This is an easy ride that provides great city and park views as well as allowing you to take in all the river activity. Even at the busiest times, it is peaceful along the river bank once you get away from the city. It is an excellent short activity to include in a family day in the big smoke or for a new arrival to Melbourne to see some of the better city views.
The river is increasingly a focus of city life, particularly with the Southbank development just downstream. There is always something happening on the water whether it be crews from the boat clubs you pass out practicing in their slender racing sculls or the tourist cruise boats burbling up and down.
There are ample places along the way to relax and the views of the city across the river as you ride back in are excellent. It is a good family ride, being easy and away from cars.
The whole route is on smooth, flat pathway with well-paved surface. Easy and totally bike-friendly.
Flinders Street station is opposite the start. If driving park along Alexandra Avenue near the Botanical Gardens on a weekend or on Richmond Boulevard during the week and ride in on the Capital City Trail.
It can be very busy near the city on a good weekend, so a loud bell is recommended.
Food and drink
There is a café on the trail at Como and the Riverland Bar is just below the start point on the river bank. Otherwise, take your pick in the city. Brunetti in City Square, a short ride up Swanston Street is the place for delicious cakes. Have a barbecue on the river bank near the gardens.
With Rentabike bike hire on Federation Wharf just below the start point and bikes available from Bikeshare stations throughout the city, a visitor could easily fit this ride in even if they don’t have their own wheels.
If you want to go further try going out the Capital City Trail (Ride 1), straight on at the 5.1km point and do the rest of the ride on your return trip. As you would expect of a ride so close to the city you pass by some of its enduring attractions.
Como House is a short detour across Como Park. Originally built in 1847 it was the home for a string of families belonging to Melbourne’s colonial elite. The last of these, the Armytage family lived there for over 95 years, then handed it over to the National Trust in 1959. The house still remains furnished with Armytage family furniture and provides a glimpse into the lives and times of a dynasty.
Further down the river are the Royal Botanical Gardens, with several entrances just across Alexandra Avenue from the bike path. Established in 1846 on a swampy site it is now a world-class formal garden. Directors have included Ferdinand von Mueller, a renowned botanist, and explorer in colonial Victoria, and William Guilfoyle, who has been described as the master of landscaping. Riding is not allowed in the gardens but walk your bikes in or lock them up outside and go in to enjoy this green oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
There are plenty of walking paths, expansive lawns and a couple of cafés.
11.016 km / 6.845 mi
138 m / 453 ft
140 m / 459 ft
22 m / 72 ft