Ivanhoe Explorer

Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Ivanhoe Explorer

This is a very pleasant jaunt that meanders beside the bends of the Yarra. 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 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’ve ridden five kilometres. 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 walker. 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 civilisation 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’s 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.

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.


The ride starts in suburban Ivanhoe, about eight kilometres 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 kilometre 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’s 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).

Side Trip

Turn this into a cultural experience by visiting the Heide Museum of Modern Art, off Manningham Road. (Melway 32 E4)

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Reset your computer near the Wilson Reserve car park and ride onto the shared-use path.
  • 0.1 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.
  • 1.0 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.
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    15.042 km / 9.347 mi

    Total Distance

    236 m / 773 ft

    Total Ascent

    247 m / 811 ft

    Total Descent

    40 m / 130 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Low
    MTB Segment: flow
    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: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 15.5
    Elevation Gain: 120
    First Aid
    Bike hire
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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