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Overview

Harbour Esplanade has always been identified as a key asset in the development of Docklands. It is an important step towards providing public spaces and connecting the northern and southern parts of Docklands. 

Harbour Esplanade is the main civic focus for visitors and locals to Docklands and a major waterfront destination of regional importance. It provides a unique opportunity to create a public-focused place outside of the developer-led initiatives.

Development Victoria’s ambition for Harbour Esplanade is for it to be the primary public space in Docklands – a place of increased national significance and one of the great post-industrial waterfronts anywhere in the world.  

The area has the potential to become a central destination in its own right – a place that allows the community to both relax and play by the water, while better linking the Docklands’ precincts, and in turn, providing a visual and practical link between the city and the water, enhancing Docklands’ integration with the wider CBD. 

Harbour Esplanade is controlled or owned between Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne.


Location

Harbour Esplanade runs roughly north-south, all the way from Docklands Drive in the north (NewQuay and Waterfront City) to Navigation Drive and McCrae Street in the south (Yarra River).

It's connected by several tram services within Melbourne’s free tram zone, with eight tram stops located on or near Harbour Esplanade.

Timeline

2000

  • Plans for a multi-million dollar 10-ha harbourfront park and esplanade at Melbourne's new waterfront in Docklands were unveiled by the Minister for Major Projects and Tourism
  • Extension of tram services down La Trobe Street extension and along Harbour Esplanade commence

2001

  • Waterfront Sheds on Victoria Harbour are removed and contract executed for Stage 1 development of Harbour Esplanade
  • 'Cow up a Tree' art sculpture by John Kelly, installed on Harbour Esplanade

2002

  • Stage 1 works on Harbour Esplanade completed

2004

  • Government announces $7.5 million Docklands Drive tram extension to service the Docklands Precinct
  • Construction commenced in September

2006

  • Corporate Events Australia is selected and enters into a lease with Development Victoria (then VicUrban)

2007

  • Works commenced on extension of Harbour Esplanade to Charles Grimes Bridge

2011

  • Works completed on the redevelopment of Harbour Esplanade between Bourke Street and Docklands Drive

2013

  • Work begins to prepare the Docklands waterfront for redevelopment with the commencement of wharf remediation work at Harbour Esplanade

2014

  • A community engagement process on the future development of the Docklands waterfront commences
  • The master plan for Harbour Esplanade is lodged with the City of Melbourne — offering a framework for the future development of a flexible waterfront event space
  • Hortus opens providing a cafe, edible garden and outdoor space

2015

  • A planning permit for the next stage of development of Harbour Esplanade was granted by the City of Melbourne
  • The Harbour Esplanade master plan is approved by the City of Melbourne in June 2015

2017

  • Daily ferry service to Portarlington is established by Port Phillip Ferries

2019

  • Investigations of the Central Pier structure confirm a dilapidated structure requiring comprehensive rehabilitation
  • Port Phillip Ferries commences Geelong ferry service Central Pier items highlighted in red text for ease of reference