Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Main Yarra Trail Ride
This is a relatively gentle ride from the city to Eltham along the green corridor on the banks of the Yarra River. For most of the way, the shared path follows the Main Yarra Trail, but as with many of Melbourne’s trails, there are short branches of other trails which form part of the ride and often overlap. Don’t be confused if you see a few name changes to the trail along the way.
It is one of Melbourne’s most popular trails for commuters. If you have the opportunity to ride this trail during the middle of the day though, you’ll have it almost to yourself. On weekends, the trail also comes alive with walkers, runners and cyclists, so a bell and some trail etiquette are essential. The trail is generally well signposted but at some crucial points you will welcome having this ride log to help you navigate. Unsealed sections are generally smooth and firm, so road bikes will cope, but mountain or touring bikes are more suited.
From Flinders Street station, you can ride along the north bank of the Yarra as logged in this ride, or cross to the other side and set out from just below the Princes Bridge. Either way you can take in the river action and stop to admire the city views behind you. Both trails eventually meet up about 5km east from the start. If you are making this a leisurely ride, first stop might be the café at Collingwood Children’s Farm which is right on the trail or save it for the historic Fairfield Boathouse for that coffee and something to eat. In the middle part of the ride you will see information boards for the various Heidelberg School artists who adopted the impressionist style to paint the scenery along the Yarra in the late 19th century. Unfortunately the images of the paintings are weathered but the information provided is still interesting.
There are many park spaces and rest areas along the way which lend themselves to relaxing rest stops to take in the river scenery. In particular Yarra Bend Park and Westerfolds Park starting at around 14 and 31km respectively, have some beautiful spots. If you get to Eltham and decide to make a day of it, grab some lunch at one of the many spots along Main Road and have a break before riding back into the city. That way you’ll have the chance to explore a few variations to the trail at places like Westerfolds Park, Banyule Flats Reserve and through Yarra Bend Park. The trail trends gradually downhill back to the city which will make you feel better.
The ride starts at Flinders Street station and finishes at Eltham station
Food and Drink
There are water taps along the trail. Collingwood Children’s Farm or the Fairfield Boathouse (look for the sign at 15.2) are good choices. Otherwise bring provisions for a picnic or wait until you reach Eltham which has a variety of places for refreshments.
37.659 km / 23.4 mi
639 m / 2,096 ft
63 m / 207 ft