We all have a vice. For me it’s spending thousands of dollars on overseas holidays and forgetting to explore my own backyard. But I’m trying to do better.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded about an inner-city gem that sits on the banks of the Yarra River. Surrounded by native bushland, lush open spaces, and a glistening stream of water, it is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. And it’s only 7km from the CBD.
Established in 1908, Fairfield Boathouse has been entertaining guests for more than a century, but it hasn’t abandoned its English roots. There are brightly coloured park rides, carnivalesque signs and an old school fairy floss machine. But the greatest nod to its English heritage is the Gentleman’s Rowing Boat.
Designed by a shipwright from Portsmouth, the boats are an exact replica of the skiffs used in the Thames River during the 19th century. They’re made from wood, with hand crafted timber seats. And you can hire them for up to five people while re-enacting your favourite romantic movie moments.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen the photo of Koda, Shaun’s three-month-old staffie riding on the Gentleman’s Rowing Boat. We were a little nervous about taking the energetic pup on board, but Koda was cool, calm and collected. A nautical god, despite our shocking steering.
From canadian canoes to touring kayaks, there are a number of different water vehicles to choose from. Prices start at $24 per hour, with a small flat rate of $5 for every hour after that, which I think is pretty reasonable for such a unique experience.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite (trust me, you will) head back to the tearoom and fuel up on their traditional devonshire scones with jam and cream. And if you’re looking for something a little more hearty, you can check out their menu, that’s packed full of brunch favourites including breakfast buns and berry bowls.
Fairfield Boathouse is open from 10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, with extended hours on the weekend. So, come explore the beautiful bushland while getting a freakishly real glimpse into the landscapes and wildlife seen by European settlers in the 1900s.
See you there!