Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Sightseeing Ride, Darebin Creek Loop
If someone suggested a ride to Epping, it might not sound that appealing, but what about a ride along Darebin Creek through parks, wetlands and native frog habitats. Well, they’re one in the same ride and, apart from some on-road riding it’s otherwise a very quiet spin north through the suburbs. The ride can be undertaken one way up the creek to Epping station, or as a loop returning down St Georges Road. For the distance this loop is a relatively easy one and although the trail requires a little navigating, it’s worth persevering.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised just how far north you travel, how many suburbs you traverse and how many busy streets you avoid. The ride one way along the creek between Alphington and Epping stations is easily achievable for public transport users, although it should be noted the stations are on different lines. The longer loop ride is more practical for car users and if you don’t want to go the full distance you can turn left on to McMahon Road at 10.1km and pick up the return ride log at the 41.7 kilometres instruction. This would make a shorter 24km loop, but you miss the upper reaches of Darebin Creek.
The scenery along the creek is pleasant, rather than stunning, but if you approach the ride as an exploration, with exercise thrown in, you will enjoy it. Darebin parklands and the Norris Bank Reserve are two of the more attractively landscaped areas you ride through and both include picnic areas and toilets. The wetland area, north of the Western Ring Road, is a habitat for growling grass frogs. The small wetland area has been landscaped and is well maintained behind a low fence. Leave your bike outside the enclosure and enjoy the view from one of several observation decks.
The loop north of Epping station is through new housing developments. As the houses go up, the trail network of good quality sealed paths is growing along the landscaped creek reserve, so take time out for a bit of an explore if this type of environment is of interest. On the return ride you wiggle through side streets in Reservoir before straight lining back down the Epping rail line and St Georges Road, with city views appearing as a reminder that you are returning to the big smoke. Look for wall murals and trendy shops as you ride back through Northcote and Fairfield.
Alphington station, on the Hurstbridge line, is in Wingrove Street, Alphington. The ride passes other stations on the line and along the Epping line.
Food and Drink
The route passes shops at Northland, Reservoir, along St Georges Road and High Street, Westgarth. You could save your coffee fix for any of the good cafés around the rail line or in Station Street, Fairfield. Two favourites are Foxy Brown, which you pass in South Crescent and Bean Counter café south of Fairfield station.
50.682 km / 31.492 mi
585 m / 1,919 ft
148 m / 486 ft