One of the best ways to explore Melbourne is to get out on your bike. Whether it’s an easy-going city-to-beach ride or following the longer scenic trails, Melbourne offers bike trails to suit any skill level.
A popular bike trail that wraps right around Melbourne’s CBD with vantage points to some of the city’s best landmarks is the Capital City Trail. Don’t worry if you don’t have a bike of your own – Melbourne is a seriously bike-friendly city, with Melbourne Bike Share bike hiring stations scattered all around the CBD and inner suburbs. There are also bicycle pods and hoops to keep your wheels safe while you enjoy a well-deserved pit stop.
The Capital City Trail is a circular 30km trail, so it’s easy to start and stop wherever you like, with something new to discover around every turn. It’s also a great trail to take if you would like to show off some of Melbourne’s famous attractions to your visitors, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Yarra River and Federation Square.
Running from Southbank to Brimbank Park is the Maribyrnong River Trail. The trail is 28km one-way however, you can skip the cityscape and begin at any of the parks along the way. Good starting points include Fairbairn Park, Coulston Gardens, Riverside Park, or Cranwell Park Reserve.
Be sure to leave plenty of time to explore Brimbank Park at the end of your ride. Here, it is not uncommon to come across native wildlife like echidnas, rosellas or cockatoos as you ride by the native grasslands and redgums. There’s also a playground onsite for those with younger ones in tow.
If you’d like to take on the longest sealed bicycle path in Melbourne, then the Eastlink Trail is for you. The Eastlink Trail is perhaps one for the more seasoned cyclist, taking you from Donvale to Dandenong South over 35km. It then connects with the Dandenong Creek Trail, before crossing into Melbourne’s south-east, taking you to Carrum and Bonbeach.
Enjoy the scenic variety, from the bushland of the Mullum Mullum Valley, through to the architecturally designed overpasses that overlook the M3. Along the Eastlink Trail, you may come across public artworks and sculptures created by some of Australia’s leading artists including James Angus and Matt Calvert. These are often located at intersections or close to reserves or rivers, making the Eastlink Trail a unique way to explore Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
If taking it easy on a beach-cruiser while enjoying the sea breeze is more your style, you can’t go past St Kilda Beach to Half Moon Bay. It’s flat coasting all the way through, so it’s perfect for beginners and will leave you with plenty of energy to explore the Bayside area and take in the spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay. Don’t forget to bring your camera along — this trail is an Instagrammer’s dream!
It runs for 13km or, for those wanting a bit more from their ride, there is an 18km option. It is also easy to navigate — all you’ll need to do is follow the coastline. At the end of the trail, you can take a short ride to Sandringham Train Station and hop on the train to take you right back into the CBD.
Image credit: Jodie Withers
Admire the beauty of the river and Australian bushland as you ride from Eltham to Fairfield along the Main Yarra Trail. The trail follows the flow of the river for 22kms one-way on mostly flat, compact dirt. Make a day of it and stop at one of the pit-stops along this route; highlights include the Diamond Valley Railway, Westerfolds Park, Heide Museum of Modern Art, and the Fairfield Boathouse where you can take a break to enjoy some Devonshire tea. If you’re up for more of a challenge, continue following the river for another 18kms on the paved pathway right to the CBD.
If you like the sound of cycling with views of wetlands, wildlife and the water, then head out to the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail. The 23km trail is well signed for cyclists and has plenty of informational signage for those keen to read up on this history of the area.
Start your ride at Skeleton Creek Park and head through the Cheetham Wetlands — a great place for wildlife spotting. As you cycle through Altona, enjoy spectacular views of the bay. If you work up a sweat, stop in for a swim at one of the many beaches you come across. Prefer to stay dry? Williamstown Botanic Gardens and Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park, are also great pit stops where you can take in natural scenery. The trail finishes just near Scienceworks in Spotswood so, if you feel so inclined, head on in for a few hours of science before your cycle back.
Jump on your bike and enjoy the best of Melbourne’s north on the Merri Creek Trail. There’s a couple of steep slopes, but this 21km one-way trail is relatively cruisy the rest of the time. Starting at Dights Falls, you’ll ride along the Merri Creek past some incredible parkland views. A highlight along the way is CERES Environmental Park where you’ll find a good coffee shop, a nursery and even a bike shed where you can fix up any niggling issues.
The trail continues until the Western Ring Road however, you may choose to stop at Coburg Lake Reserve. Here, you’ll find one of the most impressive playgrounds in Melbourne. Plus, you’ll only be a short distance from Batman Station, making it easy for you to jump on a train and head back towards the city.
Mountain bikers of Melbourne, we’ve got you covered. Lysterfield Park is home to the 6.3km State Mountain Bike Course, used in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Even if you’re a novice mountain biker, Lysterfield Park is a great place to go — it has a reputation for some of the best dirt paths in Melbourne, with a range of trails to suit riders of all abilities.
All the trails at Lysterfield Park have been designed to ensure both a quality experience for the rider and continued protection of the environment. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, and with over 200,000 bikes hitting the trails each year, there’s no doubt this is a popular spot.
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