Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Take a Punt

Over the Australia Day long weekend we had a bit of an adventure! We went punt-looking! And punt-riding - I think it's actually called 'punting'! It seems amazing to me that within a short distance of the city (and of course the Cottage) not one but two punts can be found. And so we headed off to the Royal Botanic Gardens (open 7.30 - sunset every day of the year) to take a look and of course have a stroll. It was a beautiful day and we had a spring in our step. Walking through the gardens is always a delight (I will write about the gardens in a future post) but this was punt-looking day so we headed down to the lake and lo and behold there awaiting us was a rather exotic looking punt (reminded me of a gondola!) and a very smartly dressed punt driver (is that what they are called?!) I must admit that we were rather taken-a-back by the price of a 30 minute punt around the gardens - $25 per head (if I recall there was a family rate) and so we decided to just take a look and wander on. 
All aboard for a Garden Punt
After all we had another punt on our minds! En route back to the car we passed the Wind in the Willows dinghy parked awaiting the twice-daily show - now that is definitely worth a viewing - it's fun - with - or without - children. Highly recommended. We could just imagine Rat, Mole, Badger, Otter, Portly and of course who could forget Mr Toad. (sadly this production has now finished until next January - but do keep it in mind).
The Wind in the Willows dinghy awaiting ...
And so we headed off to nearby Herring Island crossing the Punt Road Bridge which was named for the punt that used to cross the Yarra River before the bridge was built! (The extension of Punt Road becomes Hoddle Street) Herring Island is a man-made island and the one-and-only island in the  mighty Yarra River. Its address is Richmond!  
Little olde Herring Island
This environmental Sculpture Park Island is 3.2 hectares and is only accessible by boat - or surprise, surprise - punt! The punt runs every weekend from mid-January to late April from 11 - 5. Cost - $2 per person or $5 per family (more competitive than the Gardens punt!). 

An Australia Day family picnic on the island
Named after Sir Edmund Herring a former Governor of Victoria, Chief Justice and head of the Scout movement - the island was originally used by the scouts. The old scout hall is now used as a gallery. But it was the sculptures we had come to see. Set in natural bushland - amazing so close to the city - the island is dotted with wonderful sculptures. Here are just a few. 
Scaled stem (looks like a waddy to me!) Robert Bridgewater
Steerage - Jill Peck (down the pointy end of the island) with a Yarra Cruiser advancing in the background
Cairn - Andy Goldsworthy
Before heading home we stopped for lunch at Kanteen (converted from an old toilet block! - but don't be put off!) the food and the ambience is terrific and well worth a visit - punting or not. It's right next to the punt loading dock. 50 Alexandra Ave, South Yarra - 9827 0488. It's a great spot to get the feel of the 'country' right on our Richmond doorstep.
Heading onto the punt en route to lunch at Kanteen (in the distance!)
So if you are feeling like a punt - why not cross Punt Road, visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, then 'ride the punt' to explore Herring Island and on your way back to the Cottage grab a footy. It's just a drop punt (!) from the MCG!

Bowen Cottage client comment: We would stay more often if we could. Perfect in every way.


  1. So many great reasons to visit Melbourne, so looking forward to our upcoming stay...............love the Botanic Gardens and Wind in the Willows(brother in-law has played the part of Rat for the last 25 ears) and may even go for a punt!!

    1. I hope you told your brother-in-law that Rat featured!

  2. What a lovely place! I love to try punt-riding too, its kinda adventure I guess.Beautiful photos, thank you for posting.

    1. Thanks Diane - Melbourne has so much to offer and the surprise is that there is punting as well. And so close to the city, and in such lovely surroundings - both the Botanic Gardens and also Herring Island. Jan