Simply the safest and most enjoyable ride on the Bellarine Peninsula, like most rail trails you are spoilt by mainly good pathways, trail facilities and most importantly, the absence of motor vehicles. The views are good at the start and toward the end and it’s pleasantly wooded for most of the way in between. Queenscliff has much to offer by way of seaside leisure, food and shopping. The only thing you need to worry about is the bothersome magpies in early spring, but they’re everywhere aren’t they!
There is also a short detour off to Point Lonsdale. You could also catch a Queenscliff train when they are running.
The trail is a mixture of surfaced and unsurfaced paths and roads. There is one steady climb at Leopold. There are two gullies with loose gravel; take caution. There is activity all along the trail, but it’s never crowded. Some road crossings require care.
Geelong is 75 kilometers southwest of Melbourne. From North Geelong turn left onto Bell Parade and onto The Esplanade. Turn right at Bellarine Street and immediately left onto Eastern Beach Road. At the top of the hill cross into the Eastern Gardens and then left onto Eastern Park Circuit. After the Botanical Gardens turn right into the Geelong Play Space car park. VicRoads Map: 454 D4.
Food and Drink
There is a café at the start on Eastern Beach and you can stock up in Geelong. Along the ride, you can get food and drink in Drysdale. There is a café at Drysdale station and it’s not far into town along High Street. In Queenscliff, there are lots of options.
The ride gets under way from the Eastern Gardens and follows the road around Limeburners Point. This would be a great place for a restaurant, but all you will find here is a boat launch and an angling club building. Around the point, the scenery changes dramatically as you face the aluminum smelter at Point Henry, the shallow mangrove swamps around the Cheetham salt works and the giant stack of the CSIRO Animal Health Laboratory. It’s not too bad, just not as nice as the other side.
The road will take you around this area, past the salt works, before you head inland to join the rail trail which actually begins in the suburb of Newcomb. This is better, no cars and a tree shaded trail all to yourself. The only annoyance is the numerous trail barriers that stop motorcyclists from using the trail. The path begins to climb up a gradual incline as it comes through Leopold. The Christies Road siding is a good place to stop for a few minutes. Continuing on, you crest the hill and you’re out in the countryside again.
This is where the magpies get friendly. They even have signs to let you know. Our experience indicates that none of them are psychopathic. Once you cross the Portarlington Road the path becomes a bit less kept, but wide. The trail sits beside an old railway line that is steadily being overgrown by the bush. Local groups including the Friends of the Bellarine Railway are all busy improving the trail and providing the maggies with more cover to attack you from. Arriving in Drysdale you have a chance to grab a bite and some drink and maybe catch the multiple personalitied train.
It goes from being a bit old fashioned and rusty to rejuvenating as Thomas and then occasionally gets down to some serious blues. People actually cycle daily to Geelong from Drysdale along the trail and who could blame them, as the roads around the peninsula become more and more manic. From here on it’s pretty much downhill to the coast as you ride through some gorgeous pasture and forests. Swan Bay opens up in front of you and then it’s on into Queenscliff still following the railway.
- 0.0 The ride starts in the Play Space car park next to the botanic gardens. Turn right coming out of the car park onto Eastern Park Cct.
- 0.7 Where the road forks, veer onto the minor road on your left and then follow it to the T-intersection turning right in front of the fishing club building onto Limeburners Rd passing beside the golf club.
- 1.9 Turn left onto the Geelong Portarlington Rd and ride through the lights at Boundary Rd.
- 5.1 Detour off the road to take a close inspection of the salt works and view the information sign.
- 5.6 Back on the Portarlington Rd cross over to the right to turn right at the traffic lights onto Moolap Station Rd.
- 6.6 Turn left onto the Bellarine Rail Trail straight after you cross Knapp Rd. You will find a shelter here.
- 9.8 You are crossing busy Melaleuca Rd. Once over the trail is surfaced. You are coming into Leopold.
- 10.6 This is Kensington Rd. There is a water tap to the right on the other side.
- 11.5 Christies Rd provides a good place to take a breather with toilets and seats set in pleasant surroundings. Take care crossing the road.
- 12.0 This is about the top of the Leopold hill and the path levels out and you’re back again in the countryside.
- 14.6 You have arrived at the Curlewis Siding shelter before crossing Curlewis Rd. From here the trail heads through a car park before reaching the Geelong Portarlington Rd again.
- 14.9 Cross over using the pedestrian lights and turn right, rejoining the trail. From here the path is unsurfaced.
- 17.2 You might want to take care on this steep gully or go around on the top of the bank to the right.
- 18.6 Cross over Jetty Rd and you are in the back blocks of Drysdale and Clifton Springs.
- 18.8 Cross over the very busy High St and continue into the Drysdale Station car park where you should find food, water and toilets. The trail leaves the car park at the other end to the left of the toilets.
- 19.0 Follow the path as it turns sharp right beside the houses and then left along side the railway line. Do not follow the path across the lines.
- 19.4 At Bridge Rd turn right, cross the railway line and rejoin the path on the left.
- 22.5 The path descends into a small valley. Take care as there is loose gravel.
- 24.3 After crossing a small road you arrive at the Mannerim Siding followed soon after by the Marcus Siding.
- 27.4 There is a farm gate crossing here where you may need to look out for cattle.
- 27.9 The trail crosses the railway line and continues on the other side.
- 28.8 This is the Suma Park siding where you will find toilets and views across to Swan Bay.
- 30.0 Cross over the Queenscliff Portarlington Rd and follow the path left beside the road.
- 30.3 The trail turns right heading away from the road and then joins the Old Port Rd that you will ride along to the right, eventually reinventing itself as the trail.
- 31.0 Crossing over the railway line take care not to get caught in the tracks.
- 31.3 Cross Fellows Rd and continue along Murray Rd, which is slightly to the right.
- 32.7 The road winds up to meet the Bellarine Hwy. Turn left onto the shared path as it winds beside Swan Bay and the railway line and rolls into finish at the Queenscliff Railway Station. Going straight ahead over the road will eventually take you to Point Lonsdale beside the Port Phillip Heads.
- 35.7 Ride finishes.
35.764 km / 22.223 mi
154 m / 505 ft
178 m / 585 ft
83 m / 272 ft