Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Bittern Boardwalk
This little gem is unique. It is an ideal hill free family ride, where you ride along an elevated boardwalk traversing mangroves and tidal waters beside Western Port Bay. There are large variations in water levels and at high tide you ride over the water. There are wonderful views over Western Port, French Island and Phillip Island.
Mangroves are usually associated with tropical waters and the Western Port variety are the most southerly in the world, flourishing in salty tidal waters and providing a haven for birds and marine life. The boardwalk starts a short distance from Jack’s Beach reserve. About half way to Hastings there is a lookout that almost begs you to you to stop and contemplate the view.
Further along, you skirt a large marina with a good variety of boats and yachts. Some of the larger vessels are fine examples of self-sufficiency, with solar cells and wind generators providing power. The yachties need a deal of skill to navigate shallow waters and narrow channels around Western Port.
If you have children with you on the ride, they will have plenty of fun at Pelican Park playground. Inside, the modern indoor pool is well worth a look, and the nearby café is great for lunch or coffee. The recreation complex is owned and operated by the local council and the café is staffed by young people training for careers in the food service industry. Remember the sunscreen as there is little shade throughout the ride.
Bittern is on the Mornington Peninsula, about one and a half hours’ drive to the south-east of Melbourne (Melway 165 A7).
By car: take Frankston-Flinders Road (C777), then Stony Point Road and Woolleys Road to Jacks Beach Reserve car park, which has a barbecue, toilets and picnic area.
By rail: take Stony Point service to Bittern and ride down Woolleys Road. The ride starts at Jack’s Beach reserve.
Food and Drink
Barbecue and picnic facilities at the start. Cafès at your destination and plenty of shops close by in Hastings.
Pelican Park recreation centre, your outbound destination, has a wonderful outdoor playground area for kids. Inside the centre you can have a coffee or lunch. There is a fine little fish shop on the jetty at Hastings, usually guarded in a lazy sort of way by a phalanx of sleepy pelicans.
On the return trip, a wander around the marina always provides interesting sights.
9.039 km / 5.617 mi
128 m / 419 ft
136 m / 446 ft
14 m / 45 ft