Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing Ride, St Kilda City Loop
From cosmopolitan, St Kilda to the city along Melbourne’s answer to the Champs Élysées, then back along the beach, this short ride could take a day if you stop off at all the points of interest along the way. It’s made possible with bike lanes or separate paths, but you do need to be confident cycling around cars especially at St Kilda junction. You will have other riders for company as the lanes and paths are popular commuter routes. Weekends are undoubtedly the best time for this ride, but it is possible any time. As well as the need for care at the junction also watch out for distracted drivers in work mode double parking or jumping in to scarce parking spots along St Kilda Road.
The start of the ride along Fitzroy Street takes you past many eateries with kerbside tables and chairs, which provide temptation before you’ve hardly turned a wheel. Then it is into St Kilda Road, which to some is over-rated in terms of the buildings which line it, but does provide an attractive tree lined entrance straight to the heart of the city. Closer to the city you pass by extensive parklands on the right, which have in them the Shrine of Remembrance (no cycling in the precinct), the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Sydney Myer Music Bowl, all worth a diversion if you have time. Then on the left is the National Gallery of Victoria and the Arts Centre, which both have free exhibitions.
The city is a short hop across Princes Bridge, where you could lock up the bikes and dig in for a bit of browsing or shopping. Alternatively, head down to Federation Wharf on the north side of the bridge for a boat tour along the Yarra. The short path from St Kilda Road to Southbank, down a ramp beside Hamer Hall, requires a short stretch of walking. You then have a slow amble along Southbank (10kph speed limit for cyclists) past many eateries and the casino, before hopping on the Sandridge Rail Trail to head back to the beach. In no time you arrive at Beacon Cove, which has another cluster of eateries around Station Pier. You ride back along beside Middle Park beach which is very popular with bathers and lazers and at the other end, if it is a breezy day, you can watch the para surfers near the marina. If when you finish this loop you are still looking for something to do, head for the St Kilda market, which is on the Upper Esplanade, just across Fitzroy Street, and happens every Sunday.
Paid parking is available along Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park and in Pier Road, which runs off Beaconsfield Parade, or you could park further around the bay and ride in to the start along the Bay Trail.
Food and Drink
Take your pick as you ride along Fitzroy Street, Southbank and Beacon Cove. For a quick coffee or snack without straying far, stop at the coffee kiosk outside the Arts Centre where you can practically order from the saddle.
13.893 km / 8.633 mi
325 m / 1,066 ft
27 m / 90 ft