This is a very pleasant jaunt that meanders beside the bends of the Yarra.
The first part of this ride is a little deceptive, going from a fairly rough bit of gravel track, which is subject to flooding, onto a concrete path. There is a small singletrack network on the left after the Horseshoe Billabong and another little bit on the other side of the Eastern Freeway underpass, but the real action doesn’t start until you have ridden five kilometers. Here you slip past a rusted-metal eel sculpture and behind the Veneto Club into a quiet stretch of singletrack beside the Yarra that only attracts the occasional dog walking people. The river flows lazily on your left, the birds sing, life’s good. You pass the long-abandoned site of the Bulleen drive-in before emerging back in civilization on Banksia Street. If the river is flowing not so lazily, you may have to detour slightly here to reach the main road.
Once you’ve crossed the bridge over the Yarra, it is back into the singletrack network on the other side of the river, with lots of shade and short stretches on the Main Yarra Trail to rest your legs. After the 8.2km mark, there is a beautiful stretch of trail with several loops running off it. You meet the Main Yarra Trail then head back over the first section to the finish.
Halfway through the ride, you get to enjoy fun sections of non-technical singletrack and a beautiful stretch of scenic trail with several loops to explore. The mix of sealed bike path and singletrack makes this an ideal suburban ride for a family or anyone wanting an easy transition from bike paths. The ride meets the main Yarra bike path then re-traces the original route to the start/finish.
The ride starts in suburban Ivanhoe, about eight kilometers from the CBD. Turn on to The Boulevard, Ivanhoe, from Heidelberg Road just down from Ivanhoe Cycles and the Darebin railway station. Proceed for just under one kilometer to Wilson Reserve car park downhill on the right (Melway 31 F10).
- Train: Take the train to Darebin station and proceed as above to the start.
Food and drink
There is a café after 1.6km at the Ivanhoe Public Golf Course, another at the Freeway Public Golf Course after 3.8km and a restaurant at the Veneto Club (5.1km).
Watch for the information boards depicting the work of members of the ‘Heidelberg School’, who painted along this stretch of the river. In the wetter months, this ride can get slippery and rutted and is best avoided, but in the warmer weather, it is ideal to be beside the river.
You can totally turn this into a cultural experience by visiting the Heide Museum of Modern Art, off Manningham Road. (Melway 32 E4)
Reset your computer near the Wilson Reserve car park and ride onto the shared-use path.
Bear left at the Y-intersection then right at the next one. Cross the wooden bridge with care when it is wet.
- 0.5 Turn right. Pass the golf course on left. Bear left.
- 1.9 Turn right on concrete at the Give Way sign.
- 2.2 Turn right over the Yarra River bridge then left at the T-intersection.
- 2.7 Go under the Eastern Fwy via the pedestrian underpass then turn left.
- 2.8 Keep left.
- 3.8 Go straight ahead at the road. Sign: ‘Golf Course Café’.
- 4.0 Bear left onto a short section of singletrack.
- 4.1 Turn left at Bulleen Rd. Cross the bridge over the Eastern Fwy. Continue along Bulleen Rd on the footpath and grass past the Freeway Golf Course.
- 4.7 Pass Bulleen Park entrance. Look for a gravel path starting almost immediately on the left.
- 4.8 Turn right and ride around the oval.
- 5.1 Turn right through the gateway near the rusty eel sculpture and Veneto Club, enjoy the singletrack near the river, ignore side tracks.
- 7.3 Turn left downhill after the wooden bridge.
- 7.6 Turn right up a bitumen path to Banksia St, then turn left on the footpath and cross the bridge.
- 8.0 Turn left down the bike path. Turn left again after 100m. Sign: ‘Templestowe 7.8km’.
- 8.2 Turn right onto the singletrack under power lines. Keep to the best-formed singletrack close to the Yarra River.
- 8.9 Turn left, then right.
- 9.7 Turn left onto the Main Yarra Trail.
- 10.7 Turn left onto the singletrack.
- 11.4 Go through the gateway, turn left onto the Yarra Trail and ignore side tracks.
- 11.9 Bear left onto singletrack.
- 12.6 Go straight ahead.
- 13.4 Bear left onto the Yarra Trail again through the gateway.
- 13.6 Go straight ahead at the bridge you crossed earlier. Signs: ‘Main Yarra Trail’. Follow the trail back to your starting point.
- 15.8 Finish back at Wilson Reserve car park.
15.042 km / 9.347 mi
236 m / 773 ft
247 m / 811 ft
40 m / 130 ft