Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Gardiners Creek Loop
This loop through the eastern suburbs combines Gardiners Creek Trail with parts of the Main Yarra, Capital City, Koonung Creek and Anniversary trails. Heading east from the city, the ride shows just how comprehensive the system of shared paths and bicycle trails of Melbourne is. Bicycle Victoria and Parks Victoria, among others, continually strive to improve the trail network. Ideally, continuous shared paths would eventually replace the on-road links between trails, but for now some on-road riding is required. The number of turns required and patchy signage make this ride log essential if you don’t want to get lost in the wilds of the eastern suburbs.
Begin near Federation Square and head east along the north bank of the Yarra River on part of the Capital City Trail. The river and city views on this first stretch are impressive. After turning on to the Gardiners Creek Trail the trail is suspended directly below the CityLink, which may block GPS signals. Take care along this section of shared path because handrails reduce room to manoeuvre when passing other users. Along its lower reaches, Gardiners Creek is not an impressive watercourse but the green corridor is popular with commuting and recreational riders.
Upstream though, there are some pleasant stretches of the creek which are well landscaped and include areas of wetlands and parks. The shared path passes below several major roads before reaching Glen Iris wetlands where it crosses the creek a number of times. Simply follow the creek and stay on the sealed paths; gravel paths meander through the wetlands at this location but they are intended for walkers only. There are a number of playing fields and shady picnic spots here and toilets and drinking fountains are clearly signposted.
Further on the trail intersects briefly with Ride 9 before following Gardiners Creek again as it crosses Warrigal Road. The trail heads through a series of linear parks almost the entire distance up to Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. The lake is a pleasant place to stop at the ride high point before navigating through suburban streets to the Koonung Creek Trail along the Eastern Freeway. There are some pleasant sections through parkland along here. The trail crosses Ride 9 once again, and then merges for a while with Ride 7 on the Boulevard with great city views. An alternative way back is to turn left at the path crossing at 61.6km, ride across the Morell Bridge then turn right along the south bank of the Yarra. Restful gardens on the left and the coffee shops and cafés along Southbank beckon.
The ride starts at Flinders Street station and the Gardiners Creek section from six to 14km passes near Kooyong, Tooronga, Gardiner, Glen Iris, Darling and Malvern stations. If travelling by car start anywhere convenient.
Food and Drink
With a city start there are ample opportunities to grab a coffee, snack or food to go. There is a McDonalds at 20km and other food outlets nearby at 28.5km. Picnic spots abound along the trail and there are several spots where you can re-fill water bottles.
59.746 km / 37.124 mi
1,076 m / 3,530 ft
131 m / 430 ft