Melbourne's Top 10 Bike Trails for your Next Weekend Ride
The range of bike trails to choose from in Melbourne makes it easy to explore one of the world's most livable cities from a truly unique perspective. Whether you're a home-grown Melburnian or you're a visitor to Wurrundjeri country, there's a lot of bike trails in Victoria that can take you places that you never knew existed. We also have a great range of bikes, so make sure you have the right bike for your next adventure.
Here are 10 of the best bike rides in Victoria and Melbourne (in no particular order).
1. Capital City Trail
This 30-kilometre round-trip is the perfect way to discover some iconic Melbourne scenery and the city's picturesque inner suburbs. Departing from Docklands, the trail combines the majority of the inner-city's most-recognised trails including the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, Merri Creek Trail, Inner Circle Rail Trail and the Yarra Trail.
As well as incorporating a plethora of cafés for refuelling tired legs and rumbling tummies, the Capital City Trail takes in The Royal Melbourne Zoo in Parkville, Dights Falls and the Collingwood Childrens' Zoo in Abbotsford before winding your way home along the famed Yarra River and Royal Botanic Gardens, Southbank and South Wharf, then back to Docklands again.
But you don't have to do the full round-trip - start anywhere on the trail that takes your fancy, and travel in any direction you prefer, depending on your fitness levels and/or experience.
2. The Bay Trail
Starting in Port Melbourne and heading southeast to Mordialloc, the Bay Trail is a 30-kilometre point-to-point ride on a mostly flat, dedicated shared pathway along Melbourne's most popular beaches - Middle Park, St Kilda, Brighton, Sandringham, Half Moon Bay and Black Rock. If you're looking for something a bit shorter, the 13-kilometre loop ride from Port Melbourne to the Brighton Yacht Club and back is a popular alternative.
Like the Capital City Trail, there's no shortage of places along the route for you to enjoy a coffee with something sweet or savoury before or after a swim at St Kilda, Elwood or Brighton beaches. For a more hearty feed, the ever-popular Ricketts Point Tea House in Beaumaris makes a great stop for a long lunch.
Whether you begin your ride at 'Mordi' or Port Melbourne, this seaside pedal offers some stunning views along the way, with Point Ormond in Elwood providing riders who aren't in a rush some truly Instagrammable views of the CBD skyline and Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay.
A great day's ride for cyclists of all fitness levels, the path can get some really heavy pedestrian traffic in the warmer months, so you'll need to be alert. It can also get a bit challenging when the on-shore breezes are up.
3. Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail
On the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay is the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, a leisurely 23-kilometre point-to-point trip combining Melbourne's seafaring history, and classic beachside sights and sounds, with the ecological diversity of Melbourne's western suburbs.
With the traditional starting line at Scienceworks in Spotswood, the route showcases Williamstown's iconic Esplanade with its wide range of eateries, bars and some of Melbourne's best fish 'n' chip joints. Next up is the Altona foreshore, Truganina Park with its amazing views of Port Phillip Bay and the You Yangs, and then on to the finish-line at Skeleton Creek wetlands in Altona Meadows.
Pack some picnic gear or grab supplies in Williamstown or Altona, so you best enjoy it at a relaxed pace. This is also a great ride for beginners.
4. Maribyrnong River Trail
Like the Hobsons Bay ride, the Maribyrnong River Trail includes a diverse range of sights and sounds, combining carefully managed sustainable natural environments with Melbourne's seafaring and industrial heritage.
Starting at Brimbank Park Nature Reserve in East Keilor, the point-to-point Maribyrnong River Trail winds its way through Melbourne's northwestern suburbs including Avondale Heights with some slight hill climbs to get the legs pumping for beginners. It incorporates the Lily Street Lookout in Aberfeldie, Pipemakers Park Maribyrnong, as well as Footscray Park and historic Flemington Racecourse, before wrapping up at Docklands to conclude a fun and relaxing day's ride.
5. Eastlink and Dandenong Creek Trail
If you're looking for a bike trail with some truly memorable scenery and challenging hills, then the 35-kilometre Eastlink and Dandenong Creek Trail has your name written all over it.
A shared bike and pedestrian path, it works its way through the spectacular Mullum Mullum Valley, and conveniently links in with the 16-kilometre Dandenong Creek Trail loop that incorporates Koomba Park, Jells Park and Bushy Park wetlands - great if you're a bit gassed after the challenging hills and end up opting for something a bit shorter in distance. On the other hand, if you're just getting warmed up by that parkland stage, you can wind your way right through to Port Phillip Bay at Carrum via the open spaces of Dandenong and Bangholme adjacent to the Eastlink tollway.
