Melbourne’s best bike trails

Moving Well | Justine Costigan | Posted on 05 March 2019

Discover the array of inner-city landscapes on Melbourne's bike paths.

Bush sanctuaries, wetlands, coastal reserves and wide green spaces: Escape the city on two wheels with these five easy-to-ride urban bike trails. 

man cycling along the Yarra Trail

Cycling along the Yarra Trail.

1. The Bay Trail: St Kilda to Beaumaris 

Taking you from grungy St Kilda past some of Melbourne’s prettiest (and wealthiest) bayside suburbs, this stretch of the Bay Trail quickly heads into sleepy beachside territory. Revealing pretty coves and cliffs, coastal scrub, dunes and beachside parks, enjoy sweeping bayside views, birdlife, bobbing boats and an easy, flat ride from start to finish. 

  • Start: St Kilda Pier. 
  • Distance: 16.8 kilometres from St Kilda Pier to Ricketts Point, Beaumaris. 
  • Difficulty: Easy, but it’s a popular trail so keep an eye out for walkers and other path users. 
  • Highlights: Discovering Melbourne’s beaches are actually pretty special. 
  • Pit-stop: Park the bike at Half Moon Bay in Black Rock, kick off your shoes and enjoy the calm, protected cove. Stop in at the Cerberus Kiosk (named after the wreck of the HMVS Cerberus, scuttled in the bay) for fish and chips, burgers and cold drinks. 
  • Best for: Sea breezes to blow away the cobwebs. 

2. Gardiners Creek Trail: Toorak to Blackburn 

Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs live up to their name along this lush green corridor that follows the path of Gardiners Creek through wetlands, parks and sporting fields. 

  • Start: Heyington Station, Toorak. 
  • Distance: 17 kilometres. 
  • Difficulty: Easy, with a gentle incline. 
  • Highlights: Ducklings trailing their mothers on the creek. 
  • Pit-stop: The wetlands deserve more than a passing glance as you cycle by. Park the bike and wander or just find a bench and sit. 
  • Best for: Nature lovers – think stunning autumn colour, shady avenues and plentiful birds and wildlife. 
altona pier on a clear day

Altona Pier, near the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail.

breakfast plate with avocado and poched egg

Refuel at Cafe Heide near the Yarra Trail.

cyclist riding along st kilda beach

Taking in the St Kilda foreshore on two wheels. 

3. Yarra Trail: Fairfield to Heide Museum of Modern Art 

A green corridor passing through parks, alongside golf courses and with glimpses of the Yarra River, this small section of the Yarra Trail offers a mix of bushy paths, manicured lawns, genteel parks and city views. Once you reach Manningham Road, make your way through Banskia Park to the Museum or stick to the road for the direct route. 

  • Start: Fairfield Park Drive. 
  • Distance: 10 kilometres.  
  • Difficulty: Some steep climbs, worth it for the city views. 
  • Highlights: Stopping to watch golfers at play. 
  • Pit-stop: Bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds of Heide Museum or visit the stylish Heide Cafe. Leave enough time to take in an exhibition or wander the sculpture trail.  
  • Best for: A lazy Sunday afternoon. 

4. Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail: Williamstown to Altona 

True to its name, this bike trail hugs the coastline from the West Gate Bridge past Williamstown to Altona and the coastal wetlands. There’s plenty of boat, bird and bay watching along the way, and you’ll also find historic buildings and markers and pretty parks and gardens. On a sunny day, it’s hard to beat. 

  • Start: Williamstown Station. 
  • Distance: 10 kilometres. 
  • Difficulty: Easy riding, with a well-signposted path. 
  • Highlights: Birdlife in the coastal park. 
  • Pit-stop: Take a break at The Kiosk D’Asporto on pretty Williamstown Beach for panino, gelato, espresso and people watching. 
  • Best for: Warm weather so you can finish your ride with a swim at the beach. 

5. Merri Creek Trail/Capital City Trail: Coburg to Abbotsford 

This combination itinerary takes you past the burbling Merri Creek before joining the Yarra River. Start in Coburg and follow the trail past the Islamic Museum, pretty market gardens and the Ceres Community Environment Park through Clifton Hill and Fairfield past Dights Falls to Abbotsford. Despite the nearby industry, high-density housing and traffic, this inner-city trail is a little oasis of nature, disturbed only by the sounds of birds, footy games and children playing. 

  • Start: Join the Merri Creek Trail at any of the entry points along the creek.  
  • Distance: 11.9 kilometres from Bell Street Coburg to Collingwood Children’s Farm. 
  • Difficulty: Easy riding with one or two short, steep hills and some (inconvenient) steps. 
  • Highlights: Shady pathways and bridges over the gently meandering creek. 
  • Pit-stop: Break your ride at The Farm Cafe at Collingwood Children’s Farm to refuel with a breakfast toasty or housemade sausage roll. Or time your visit to coincide with the farm’s monthly Saturday Farmer’s Market (second Saturday of every month, 8am to 1pm, entry $2 per adult). 
  • Best for: An escape from the city, in the city. 

All distances are approximate and one way only.