Williamstown to Altona Loop

Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Williamstown to Altona Loop

This ride begins in historic Williamstown within sight of Melbourne’s CBD. After a few kilometres of cycling, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re hours away from the city as the ride follows the coast past beautiful beaches and passes through wetlands and coastal reserves rich with bird life. This is part of the well-established Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail.

From the visitor information centre follow the signs which point to the Timeball Tower. It is worth stopping to read the information board on the time ball which dropped at one o’clock every day to allow shipmasters to set their chronometers. It was used from the mid 1800s to 1926, by which time radio communication had made it obsolete. There are great sea views across Port Phillip Bay as the trail continues out of Williamstown. This trail is well signposted throughout most of its length with historical information, points of interest and clear directions. The path swings back to join The Esplanade along Williamstown Beach where it becomes a dedicated bike path.

Continue along the path to reach Jawbone Conservation Reserve. Over 100 species, including many migratory birds, can be seen at the reserve and there are several bird hides, for use by the public, dotted along this ride. After the path crosses Kororoit Creek it enters the open grassed area of Altona Coastal Park. At this point you’ll notice a four metre high sculpture, and then further around the path to the left you’ll pass the site of the former Williamstown Racecourse established in 1873. Phar Lap even raced and won here but today a lone palm tree and some rubble from the grandstand are all that is left to identify the site.

From this park you continue alongside Altona beach. At the pier you’ll find a shopping strip and a small park to relax in if it isn’t beach weather. Also, check out the sea creature sculptures at the pier entry. Leaving Altona beach you cross Laverton Creek in to Truganina Park then skirt the edge of the Cheetham Wetlands. The park was reclaimed from the former Altona landfill tip. You pass a key feature of the park, the 100 Steps to Federation, a stone staircase made from basalt rocks recycled from the tip. The steps lead to a high point where you can take in sweeping panoramic views.

After heading inland along Skeleton Creek, through the new suburbs around Point Cook and Laverton, you turn back to the east and ride around the Truganina Swamp and Cherry Lake which provide valuable habitat for wildlife and are also vital in mitigating floodwaters and improving water quality. The return from here is along the outward path.


By train,Williamstown station is close to the starting point at Commonwealth Reserve, Williamstown. Alternatively, if you are riding from the city or Docklands, Ride 5 finishes at the starting point for this ride.

Food and Drink

Cafés and restaurants line Nelson Place and offer a terrific choice for a coffee or snack. Commonwealth Reserve is a beautiful, shady spot right near the water’s edge, so grab something from a bakery and relax on the grass. Water taps are scarce on the ride.


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40.262 km / 25.018 mi

Total Distance

258 m / 846 ft

Total Ascent

251 m / 823 ft

Total Descent

14 m / 46 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
Fitness Level: Medium
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Gravel Road
Mobile Coverage: Excellent
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle
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