Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing Ride, Southbank to Docklands via Port Melbourne
This ride links the established attractions of the city with the newer, fast growing, river edge, Beacon Cove and Docklands precincts. It is mainly metropolitan in nature but you get some respite through West Gate Park, although the monolithic presence of the West Gate Bridge, which you pass under twice is a reminder of the city’s proximity. The waterfront locale, either along the river or the bay, provides plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the local action. You can literally start this ride without a bike. Within 200 metres of the start at Federation Wharf you pass Rent–a–Bike which hires bikes, tagalongs and kids trailers. Soon after you cross Sandridge Bridge which was Australia’s first rail bridge. Built in 1854 the railway was abandoned in 1987 and the bridge was refurbished and re-opened in 2006.
It now displays the Australians’ History project, a tribute to the immigrant origins of Melbourne and Victoria. Further on you leave the Yarra River and follow the old rail course (now a tram line) to Station Pier at Port Melbourne. The area, originally known as Sandridge, was first settled in 1839. The railway line was developed to provide a cheaper alternative to shipping goods and passengers up the Yarra River to Melbourne. In 1854, Station Pier was opened in response to increasing arrivals of passengers and goods to Melbourne during the gold rush. For the next part of the ride to Docklands you pass by remnants of what was once an entirely industrial area. You also ride through Westgate Park. This 54 hectare nature sanctuary was originally a salt marsh, but has become established as a wetland haven for migratory birds. Follow the sealed path which passes under the West Gate Bridge. The bridge is a vital link to Melbourne’s western suburbs and Geelong. As you ride under it, best not dwell on the tragedy which occurred when it collapsed during construction in 1970, killing 35 workers. You then pass the pontoon servicing the Westgate Punt which ferries pedestrians and cyclists across the river to the landing near Scienceworks Museum. See the You, Your Bike and Transport in Melbourne section for contact and timetable details.
The ride continues along the river edge to Docklands. Established in 2000, Docklands is becoming increasingly popular with Melburnians and tourists alike with many places to enjoy a coffee or a meal. From there you head back along the river in to the city. If your coffee or food desires are not sated cross the river to Southbank via the pedestrian bridge at 17.6km or check out the cheap eateries near the station on Flinders Street to your left.
The ride starts and finishes opposite Flinders Street station.
Food and Drink
The city, Beacon Cove and Docklands offer plenty of choices right by the ride. If you are riding during the week and like your coffee try Keffa Han under City Link in Lorimer Street.
19.178 km / 11.917 mi
407 m / 1,335 ft
25 m / 81 ft