Exploring Melbourne on a Bicycle
Bicycle trails are an excellent way of travelling between Melbourne tourist attractions.
Cycling around Melbourne is a great way to explore this marvellous city up close while refreshing the body with some exercise along the way. Popular in Melbourne since the 1890s, cycling is a viable transport option and a great holiday experience in itself.
Melbourne has a number of official bicycle trails to choose from and most trails are interconnected, which allows visitors to plot their own journey without having to stick to one trail. Often these trails overlap each other, like the Capital City and Yarra trails who share parts of their individual routes.
There are many areas to explore with pedal power and HomeAway has selected a few of them to get you started.
Capital City Trail
A great trail to start your two-wheel exploration of the city, Capital City Trail takes in some of Melbourne's main tourist attractions like Docklands, Melbourne Zoo, Yarra River, Merri Creek, Melbourne Cricket Ground and Moonee Ponds Creek.
The trail never goes further than five kilometres from the city centre and is a hub for many other bike trails that spread through greater Melbourne. It also connects with a number of railway stations, including the iconic Flinders Street Station and Rushall Station, north-east of the city centre.
A picturesque bayside location that is close to the city centre, St Kilda is Melbourne personified. Soak up the St Kilda atmosphere by cruising Acland Street or The Esplanade, and take your time to explore the array of dining, shopping and entertainment options in this hip part of the city. As one of Melbourne's more established café strips, Acland Street is a great place to experience traditional Melbourne street-side dining. St Kilda's legacy of live music is still kicking at The Esplanade Hotel, another recommended destination for the young and young-at-heart on a bike tour of St Kilda.
Check out Luna Park, well known for the giant clown face whose mouth forms the entrance to this historic fun park and its rides. Luna Park is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with rides ranging from thrillers like Twin Dragon and Metropolis to sedate rides like the Ferris Wheel and Arabian Merry.
Nearby is the St Kilda Sea Baths, home to Australia's only indoor heated seawater pool that also features a hydrotherapy room and private spa tubs overlooking Port Phillip Bay. St Kilda Sea Baths is also a health club, with spa treatments and exercise equipment on site. Of course, you can go for a swim in the bay itself, or just lounge on the beach and watch kite surfers at work.
On nearby Blessington Street, the St Kilda Botanical Gardens is an hidden gem that boasts some of the best rose gardens in Victoria. You can then ride southwards along the Port Phillip Bay shore, west to Port Melbourne or back to the city centre to the north of St Kilda.
Dedicated cyclists who want a longer journey can continue riding along the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay. Ride as far as you like, with the option of travelling all the way to the mouth of the bay then grabbing a ferry across to the Geelong side and riding back to Melbourne – a journey of more than 200km.
The Yarra Trail is a scenic 33km riverside trail which starts (or ends) at Templestowe, a suburb on Melbourne's eastern fringe in the Mullum Mullum Valley. Yarra Trail is ideal for a recreational ride, taking in centuries-old gum trees and billabongs along the banks of the Yarra.
Near the top of the trail is the Banyule Flats Reserve, which includes wetlands that are home to a wide range of interesting bird species you might spot along the way.
The trail then winds southward through the Banksia Flats and Yarra Flats before turning west and heading through the Kew area. The trail again turns southward around the Yarra Bend, the largest national park in Melbourne.
Yarra Bend Park is used for boating, canoeing, team sports, golf, fishing, orienteering, picnicking, dining out, bird watching and just enjoying the bush. Circuit trails take you to scenic locations Dights Falls, where Merri Creek meets the Yarra, and Deep Rock. The Fairfield Boathouse is another tourist destination on the trail worth checking out. Ride through Hawthorn and Richmond, following river's course near the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Royal Botanical Gardens on your way back to Southbank in the heart of the city.