[VIDEO] Spirit of Melbourne Cruise

September 28, 2011 by

Australia & the Pacific, Food, Drink & Travel, Photos & Videos

A dinner cruise down Melbourne’s Yarra River is a novel way to dine and offers the opportunity to see this attractive city from the water.

Before you begin your evening cruise, work up an appetite wandering along Southbank, the arts and shopping precinct on the Yarra, directly opposite the city’s iconic Flinders Street train station. Southbank is a buzzing area with plenty of bars should you fancy a pre-dinner drink. This part of the city is particularly lovely at night, with light sculptures on the footbridge near the Crown Casino, lively Federation Square and the old-fashioned giant Ferris wheel that lights up Birrarung Marr.

I chose to go on the dinner cruise on a cold, winter evening. Probably not the season of choice for most diners, but the main deck of the boat was still almost full and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.

We were served our first course and a drink of our choice straightaway before beginning our journey down the Yarra. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer clear views from both sides of the boat, and diners are free to walk around the vessel and take in the views from the upper deck.  Once past the city lights, however, there are few sights of interest on a dark winter’s night. Fortunately your attention is drawn to the food, which is well presented and delicious.

The entrée platter was particularly impressive with crepes, mussels, oysters and delicate spring rolls. I enjoyed the salmon for my main course while my husband had the prime eye fillet. They were both generous servings and cooked to perfection. The desserts also tasted as good as they looked. We had very little room left to do the cheese platter justice, and instead enjoyed a coffee and a digestif.

While I enjoyed the cruise, I think the experience would be enhanced during the warmer months of the year, particularly summer, when it doesn’t get dark until 9pm. That way, you can loll around on the boat’s upper deck between courses while enjoying the city sights in daylight and then see its twinkling lights on the way back.

Emma McMahon

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Melbourne tours and things to do, Melbourne attractions, and Melbourne travel recommendations, or book a private tour guide in Melbourne for a customized tour!

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