Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Eastern Loop
This ride takes advantage of the extensive network of trails in eastern Melbourne which take in the natural beauty along various river and creek catchments, the concrete of the eastern freeways and a bit of early history along the Anniversary Trail, otherwise known as the Outer Circle Rail Trail. It is an enjoyable ride along good, mostly easy trails with a bit of huff and puff required in the two hilly areas mentioned in Terrain. The chosen start point, Jells Park, makes a good base as you literally start at the doorway of the café if you need a caffeine start-up and it makes a restful place to relax at the end with sweeping lawns and several picnic and barbecue spots.
After an easy run north along the EastLink Trail you turn into the remnant bushland of the Mullum Mullum Park and Yarran Dheran Reserve. Nearby is Schwerkolts cottage and museum complex, developed around the cottage built in 1888 by a German settler. You begin the first climb as you see motorists on the freeway taking the easy way through the hill via the Melba Tunnel and finish off with a final climb near where they emerge in their cocooned comfort out of the tunnel on to the Eastern Freeway. Definitely harder by bike, but you do avoid the noise and smell of the freeway tunnel.
The Koonung Creek Trail then takes you towards the city. It hugs the freeway but is pleasantly landscaped and passes through some good rest points in parklands. Then you turn south on the Anniversary or Outer Circle Rail Trail. The former rail line’s history is displayed in signage, photographs and trail markers. The cuttings, embankments and bridges also remind you of the time when steam engines travelled the route over a century ago. The first sections of the trail were opened 100 years after the railway line’s commencement, giving rise to the trail’s other name, the Anniversary Trail. Where it crosses past several shopping centres you have the chance to take a break and refuel.
The easterly leg of the loop along the Scotchmans Creek Trail takes you through more linear parkland before weaving through suburban streets back to Jells Park. If you are riding on a warm day the two aquatic centres which you pass right next to might be tempting if you’ve brought the right gear. Otherwise you might have to make do with a relax on the lawns overlooking the lake in Jells Park.
The entrance to Jells Park is at the end of Waverley Road, Wheelers Hill. The ride is a loop and could be started anywhere on the circuit, including East Malvern station, or any of the stations along the Anniversary Trail.
Food and Drink
The start/finish point is at the café in Jells Park. The Anniversary Trail section of the ride passes by the doors of coffee shops and bakeries in Toorak Road, Burwood and High Street, Ashburton. There are water taps at a few places on the trail.
58.954 km / 36.632 mi
1,174 m / 3,852 ft
149 m / 489 ft