Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Sightseeing Ride, Federation Trail – Werribee to Newport
This ride begins in Werribee on the Werribee River Trail before joining the Federation Trail for 23 kilometres of flat, smooth shared path. Eventually, the trail will continue right into Melbourne, but for the moment it stops in Brooklyn adjacent to the West Gate Freeway. You could turn here and head back to Werribee or continue on road to Newport for a bite to eat. Don’t be daunted by the fact that the trail follows a sewer. It is no longer in use.
The start point, Werribee, is a bustling town with the centre being a short distance from the station. The start of the ride along the Werribee River is quite pleasant, before you turn on to the Federation Trail through flat and open country. Along the trail the scenery is not very inspiring, as you pass by industrial complexes, some of them smelly, some just plain ugly. However, the trail has a lot of appeal, being flat and built to a high standard. Built at a cost of $12.5 million, the trail is well signposted and all crossings with major roads are controlled by traffic lights, making it an extremely safe and enjoyable ride.
In places there isn’t much to protect you from any wind, so if you are riding only one way pick a day where you might have a tail wind to maximise your riding enjoyment. The start of the trail is marked by distinctive signage which is consistent throughout the entire length of the trail. Unfortunately, many of them are despoiled by graffiti.
For the next 23 kilometres, the trail follows the Main Outfall Sewer reserve. This sewer was one of the most demanding construction projects undertaken in Melbourne in the 19th century. The information boards along the trail provide interesting insights in to its construction and operation. Prior to 1993, sewage from Melbourne’s north and western suburbs flowed in a mix of closed and open channels to the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee. Fortunately, it is no longer in use as the odour from the open sections was reputedly so offensive that even farm animals avoided the surrounding land.
Throughout the ride, much of the original open channel, which operated from 1897, is still visible. The treatment plant still treats half of Melbourne’s domestic sewage and the majority of its industrial waste but the channel has been replaced by the Western Trunk Sewer. When the trail ends at Millers Road in Brooklyn, you can understand why Bicycle Victoria is campaigning to connect this ride to the other trails which take you into Melbourne.
At present this ride takes you along about six kilometres on road in to Newport, from where it is then possible to ride on trails the short distance back to Melbourne.
The ride starts on the south side of Werribee railway station and finishes at Newport station. The train trip from the city takes under an hour. If you’re driving take the Werribee exit from the Princes Freeway to the town centre. Parking is available at Chirnside Park.
Food and Drink
There are shops near the start at Werribee station but there’s not much else until you reach Newport. You’ll find a few drinking fountains along the way. At the finish, take the underpass below Newport station and find a table at nosh@newport, 24 Hall Street. The coffee and the meals are outstanding and the staff are friendly.
32.104 km / 19.949 mi
207 m / 679 ft
210 m / 689 ft
30 m / 98 ft