Rosstown Rail Trail

Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing and Road Ride, Rosstown Rail Trail

The Rosstown Rail Trail is an easy ride which would suit a family looking for an introductory, on-road ride but with the option of a shared path through reserves for some of the trail. There are plenty of parks to enjoy along the way and the opportunity to see some cycle racing at the velodrome in Packer Reserve. . The ride follows the former route of the Rosstown railway line. Construction of this private railway commenced in 1883 and was not completed until 1888 due to shoddy workmanship.

It had been the dream of William Ross (hence the rail line’s name) to build a sugar beet mill in close proximity to the city, served by a dedicated railway line to transport the processed sugar from the mill to Elsternwick to connect with another rail line. However the mill was a failure and the rail line failed with it. It is reputed that only a single trip was made on it before it quickly fell in to disrepair. It’s only from historical accounts that you can appreciate the story of this trail as there is nothing left today that would suggest there was ever a railway there.

The City of Glen Eira have published a comprehensive brochure about the Rosstown Railway on their website and it includes some historical images and history of the railway and surrounding areas. So even though you are riding along the route of a rail line you ride mostly through suburban streets apart from some sections in parklands There are a number of turns involved and the ride is well signposted. However, a few of the signs do occasionally get moved for a bit of fun, so keep an eye on the ride log. The parklands on the ride are pleasant, but otherwise there are no great attractions on the immediate route as you wind through the suburban streets. For anything more interesting try the side trips mentioned above, or at the finish you will find a movie theatre opposite the station as well as many eateries.

If you wanted to continue the ride to the beach, you can ride directly down Glen Huntly Road until you reach the coast. This can be busy but has a marked bike lane from Nepean Highway. You could connect up with Ride 12 or 37 for a tour alongside the bay.


The ride can be done in either direction with railway stations at Oakleigh and Elsternwick at either end of the ride. The terrain is relatively flat but if you want to ride gradually downhill, start at Oakleigh.

Food and Drink

There are plenty of places near Elsternwick station including the small but interesting Café Izzi which serves great coffee and snacks during the week and Saturdays. If you feel like continuing downhill along Glen Huntly Road towards the beach, you’ll eventually reach the roundabout at Broadway in Elwood where there’s a cluster of cafés to choose from.

Trail map

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9.115 km / 5.664 mi

Total Distance

121 m / 397 ft

Total Ascent

167 m / 548 ft

Total Descent

61 m / 200 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
Ride Duration: <1 hr
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: 9.2
Elevation Gain: 34
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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