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.

Access

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.

Side Trip

Singletrack networks exist in Westerfolds Park, expect pedestrians and explore with due regard to Parks Victoria’s recommendations on trail use.

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Reset your computer on the Main Yarra Trail below the steel Chandler Hwy bridge which crosses the Yarra River. Ride east, away from town, on the singletrack beside river.
  • 0.9 Cross the Yarra Trail onto more singletrack, following the Eastern Fwy past all side tracks before returning to the Yarra Trail. Ignore the tunnel under the freeway and pass Willow and Elm groves.
  • 2.4 Cross Belford Rd, still on the Yarra Trail, passing Kew Golf Club. Bear left onto singletrack next to the fence just before the bottom of the hill.
  • 3.2 Rejoin the Yarra Trail.
  • 3.4 Bear right on singletrack before rejoining the Yarra Trail.
  • 3.9 Turn hard right between trees onto singletrack around Burke Rd Billabong and keep right at singletrack intersections.
  • 4.5 Turn right onto Yarra Trail then immediately left over the Yarra on the concrete bridge. At the far side, turn right.
  • 4.6 At bollards and fence, turn right onto the first singletrack and continue heading east between Yarra Trail and the river on a mowed path.
  • 6.4 Bear right back onto Yarra Trail.
  • 6.9 Drinking fountain marks a network of singletrack in the paddock on your right.
  • 7.3 Bear right onto singletrack and keep right. Follow the river upstream.
  • 8.8 Stay on Yarra Trail under Banksia St bridge.
  • 9.8 Turn right off the concrete Yarra Trail at Banyule Reserve and keep right around the oval.
  • 11.7 Turn right through the gap in the fence, follow the singletrack and continue upstream.
  • 13.8 Turn right onto Yarra Trail, go over the bridge and past Rosanna Golf Club.
  • 14.1 Turn right onto singletrack.
  • 15.7 Go straight ahead at Bonds Rd on the Yarra Trail.
  • 16.7 Turn right onto singletrack from the downhill path after Odyssey House.
  • 17.8 Turn right onto the Yarra Trail and cross the bridge into Westerfolds Park.
  • 18.1 Turn right onto the dirt track that follows the hill contour.
  • 18.7 Turn left on the gravel and, after 200m, go straight ahead at the five-way junction on a grass covered trail.
  • 19.1 Turn right uphill at crossroads to Mia Mia Café in Westerfolds Manor.
  • 19.3 Stop at Mia Mia Café before returning the way you came.
  • 38.6 Finish back at Chandler Hwy bridge.
  • Trail map

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    Back

    34.865 km / 21.664 mi

    Total Distance

    781 m / 2,563 ft

    Total Ascent

    781 m / 2,563 ft

    Total Descent

    64 m / 209 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Low
    MTB Segment: flow
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 36.9
    Elevation Gain: 190
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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