Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Yarra Singletrack
This out and back alternative to the Main Yarra Trail has been created by mountain bike riders and walkers wanting an alternative to the concrete and gravel path. No big climbs or monster downhills mean it’s not taxing physically but a good way to build up your speed and confidence on singletrack. It’s best to set aside at least half a day for this ride. The tree cover means it’s not a problem to tackle it in mid-summer, although the trail is more exposed towards Westerfolds Park.
This ride takes you from the edge of inner suburban Alphington to Westerfolds Park, a former farming property cleared in the 1840s but featuring a mock-Tudor mansion that’s 100 years younger. One of this adventure’s big pluses is that you can ‘cut and run’ at any stage on the way up or back by just switching to the Main Yarra Trail if you get tired or the weather turns pear shaped. It starts below a railway bridge opened in 1890 as part of a line from Fairfield to Hughesdale that was only fully operational for five years, due to the effects of the great depression, and now forms a very narrow part of the Chandler Highway.
The ride starts beautifully, hugging the riverbank fairly closely and darting between gum trees before crossing the Yarra Trail to run on singletrack beside the Eastern Freeway. There is a short stretch of bitumen while you go past the Kew Golf Course clubhouse and then it’s more singletrack squeezed between the Yarra Trail and the fairways. Tackle this section during the afternoon peak hour and you will be in Templestowe before the commuters.
The trip around the Burke Road Billabong Reserve can be interesting in the wet, giving you a chance to practise crossing slippery tree roots. Otherwise you can just enjoy the view.
The next section features a confusing collection of singletracks, some of which get mowed, but do not worry if you miss a turn as the river on the right and Yarra Trail on the left ensure you will not get lost.
The ride starts about 10km (20 minutes) by car northeast of Melbourne’s CBD. Take the Chandler Highway exit from the Eastern Freeway and park in Yarra Boulevard. Walk your bike down stairs to our start point under the Chandler Highway Bridge.
Train: Take the Hurstbridge line to Alphington station, ride back towards town along Wingrove Street and then left into Grange Road, which becomes the Chandler Highway. Turn left after the Chandler Highway Bridge at the entrance to Guide Dogs Victoria and Willsmere-Chandler Park (Melway 45 B1). Head downhill and turn left to our start point under the bridge.
Food and Drink
The Mia Mia Café in Westerfolds Park makes a nice spot to rest up before your ride back but is not always open. There’s nothing much else in the way of grazing on the trail unless you duck away from the singletrack into the suburbs.
Singletrack networks exist in Westerfolds Park, expect pedestrians and explore with due regard to Parks Victoria’s recommendations on trail use.
34.865 km / 21.664 mi
268 m / 878 ft
64 m / 209 ft