Ok, so it’s June and it has been the coldest start to winter in like, ever. And there’s two months of it to go. Siggghhhhh. When the weekend rolls around, you wouldn’t be alone in your temptation to make like a bear and hibernate, particularly after a week of work commuting in the rain and blustery wind.
But wasting a Saturday or Sunday just wouldn’t be right now, would it Listers? So, pick yourself up off the couch and don your finest lululemon or Lorna Jane; it’s time to kick winter’s butt and play tourist in your own city. Enter Melbourne's Capital City Trail—a 30-kilometre bike track that winds its way along the Yarra River through the inner city ‘burbs. Hold up…30 kilometres, say what now? Don’t fret! It’s only a couple of k’s more than you’d do during a spin class and a helluva lot more fun. And it’s flat.
If you don’t have a bike, you can hire one for just $2.90 a day thanks to Melbourne's Bike Share Scheme. No, those blue dream machines aren't just there to look pretty! Alternatively, you can pick one up at Fed Square from Rentabike for a daily rate of 35 bucks.
Depending on where you live you can hop on or off the Trail at any point, but for the sake of this yarn we’ll start at Southbank and highlight some of the stops along the way.
So from Southbank head south, cruising past The Tan on your right, AAMI Park and the ‘G on the left, and let your inner BMX bandit surface. But don’t get too carried away by the wind in your hair. Seven k’s in when you hit Burnley the Trail veers left towards Collingwood. Southsiders, you have been warned…
Soon you’ll arrive at Collingwood Children’s Farm and Abbotsford Convent. If you’ve bought the little tackers along (or even if you haven’t), jump off here to meet Heather the cow, Mickie the donkey (who’s quite partial to a neck scratch) and piglets Maybelle and Myrtle. If you’re pedaling on the second Saturday of the month, you can kill two birds with one stone and pick up fresh fruit and veg and other goodies at the Farmers Market.
Back on your bike, a little further along the Trail you’ll come to a Melbourne icon—the Studley Park Boathouse in Kew. Established in 1863, it’s the city’s oldest operating boathouse and has been beautifully restored, now housing a restaurant, cafe and kiosk. It’s definitely worth swapping your bike for a rowboat here, just watch out for the ducks.
At this point, you’ll have reached the half way mark and will have no doubt worked up an appetite. Our pick? Carlton’s Green Park on Nicholson Street. Well technically, it’s on the Trail and has ample parking for bikes. If you’ve yet to try Jesse Gerner’s (of Bomba and Anada fame) cafe by day, tapas bar by night, then you’re in for a real treat.
The next stop on the Trail, just two and a half k’s away, will rid you of your post lunch slump—Melbourne Zoo! They’re currently celebrating the arrival of the yet-to-be-named Pygmy Hippopotamus. The little hippo’s birth comes just three months after Kanzi the gorilla came into the world. Waaaayyy too cute.
Almost there! After another five kilometres in the saddle, you’ll arrive at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. The Southern Hemisphere’s only giant observation wheel enjoys 360-degree views of the city and takes around 30 minutes to complete the flight.
In the last couple of kilometres, you’ll sail into South Wharf where you can stop in for a well-earned stein at Munich Brauhaus, or finish up at Fatto Bar and Cantina just in time for Aperitivo Hour. $7 Aperol Spritzes—need we say more?
There’s a high chance you’ll wake up the next morning with a bit of a sore bum, but it will be well worth it!
Image Credits: Nick West for The Urban List