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Melbourne is a city that's well known for its many sights, sounds, and tastes. As Australia's culinary capital, there's really no shortage of cultural experiences this city has to offer to interstate and international visitors alike.
The one tiny issue with this city's eclectic attractions is that they do tend to be spread out across the greater Melbourne area.
Some of Melbourne's best eateries and sightseeing opportunities are situated dozens of kilometres from the city's CBD, so many tourists find that they don't actually get to experience everything they'd like to in the span of one trip!
You can, however, see a little bit more by taking full advantage of the city's expansive cycling network.
There are cycling tracks connecting the greater Melbourne area in virtually every direction, meaning that oftentimes riding your bike can be a great alternative to catching public transport when holidaying in and around the city of Melbourne.
We've compiled a list of Melbourne's best cycling tracks below! Read on to help you gear up for your next trip to Victoria's capital.
Melbourne's best rail trail
Lilydale Railway station to Warburton
If you and your fellow travellers are using hybrid bikes, you should absolutely consider setting your sights on Melbourne's mountainous eastern region.
Areas like the Dandenong Ranges are packed with gorgeous yet challenging trails that will excite cyclists of all ages, and bring you up close and personal with some of Melbourne's most breathtaking forested areas.
The one issue with cycling through these elevated regions is that you'll naturally be coming across a fairly large selection of steep hills.
If you aren't a fan of intense uphill cycling but are still keen to experience the ferny forests and vibrant eucalyptus bushlands of Melbourne's east, then the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail may be the ideal rail trail experience for you.
This is actually a rather expansive track, spanning 48km and taking cyclists from the metro Melbourne area and through dense eucalyptus bushlands.
Get ready to hear the calls of kookaburras as you glide along the city's outskirts on this track's gravel pathways, following the soft winding of the Yarra River as it leads you through to the charming city of Warburton.
The Warburton region is characterised by its sloping green hillsides and rich wildlife as well as its bustling rural town centre.
Any tourists looking to experience the zen of country Australia living will absolutely enjoy riding along this gorgeous trail, followed by an overnight stay in this leafy, little township.
Melbourne's best inner city cycling experience
The Northern Pipe trail
Of course, not a lot of us have time to visit country Victoria in a smaller trip to metro Melbourne, but rest assured, there's still plenty to see and do even in the inner city.
In fact, metro Melbourne is a great place to be an inner city cyclist, as many of the city's major roadways are equipped with dedicated cycling lanes, cyclist traffic lights, plenty of sheltered and unsheltered bicycle parking, and other infrastructure designed to keep road cyclists safe.
If you're looking to stay northside during your time in Melbourne, then the Northern Pipe Trail must absolutely be an addition to your trip itinerary.
Also often referred to as The Old Pipeline Trail, this modest 15km trail that spans the suburbs of Reservoir, Thornbury, Northcote, and the Merri Creek region, sits right on top of the first water pipeline constructed to provide the city of Melbourne with clean drinking water.
This is a highly enjoyable cycling trail that's largely a straight line spanning from the edge of the city of Whittlesea, all across the Darebin council district, and through to the Yarra council district, with other cycling pathways linking road cyclists up to the Melbourne CBD from there onwards.
As a result, the Northern Pipe Trail is popular amongst cycling commuters living in Melbourne's inner northern suburbs.
Be prepared to share this track with other cyclists, regardless of what time of year you'll be travelling. The Northern Pipe Trail is particularly busy most days, and has been called the fifth busiest cycling route in Australia.
Melbourne's best coastal bike trail
Hobsons Bay coastal trail
Spanning the length of the coastline between Williamstown and Altona, the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail is well known for being one of Melbourne's most idyllic and accessible beachside cycling experiences.
The trail itself is just 13.8km long and largely hidden from nearby roadways by dense coastal shrubbery, making travelling down the length of the Hobsons Bay trail a relatively peaceful experience filled with picturesque scenery.
Enjoy winding between coastal parklands, beaches, and mangrove habitats, as well as the Williamstown Botanic Gardens and Cherry Lake, a cheery local park area in Altona with a 3.5km walking and cycling circuit of its own.
If your bikes are fitted with baskets, you may opt to pack a picnic lunch so that you can enjoy a nice, quiet alfresco meal in this beautiful park space or at the botanic gardens, before following the trail back up to Williamstown beach for an evening swim.
Melbourne's best unique bike trail
The Solar System
Finally, there are some truly novel cycling trails all across the city of Melbourne, including cycling tours through Yarra Valley's wine country.
Of course, taking some foodie cycling tours can be a little costly, so this may not be an option for travellers with limited budgets.
Enter The Solar System, a truly unique, enriching, and surprisingly educational cycling experience that spans from the suburb of Gardenvale in Melbourne's south, to Southern Cross Station on Spencer Street in the city's CBD.
This refreshing bike trail starts with a large-scale model of the sun, shortly followed by the eight planets of our solar system (including Pluto!) that can be found along its length.
The full trail measures at around 20km, with the bulk of the planets being found within the span of six kilometres, with the exception of Pluto that cyclists have stated is notoriously difficult to find, given its minuscule size.
The reason for this is that the trail itself is supposed to be a true-to-scale model of our wider solar system, making it a fantastic weekend learning resource for families with young children who may have an interest in astronomy, or just for any who'd like to partake in this novel experience.
So long as at least one of these trails has been added to your next trip itinerary to Victoria's capital, you'll have a lot to look forward to on you and your family's next trip to Melbourne!