We got a bit of a false start this summer. But after a mini tornado on Thursday, it looks like we’re moving into sunny, clear skies.
It’s time to pump up your bike tyres and see Melbourne on two wheels. In the first of our Trailing Off series, we show you a great ride along the bay. You can of course walk it, if you have more time on your hands.
From Black Rock to Port Melbourne (or in reverse, if you prefer) is an easy afternoon ride, all along the beach track with no up-hill sections. It should take about an hour with no stops – but of course, there will be stops.
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Here’s a plan to get you going.
- Within two minutes walking distance of each other in Black Rock are two breakfast options: Ebenezer, a big newcomer on the corner of Balcombe and Beach Road pulling Seven Seeds coffee, and Cafeteria, a homey spot serving brunch classics. Both have plenty of curb-side seating, so grab a spot in the sun.
The first stop is early in, but it’s a good one. Pull up and take a look over Red Bluff Lookout in Black Rock. Not too shabby on a clear day when the boats are out.
As you cycle past, spot The Swimmer, a bronze 1950s sculpture by Jeffrey Wilkinson, on display as part of the Bayside Coastal Art Trail.
Take a breather at Hampton Beach. If the weather’s right, you’ll see wind surfers lifting off the waves. If you’re hungry, Cornerstone & Co. cafe is a cheery little spot for brunch with unusual Japanese-Italian fusion.
Stop at the Brighton Beach Boxes and watch the tourists take lots of jumping-in-the-air photos in front of the most-colourful ones. There’s often a Mr Whippy parked, too.
Ride three kilometres further north, and you’re at the Brighton Dog Beach. This could be your most time-consuming stop.
If you had the foresight to pack some snags, there are barbeques sprinkled along the track between Brighton and Elwood. There’s one or two in Elwood Park, too.
Between Elwood Sailing Club and the lookout on the hill near Point Ormond Road, is a really magic part of the trail. It feels like a private viewing of Melbourne. It’s away from the road, and the city looks romantic from afar. There are heaps of people walking their dogs, jogging. Groups of people gather to watch the sunset from Point Ormond Hill.
Once you get to the bustling Marina Reserve in St Kilda, slow down to watch the skaters doing their thing in the bowl. Some of the best people-watching in the city gets done right here.
For a quick, satisfying refuel, pull over at Lentil as Anything on Blessington Street. Or if you’d like something a little higher-end, I Carusi II, Café di Stasio and Luxembourg Bar & Bistro are all nearby. Milk the Cow on Fitzroy Street is a tempting option – but be warned, a bike ride with a stomach full of cheese brings its own challenges.
Things start to get quieter as you move between St Kilda and Port Melbourne. You might see a few kids splashing around in the freezing water, sprawling backpackers, a solitary fisherman.
You made it. In Port Melbourne, the touristy waterfront restaurants give way to the old, industrial charm of the Princes Pier. Not a bad place to catch the last of the sunset. Now you’re at the foot of the city, you can head anyway you please.