Docklands to Williamstown via Footscray

Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing Ride, Docklands to Williamstown via Footscray Ride

This short ride takes you from the rapidly developing Docklands on the fringe of the CBD, to the historic town of Williamstown. From there you can look back across Hobsons Bay to see the skyline of Melbourne where the ride began. A great place to start if you’re meeting up with friends is at “The Cow up the Tree” in Docklands. This quirky sculpture by John Kelly overlooks Victoria Harbour and it’s worth taking a few minutes to read the artist’s statement for an insight into the work and its placement. Docklands Docklands is the new precinct west of the city, with residential towers, marinas and plenty of eateries.

At the time of writing, construction was still taking place, including on the Southern Star Observation Wheel at Waterfront City. This attraction, similar to the London Eye, is meant to offer spectacular views over Melbourne and beyond, but has had a troubled and drawn out construction and remains incomplete. The Docks and Coode Island After leaving Docklands you ride west along Footscray Road with Coode Island to the left. In 1877 the Harbour Trust was established in an effort to improve the port facilities of Melbourne. Sir John Coode, a British engineer engaged by the Trust, recommended some major projects, including changing the course of the Yarra River and the construction of Victoria Dock.

Coode Island is a restricted area but the shipping containers stacked here are very visible along Footscray Road, as is the truck traffic which you need to watch for at crossings. The trail passes through some busy streets in Yarraville before passing below the West Gate Freeway near Stony Creek Park. This small wetland area supports nesting waterbirds and contains some areas of mangroves. Beneath the West Gate bridge is the memorial to the workers who lost their lives when it collapsed during construction. There is something un-nerving about standing directly below a bridge reading about its collapse. Shortly after is the Spotswood Pumping Station, to your right, which now forms part of Scienceworks Museum. From here there are historical markers and directions on the trail all the way into Williamstown.


There is a distinct maritime feel to Williamstown, and as you approach it along the waterfront from the north, you pass a succession of marinas and anchorages on your left with views across Hobsons Bay to Melbourne. Once the shared path reaches Nelson Parade, it’s only a short distance to the end of the ride at the visitor information centre which has all the information you need to spend the best part of a day exploring this historic town, now a suburb of Melbourne. If nothing else wander out to the pier for a look at the HMAS Castlemaine, a World War 2 corvette, which has a maritime museum on board.


The start is a short ride along Collins Street from Southern Cross station, or join this ride from a number of established bike paths including the Capital City Trail. Alternatively, catch a train to Williamstown station, then ride to the visitor information centre in Commonwealth Gardens to start there. 

Food and Drink

At Williamstown and Docklands there are great choices of places to enjoy a quick coffee or a long lunch.

Trail map

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11.89 km / 7.388 mi

Total Distance

113 m / 371 ft

Total Ascent

134 m / 440 ft

Total Descent

17 m / 56 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
Fitness Level: Low
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
Mobile Coverage: Excellent
Estimated Distance: 11.9
Elevation Gain: 100
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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