Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing Ride, Anniversary Trail Loop Ride
This ride can be done as a loop as logged, along the Anniversary, Main Yarra and Gardiners Creek trails, or as a shorter, one way station to station ride from Hughesdale to Fairfield. Despite its suburban locale the ride is mostly through pleasant parklands, even if, in places, these are narrow, linear green zones. The ride to Fairfield tends to follow the straight corridor of the old Outer Circle Railway, whereas the trip back winds along the banks of the Yarra River and Gardiners Creek.
The Outer Circle line was constructed in the 1890s, partly due to pressure from land developers including two parliamentarians who had land nearby, but it carried little traffic and heavy losses forced its gradual closure. Along the trail Parks Victoria and various local councils have documented the line’s history with signage, photographs and trail markers. The cuttings, embankments and bridges are also reminders of the previous life of this trail when steam engines travelled the route over a century ago.
The first sections of the trail were opened 100 years after the railway line first commenced, giving rise to the trail’s other name, the Anniversary Trail. You’ll notice references to both trail names along the way. The trail is well signposted but there are frequent road crossings to negotiate and parts of the ride can feel interrupted. Expect to see walkers and joggers out in force on weekends. After leaving the Anniversary Trail you ride through Yarra Bend Park. At Wurundjeri Lookout, which you reach before descending to the pipe bridge across the Yarra, there is a great view over the park to the city. As you cross the bridge you will see the Fairfield Boathouse to the right, where you can hire a boat for a paddle on the river or simply relax over refreshments. Heading back along the Yarra you pass Dights Falls, which despite the name is really a set of rapids. Named after John Dight who established Melbourne’s first water-powered flour mill on the site in the 1840s, it is now popular with slalom canoeists.
There is also a fishway under construction where you will be able to observe travelling fish when the water is clear. As the river turns towards the city at Richmond it is joined by Gardiners Creek. The Gardiners Creek Trail, which is popular with commuters, follows this creek back towards Hughesdale through some enjoyable parklands. Near Glenferrie Road you ride right by Hawthorn velodrome, so if you feel like extra exercise hop the fence and do a few laps. Leave enough in the tank to get to the finish.
The start is adjacent to Hughesdale station, which is just off Poath Road in Oakleigh. Turn off Poath Road just south of the railway line in to Arthur Street for car parking at the Galbally Reserve. For the shorter alternative finish at Fairfield station
Food and Drink
There are drinking fountains en route and the trail crosses a number of busy suburban streets with shops and cafés. For lunch or coffee and cake I can recommend the Bean Counter Café at Fairfield or the Collingwood Children’s Farm Café at 24km.
37.88 km / 23.538 mi
761 m / 2,497 ft
87 m / 286 ft