Birrarung Marr, on the Yarra River’s north bank next to Federation Square, is Melbourne's newest major park. Opened in 2002, it hosts events and festivals.
From Princes Bridge, the park incorporates three terraces of contrasting grass and sand. The Lower Terrace follows the curve of the Yarra River and retains sections of the original avenue of elm trees. The Middle Terrace hosts temporary facilities linked to events held at the MCG or Melbourne Park, while the Upper Terrace has views of the Arts Centre Melbourne’s spire and St Paul’s Cathedral.
If you’re visiting Birrarung Marr with children, drop into the children’s art centre and gallery ArtPlay to see what innovative activity program is under way, or visit the ArtPlay Playground’s stimulating collection of slides and sandpits.
The Birrarung Wilam installation celebrates the diversity of Victoria’s indigenous culture by interpreting stories through public artworks. A winding pathway acknowledges the significance of the eel as a traditional food source and a semicircle of metal shields represents each of the five groups of the Kulin Nation.
Other features of Birrarung Marr include Deborah Halpern’s two-headed Angel sculpture and the Federation Bells, ringing out three times daily with different compositions. The park’s William Barak pedestrian bridge leads directly to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
'Birrarung' is the traditional name of the Yarra River; and 'marr' refers to the mist that sometimes settles over the Birrarung. Loosely the words are often translated to 'river of mists'.