Cycle Victoria, Sightseeing Ride, Barwon River Trail Ride
The Barwon River starts its life in the Otway Ranges joining the Moorabool River at Fyansford, before flowing through Lake Connewarre and entering the sea at Barwon Heads. This circuit takes in life around the river in Geelong, starting at Fyansford going down one side to the breakwater and then back on the other side. There is a lot going on and you will see it’s an integral part of Geelong’s charm and vibrancy.
Undulating riverside path mostly on a paved surface.
Plenty of people run, walk and ride along this trail. But it’s a long one and there is plenty of room, except perhaps in the section between the Shannon Avenue and Queens Park Road bridges where it’s narrower, twisting and more populated.
Geelong is 75 kilometres south west of Melbourne on the Princes Freeway, taking the Geelong Ring Road at Corio North. The ride starts next to the Fyansford Hotel on the Hamilton Highway (Aberdeen Street) (B140) coming into Geelong from the Geelong Ring Road. It’s just over the river on your right. VicRoads Map: 454 B4.
Food and Drink
Apart from the Fyansford Hotel there are shops close by all along this riverside path. Just before the Shannon Avenue bridge you can head up Barrabool Road to the Highton shops. At the Moorabool Street bridge there are shops in either direction. Best of all there is the Barwon Edge Boathouse cafe right on the path on the return leg about a kilometre past the Shannon Avenue bridge.
There is a short trail at the start of the ride up to Buckleys Falls. Well worth a visit.
The Barwon River is integral to much of Geelong’s leisure, sporting and natural life. As you will see, the river is popular for rowing, boating and fishing. Walkers, runners and cyclists use this fantastic trail constantly. Fyansford, where the ride commences, was one of the earliest places settled in Geelong by Captain Fyan the local police magistrate. He established a police camp here where the Moorabool River could be forded – and hence you have the name. The old buildings, including the pub, give you a sense of history here, but exploration further up the Barwon reveals even more.
The sidetrack to Buckley’s Falls will take you near to the weir and water race built to provide power to the still standing Fyansford Paper Mill. Heading downstream again, the waters flow past the Queens Park Golf Club and under the old single lane truss bridge. This bridge was recently replicated by a temporary bridge and entrance road constructed beside it for the 2010 UCI World Championship cycle race. This section of river is almost a gorge with houses built on the high banks on either side. It levels out as the river bends into the Highton area where you pass under the Shannon Avenue bridge.
From here on you’re coming into rowing territory where the river is wide and straight. The Head of the River rowing regatta, one of Australia’s premier rowing events, is held here. The race on the Barwon goes back to 1879. After passing under the Moorabool Street bridge you come to the Belmont Common with its wetlands and sporting facilities including another golf course, football ovals, athletics tracks and rowing clubrooms. The turn around is at the breakwater, once again constructed by Captain Fyan to stop the inflow of salt water into the town’s fresh water river supply. Coming back up the other side you get another perspective of the river. Noteworthy are the bird rich lakes of Balyang Sanctuary at the Shannon Avenue bridge.
This environmentally rich area continues after the bridge on the riverside wetlands. Coming toward the end of the ride you might stop at the café before heading through Queens Park back to Fyansford.
18.395 km / 11.43 mi
131 m / 430 ft
131 m / 430 ft
15 m / 50 ft