Victoria's rivers are an important asset to the state. As well as providing water for its people and being the lifeblood of the environment, they offer places for visitors to enjoy and explore. There are about 85,000 kilometres of rivers, streams and creeks in Victoria.
Victoria's capital city of Melbourne is situated on the Yarra River which has become one of the city's great attractions.
From its mouth in Port Phillip at Williamstown, the river heads inland through the Port of Melbourne which is Australia's busiest port for container cargo. It then reaches the Docklands precinct where an arm branches off into Victoria Harbour which is flanked by apartment buildings, riverfront restaurants and promenades. The Yarra then passes along the southern edge of Melbourne's CBD and alongside the city's Royal Botanic Gardens and sporting precinct. From there, the Yarra River is flanked by parkland as it meanders through the inner Melbourne suburbs of Richmond, South Yarra, Hawthorn, Fairfield and Kew.
Once out of suburbia, the Yarra River winds its way through the beautiful Yarra Valley region north-east of Melbourne, famous for its wineries and fruit farms. The river passes through the town of Yarra Glen, skirts around Healesville and flows right through the centre of the scenic town of Warburton which sits at the base of Mount Donna Buang. From here it heads deep into the mountainous Yarra Ranges National Park where its source can be found.
The Yarra River is a great recreational asset to Victoria, providing easily accessible riverfront parkland and a venue for water-based activities such as boating, water-skiing, swimming and fishing.
Victoria's longest river is the Murray. At 2,508 kilometres, it forms much of the northern border of Victoria with New South Wales.
The Murray River is dotted with towns along the way, many with a rich heritage dating back to the days of busy inland river ports and the steamboats which were used to transport goods. Discover the Murray River's history at Echuca where some of this river port's buildings and wharf have been faithfully restored.
One of the best ways to see all that the Murray River offers is to follow the Murray Valley Highway and some suggested detours as it meanders from its source in the Snowy Mountains and downstream to the arid north-western corner of Victoria.
One of the highlights of the Murray River is Lake Hume, which is an artificial lake created when a weir was built across the river just east of Wodonga. The lake has become a popular holiday destination and for those who enjoy water-based activities.
At 654 kilometres, the Goulburn River is the longest river in Victoria that is completely contained within its borders.
The Goulburn River's headwaters are found high up in the Great Dividing Range between Mount Buller and Mount Baw Baw, near the small town of Woods Point. From there it enters Lake Eildon near Jamieson and emerges from the lake at Eildon where it flows through the scenic rolling countryside which surrounds Alexandra and Yea. The river bends around Seymour where attractive river parkland can be enjoyed.
The Goulburn River then heads northwards and into Lake Nagambie, with the town of Nagambie sitting along its eastern shore. Further north, the river emerges from the Goulburn Weir and flows through the rich irrigated fruit-growing district surrounding Shepparton.
From Shepparton, the Goulburn River meanders through a mainly flat landscape and is lined by river red gums. The Lower Goulburn National Park surrounds the river along this final section, and it then joins the Murray River east of Echuca.
What is particularly remarkable about the Glenelg River is the last 15 or so kilometres of its course where it has carved a stunning gorge of up to 50 metres in depth through the surrounding limestone. Explore this marvel by hiring a canoe or boat at Nelson, or bring your own, launching it at ramps provided at various points along the river. Alternatively, explore many of the river's picnic grounds and viewing spots.
While visiting the scenic lower reaches of the Glenelg River, take a tour of the underground limestone wonderland of the Princess Margaret Rose Cave, north of Nelson.