Riverside promenade is having a renaissance

28 March 2023

With the sun shining, recent upgrade works and an action-packed events schedule, there’s never been a better time to live, work and play in Southbank. 

Southbank encompasses some of Melbourne’s most vibrant and visited destinations, including Southbank Promenade and the buzzing Arts Precinct.  

About 40,000 people pass through Southbank Promenade daily and a vibrant and diverse community of more than 22,000 people call Southbank home.

Following a few difficult years, people are flocking back to the Southbank’s iconic riverside promenade. In fact, Friday and Saturday night activity levels are exceeding 2019 levels. 

Key to the successful revitalisation of Southbank has been the Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) which has represented the interests of small and medium businesses along the Yarra River since 1998.  

YRBA President Jeremy Vincent said the magic of the Yarra River – Birrarung is its reputation for fun. 

“It’s Melbourne’s hub of tourism and recreational activity for both visitors and Melburnians. People know that there is always something on along the river,” Jeremy said. 

Lots of people walking along a wide promenade. There are cafes and trees alongside.
Southbank is one of our city’s top tourist attractions

Promenade revamp 

As one of Melbourne’s busiest public spaces, City of Melbourne is revamping a 300-metre section along the river to improve safety and amenity for residents and visitors. 

The revitalisation works include lighting upgrades, new seating, replacing dying trees and adding more green coverage, replacing bluestone pavers, and reconfiguring stairs and ramps between promenade levels. 

With works due for completion in July, Jeremy said the revitalisation works will further enrich people’s time along the Yarra.  

“The revamp of the Southbank Promenade will create an even better place to mingle and enjoy the Melbourne lifestyle,” he said.

In addition to these capital works, we’re supporting the YRBA with $90,000 in funding as part of its Business Precinct Program. The program provides annual funding to local precinct associations to create opportunities for business networking, education and training, and initiatives to encourage visitation and local spending.   

Two people sitting on a steel park bench overlooking the Yarra River and city skyline.
We’ve worked to revitalise Southbank Promenade with new seating, more greenery and features to make it more accessible

Shape the future of the Yarra River precinct 

Is there a certain cuisine you’d like to see more of locally, or are you seeking new cultural experiences? Take the Your Yarra survey and share your thoughts.  

The Yarra River Business Association, with support from City of Melbourne, has launched a comprehensive survey to take the pulse of Southbank residents. It is designed to help shape the future of Melbourne’s iconic riverside home. 

Growing from key findings from community engagement by City of Melbourne last year that found residents were seeking more diverse hospitality choices, the Your Yarra survey wants to hear directly from Southbank residents. 

“In conjunction with the City of Melbourne’s Neighbourhood Partner Ash Lee, we have designed the survey to tease-out details about leisure time activity generally in the precinct,” Jeremy said. 

“It will complement the more urba4d planning focus of the Council’s earlier survey.” 

By completing the Your Yarra survey you’ll also go into the draw for the chance to win a dinner for two on the Spirit of Melbourne. 

“There’s 11 prizes to be won, plus those who complete the survey will be contributing to creating a better 3006 lifestyle,” Jeremy said. 

If you live in Southbank, fill in the short seven-minute survey and be part of shaping the Yarra River Business Association precinct. 

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