It might come as a surprise to you that Melbourne ranks 20th overall in a ranking of the top cities internationally for cycling. Pretty good effort, even better considering it’s the highest ranked city in Australia, and one of only three in the top twenty outside of Europe. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the city of Melbourne from the saddle of a bicycle and that extends well beyond the inner city bike lanes that criss cross the CBD.
Stretching out from the centre of Melbourne, weaving through the pockets of nature that grow more dense and beautiful as you escape the urban sprawl, are a plethora of gorgeous bike trails that take you all over this great city. Great for the whole family and accessible to riders of any level. We’ll play tour guide to some of our favourite trails to hopefully give you the inspiration you need to get out and explore on two wheels.
Main Yarra Trail
The city of Melbourne stretches skyward from the banks of the Yarra river, but as you leave the city and follow the river east, then North, the skyscrapers are replaced with proud gum trees. The Main Yarra Trail, as the name suggests, follows the river out of the city and takes you all the way to Westerfolds park in Templestowe, total distance: 33km. It’s a long ride but accessible for riders of all skill levels, with very little elevation and flat, paved paths.
Merri Creek Trail
Sneaking away to the North from a bend in the Yarra is Merri Creek and the communal bicycle and pedestrian trail that follows the smaller branch of the river. You’ll find similar sights to those along the Yarra but the real excitement of this bike track is the local flavours you’ll experience along the way in Melbourne’s Bohemian Northern suburbs. The path connects to the main Yarra Trail in Abbotsford and continues North for 20km all the way to the Ring Road in Thomastown. Along the way you’ll pass such local delights as the Ceres Community Environment Park in East Brunswick.
Cycling Around The Bay
This cycle route is a lot harder to pin down because it could refer to a number of interconnected bike and pedestrian paths that hug the beach and take you all around Port Phillip Bay. The beauty of this bike trail, aside from the scenic views of the bay, is that you can start and finish at any point along the coast. You could follow the Bayside Cycling Trail from Williamstown to Brighton, that’s a distance of 18km, flat and paved paths. Or you could pick up the trail in Brighton and follow it further down the coast through the City of Bayside. The Bay Trail starts in Seaford and, if you were feeling adventurous, could take you all the way around the interior of the bay to the West Gate Bridge and Williamstown on the other side via ferry.
Lilydale To Warburton Rail Trail
If you’re looking for an excuse to get out of the city, the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is your path back into nature and some of the forgotten parts of Victoria’s past. This trail takes you on a tour of the gorgeous Yarra Valley, just East of the City of Melbourne. Like the name suggests, it travels the path of an old railway line that still leaves its mark on the landscape, connecting the Dandenong Ranges and the Great Dividing Ranges. A great escape and an adventure in itself at 38km one way.
Which Trail Will You Choose?
These are just some of the best bike trails Melbourne has to offer. All of these trails are accessible for riders of all skill levels, and friendly for families. You can pick up these trails from anywhere along the route and ride until you’re satisfied. One of the greatest boons of these bike trails that can be found all across the city is their interconnectedness. You could start on the Main Yarra Trail for instance and take it all the way from Templestowe to Thomastown if you ride off onto the Merri Creek Trail. There’s a great big city out there ready to be explored. Get cycling.