City To Airport

Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, City To Airport

This ride, which follows part of the Capital City Trail then the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail is a relatively easy ride, making a return trip realistic. There are plenty of shady spots to stop for breaks en route. If you fancy a bit of plane spotting, there are two great opportunities; first from Boeing Reserve as the trail passes close to Essendon airport, and then again towards the end near Melbourne airport. During weekdays at peak hours, the trail is busy with commuters. At other times and on weekends, it’s also a very popular route for recreational cyclists and if you’re ever unsure about directions, don’t hesitate to ask someone.

The first part of the ride is on the straight, wide path through Docklands where you sometimes have to watch for wandering pedestrians. Then after turning on to the Capital City Trail you are surrounded by concrete as CityLink spans overhead and the middle stretch of the Moonee Ponds Creek becomes a concrete encased channel. There is something starkly interesting about the freeway from this angle with roads snaking overhead, the round support columns jutting up around the trail and the colourful leaning pillars at Flemington Road which give relief from the concrete grey.

The scenery on the upper reaches of the creek doesn’t rise to any great heights but some of the parks you ride through are pleasant. One such area is the large expanse of parkland around Boeing Reserve (17.5km). Take a break at the Strathmore Totem in the reserve and watch the light aircraft coming and going from nearby Essendon airport. This totem is one of a number of public art fixtures along the trail which make the ride more interesting.

You are never far from suburbia, but as you enter Woodlands Historic Park towards the end of the ride the countryside becomes more natural and you could be a long way from the city. You are quickly brought back to reality at the flight position towers for Melbourne airport if passenger jets are using the flight path overhead. You can stand and watch them clawing their way into sky directly overhead, filling the air with their noise and fumes.  The ride finishes a short walk from the airport terminal, so if you want to continue the flying theme, trot across for a look around.


Southern Cross station is the starting point. Exit to the south of the station at the high level to Collins Street, and head away from the city over the bridge towards Docklands. 

Food and Drink

There are coffee and food choices at and around Southern Cross station and along Harbour Esplanade. At Fawkner Street (25.9km) you ride past a milk bar and a bakery/coffee shop. There is a McDonalds at the ride end.

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28.822 km / 17.909 mi

Total Distance

506 m / 1,660 ft

Total Ascent

429 m / 1,407 ft

Total Descent

124 m / 407 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
Fitness Level: Medium
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: 31.0
Elevation Gain: 357
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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