Billed as Melbourne's longest sealed pedestrian and bicycle path, much of the trail is a shared footway with plenty of joggers and pedestrians, so patience and concentration is the name of the game on the Mullum Mullum and Wheelers Hill section of the trail. Overall, the trail is well-sealed with a small section consisting of compacted gravel, giving riders a comfy time in the saddle. There's also some great food and drink breaks on offer within Jells Park.
6. Gardiners Creek Trail
One of Melbourne's most relaxing and visually appealing bike rides, the 17-kilometre Gardiners Creek Trail takes you from Heyington Station in Toorak to Blackburn station in the eastern suburbs.
The ride takes you past the former home of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Kooyong, through Glen Iris then East Malvern, Burwood, Box Hill and, finally, Blackburn. You'll see forests, Koori carvings, playgrounds and parks with BBQs, a number of lakes and billabongs and a wetlands area.
Gardiners Creek Trail is a point-to-point route on paths shared with pedestrians. It's relatively flat, but if you're low on fitness or have knee or lower back issues, the pro tip is to start from the Blackburn Station end, which makes your route a mostly downhill stretch.
There are plenty of picnicking sites on the trail for a romantic picnic with your special or for families looking for a nice spot to get into a pre-packed lunch. Recent path-widening upgrade works between Highbury Road and High Street Road have helped improve safety for riders and pedestrians alike.
7. Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail
The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is an iconic, 40-kilometre point-to-point, shared pathway. The trail begins at Lilydale Station and takes you through the unforgettable sights and natural environment of the Yarra Valley on the way to Warburton.
As well as the natural delights of the region, the Warburton Trail also includes some of the world's best wineries and restaurants, historical markers, old train station platforms dating as far back as 1882 that form part of the Upper Yarra Museum, and century-old restored bridges.
The Rail Trail's gentle gradients make it ideal for all levels of fitness, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many people who would argue against the virtues of taking the trail at a leisurely pace, and then staying overnight in Warburton to sample the local hospitality before heading back to Lilydale the following day.
8. Main Yarra Trail
Not to be confused with the Capital City Trail, the Main Yarra Trail is 22 kilometres of some of the most picturesque parts of Melbourne's outer northeast green-wedge featuring native eucalypt bushland, a seemingly endless array of birdlife and billabongs that follow the flow of the Yarra River connecting you to Yarra Bend Park and Birrarung Park.
The trail is graded at an easy-to-medium level of difficulty, and takes most people between four to five hours to complete. The Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen and the ever-popular Fairfield Boathouse Café make for welcome breaks on the ride.
9. The Great Victorian Rail Trail
The Great Victorian Rail Trail - previously the High Country Rail Trail - is a must-see-and-do experience for anyone who loves cycling and touring.
Running from Tallarook (around 98 kilometres from Melbourne) to Mansfield in the heart of Victoria's High Country, this is a 134-kilometre ride encompassing a series of distinctly Australian rivers, lakes and mountain countryside, as well as a range of native animals in their natural habitats.
Don't be fooled by the use of the term 'High Country' - it's far from a Tour de France-style mountain stage. While there are some steep climbs - absolutely worth it for the views of Lake Eildon from the Bonnie Doon Bridge, to name just one of so many spectacular sights on the trail - the uphill sections are short and the majority of the trail is relatively flat.
Given the length of the journey, it's ideal for cyclists who love to camp. For those who want a few creature comforts after a day in the saddle, the revamped Trawool Estate in the National Trust classified Trawool Valley makes an ideal spot for an overnight stay on the return to Melbourne to recharge the batteries and enjoy a delicious meal showcasing locally-sourced produce and regional wines.
10. Murray to Mountains Trail
Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular cycling trails in Australia, let alone Victoria. Stretching over 116 kilometres from Wangaratta in Victoria's northeast to the gateway of the Victorian snowfields in Bright, the Murray to Mountains Trail is nothing short of an unforgettable sensory experience.
The sealed path makes it easy to crack along at a leisurely riding pace, giving you time to explore Beechworth and its famous gold mining past (not to mention its famous bakery!), as well as numerous King Valley wineries like Brown Brothers in Milawa.
Victoria's Alpine Region is popular all-year-round, but there are a couple of 'sweet spots' that pay dividends for the patient cycling enthusiast. A ride in autumn is when the region's vividly-coloured red and brown leaves will be decorating the path, and the hint of wood and pine nettles filter through the crisp, clean mountain air. In the summer months, enjoy mild evenings and the refreshing King and Ovens rivers for a cooling dip.
Beechworth, Myrtleford, Porepunkah and Bright also boast amazing restaurants, wineries and kid-friendly cafés, as well as world-class camping and short and long-term accommodation solutions for those who want to savour every step of the trail and not feel rushed.
Check out these amazing bike trails in Melbourne for the ultimate ride this weekend.
Looking for a new bike? Then head over to our bike sizing guide for some helpful information, or if you're looking to escape from the city this weekend, check out our camping and hiking range to make sure you have all the gear you need.