that dates from almost 100 years ago?

Peter Steele
01April2021
Écrit le 6 avril 2021
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

Cheryl P
Melbourne, Australie64 contributions
avr. 2019 • En famille
Worth dropping in on a nice day for a walk, gallery visit and a lovely lunch at canteen by the Yarra.. lovely
Écrit le 24 avril 2019
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

Ivan V
Melbourne, Australie996 contributions
janv. 2019 • En solo
While staying in south Yarra the hotel staff suggested an interesting walk along the Yarra river to Herring Island. And what a surprise it was. First of all I caught a punt with a ferryman to the island which only took 3 minutes or so. The island has some interesting and impressive permanent sculptures in the sculpture park. And Currently there is an excellent sculpture exhibition on at the Island art gallery. It’s well worth a trip to the island to see the exhibition from the Association of Sculptors of Victoria.
The island itself is not large and you don’t need to spend a lot of time here. There are a few walking pathway to follow and explore the island and it’s surprising to find such a little bit of bush right smack in the middle if the city. The exhibition and punt boat service only run for a limited time. (to the 22nd of April and only on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays ,I think it would be best to check the dates.)
Écrit le 2 février 2019
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

PammyM_46
Lilydale, Australie37 contributions
févr. 2018 • Entre amis
I recently visited Herring Island with The Maroondah Bush Walking Club.
What a delightful experience it turned out to be.
I had never visited the island before and would encourage people to visit.
We walked along The Yarra river from Flinders Street Station, caught a ride across the river on the punt which was driven by a friendly Parks Victoria employee.
On reaching the island we walked around it viewing the sculptures and enjoying the woodland atmosphere.
The Contemporary Art Society of Victoria hold art exhibitions on the island and they are very welcoming. We enjoyed looking at all the exhibits.
Whilst we were having our lunch their president Robert Lee regaled us with a short history of the island which was very interesting.
All in all an enjoyable time was had by all and I thoroughly recommend a visit there.
Écrit le 25 février 2018
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

EndlessTravels
Greater Melbourne, Australie35 342 contributions
mars 2017 • En couple
we also with visit this place in our own kayaks so have no idea about other complaints regarding punt. we absolutely adore this place with its great artworks. live having BBQs and pretending we aren't in the city.
Écrit le 2 mars 2017
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

Tripper Lots
Melbourne, Australie208 contributions
janv. 2017 • En couple
After seeing this place advertised for the Summer Arts Festival and wanting to go for some time, we headed here for a picnic on Australia Day. What a mistake. The punt is meant to run from 11-5 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from January to April. We were silly enough to believe this! After waiting half an hour with no sign of the punt, I rang Parks Victoria only to get someone to tell me that they can't get onto the Ranger and don't know what's happening. He then came back and said that the punt had broken down and didn't know when it would be operating again. I suggested that they might want to tell people as there were 30 people waiting and done were already on the island and couldn't get off and was told "what do you expect me to do? There's only three of us in Bourke street." As a suggestion, how about ringing the cafe and asking them to tell us? That would be a win for everyone - the cafe gets customers, we get coffee and Parks Victoria don't look so incompetent. I will not be wasting my time again.
Écrit le 25 janvier 2017
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

Alys-Schatzi
Melbourne, Australie901 contributions
août 2016 • En solo
This modest, manmade island was named after Sir Edmund Herring, a Victorian judge and lieutenant-governor. It used to be leased to the scouting movement, and is now controlled by Parks Victoria. I pass the island frequently by bus and like to know it is there serving as a wildlife sanctuary (for birds especially) and supporting native vegetation. During autumn, winter and spring you'll need your own boat to reach this island; during summer Parks Victoria runs a punt-type vessel from the Como landing. In preparation for summer the Friends of Herring Island run monthly conservation days; volunteers weed out non-native growth and plant indigenous shrubs and grasses.
Écrit le 31 août 2016
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

Sam H
Melbourne, Australie18 contributions
déc. 2015 • En couple
There is a reason so few people visit this so called "hidden gem." The place sucks. We went on a week-day, and tried to get onto the island with our inflatable dingy's. Let's just say getting in/out was the most interesting part of the trip! The jetty's just aren't designed for anything smaller than a boat, so those in canoes, kayaks, dingy's, lilos etc. be prepared to get wet/dirty!

The island itself is very mediocre. The sculptures are all rubbish, no real exceptions. My definition of a rubbish sculpture is when you have to ask the question "is this one of the sculptures?" Was hard to discern at times between miscellaneous rubbish/walking tracks etc. and the actual sculptures. Would be ok for a BBQ, but that's about it.
Écrit le 30 décembre 2015
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

QuickWhitTravel
Washington, District de Columbia4 068 contributions
This was a truly unexpected pleasure. This island has an interesting history, including that it was not truly an island until recently. They have lots of activities out here, or you can just go for a day.
Écrit le 15 février 2015
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.

Alys-Schatzi
Melbourne, Australie901 contributions
janv. 2015 • En solo
Herring Island is in the Yarra River about 3km from the city, in a river bend between the suburbs of Richmond and South Yarra. It has public art (sculptures), a walking trail, native vegetation (wattles, eucalypts, grasses), and waterbirds. It's an artificial island (a spin-off of quarrying and dredging) but nonetheless a little oasis in the increasingly busy inner-city.
You can get to the island in summer on a punt which leaves from Como Landing, opposite Como Park, in South Yarra. The punt runs on weekends from mid-December to the start of April. Check the Parks Victoria website or phone line for confirmation that the punt is operating. There's no fee for being on the island but there is a small fee for punt travel. Locals with their own boats, canoes and kayaks can make their way to the island whenever they want to.
Not far from Como Landing there is a café on Williams Road North.
Bus 605 from the city stops near Como Landing; alternatively you could take tram number 8 to the corner of Williams Road and Toorak Road, then walk downslope to the river past Como Park.
Écrit le 1 février 2015
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de Tripadvisor LLC. Les avis sont soumis à des vérifications de la part de Tripadvisor.
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