Capital City Trail East

Flinders Street to Rushall, Distance: 18km
Region: Eastern Melbourne
Written up by: U3A Yarra City OYB
Last ridden: 7 April 2017

Cafes  |  Terrain  |  Ride Details  |  Variations  |  Maps

Passing Heron Island.

Passing Heron Island.

“The ride developed a gentle zen like rhythm. The calming effect of the river and the beauty of the natural landscape served to lift spirits and in what seemed like no time we had arrived at the Abottsford Convent. It was as if we had been gently transported on a soft magic carpet.”
— Peter R.


The eastern section of the Capital City Trail on a sunny day is a relaxing and uplifting ride. The ride follows the Yarra River up to Dights Falls and then follows the Merri Creek to Rushall station. There are spectacular views of the city from the south bank of the Yarra. In sum, the ride along the Yarra is one of Melbourne’s treasures.

Cafes and Toilets

On the south side of the river at Morrel Bridge is an entrance to the Botanic Gardens. If you venture into the gardens you’ll find a good café and toilets.

Further along the Capital City Trail, also on the south side of the Yarra, you’ll pass Kanteen café on the river bank, just as the trail and river sweep around to the left, opposite Herring Island.

Further along again, just after riding under the Victoria Steet/Barkers Road bridge you come to Kitty Burns Café.

Beyond that, the next cafes are at Collingwood Children’s Farm and Abbottsford Convent.

On the north side of the river there are toilets just at the beginning of the ride, on Princes Walk and a bit further on, at Birrarung Marr. There is a public toilet 250m off the trail as you approach Swan Street. (This is signposted on the trail.) There are no cafes or more toilets until you get to Kitty Burns café. There is a public toilet at Collingwood Children’s Farm.

Collingwood Children's Farm

Collingwood Children's Farm



All of this ride is on sealed surfaces. Most of the ride is flat as it is along the river, but there are a few short rises and obstacles. After you cross the Yarra at Walmer St bridge there is a hill up to Yarra Boulevard in Kew. Further along, at Gipps St, there are stairs from the street down to the river, and you will need to wheel your bicycle down them. After this there are a few sharp, short rises.

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Ride Details

Upstream from Collingwood Children's Farm.

Upstream from Collingwood Children's Farm.

Starting at Federation Square you can ride on the north or south side of the river. The ride along the south side is more scenic. Both rides join just past MacRobertson Bridge.

South side of the Yarra

  1. Leave Federation Square and ride south, away from the city, across Princes Bridge.
  2. Turn left about 50 m over the bridge and ride on the cycle path that runs alongside Alexandra Avenue.
  3. Pass the boathouses and cross Boathouse Drive, and you will be on the Main Yarra Trail. 
  4. Follow the Main Yarra Trail alongside the river all the way up to MacRobertson Bridge.
  5. The trail crosses under the bridge and turns steeply to the right to bring you up to the street. Stay on the footpath, turn right and cross the bridge over the river and City Link. Once across, staying on the footpath, turn right at the roundabout to Yarra Boulevard.
  6. Follow the footpath along Yarra Boulevard where it joins in with the Main Yarra Trail along the north side of the river.

North side of the Yarra (alternative steps 1 to 6)

  1. Leave from the river side Federation Square (do not cross the river) and ride east along Princes Walk. 
  2. After about 400 metres you pass Art Play and the steps that lead up the grassed slope, both on your left. Follow the sealed path straight ahead, and past the ramp to William Barak Bridge, until you get to Batman Ave.  
  3. Turn right at Batman Ave and follow the shared path back towards the river.
  4. After about 100 metres you join the Main Yarra Trail at Birrarung Marr.
  5. Turn left to follow the Trail upriver. 
  6. Follow the Trail alongside the river all the way up to MacRobertson Bridge.

    Main Yarra Trail from MacRobertson Bridge to Dights Falls
  7. Continue riding alongside the Yarra River until you get to the Walmer St Bridge, Kew.
  8. Ride up the ramp to the bridge and street level, and then take a sharp turn to cross the bridge. On the other side of the river, ride straight up the hill, and you will see the path going off to the left, just where you meet Young St, on your right. Follow the signs for Main Yarra Trail.
  9. Follow the path through the parkland and continue up the hill through the short section of bushland, until you get to Yarra Boulevard.
  10. Turn left at Yarra Boulevard and follow the shared path beside the road, to where the bike path turns off to the left.
  11. Follow the path down the hill, through the park, and turn left to cross the footbridge.
  12. After crossing the bridge you will be at the end of Gipps St. Turn and wheel your bicycle down the stairs to the bicycle path.
  13. Follow the path to Collingwood Children’s Farm and Abbotsford Convent where there are a number of cafes for food and coffee.
  14. The path now continues along the river to Dights Falls.

    Dights Falls to Rushall Station
  15. At Dights Falls you now leave the Yarra River and follow the Merri Creek. You have two options (both shown on the map).
    • Option 1: 
      • Cross at the footbridge just beyond the new observation deck overlooking Dights Falls and, once across the creek, immediately turn left. Ride under the Eastern Freeway and up the hill for a short distance before following the left fork to cross the Merri Creek.
      • Once across the creek, keep to the left and follow the sealed path up to the street – the corner of Field St and Roseneath St. 
    • Option 2:
      • As you approach Dights Falls, once you come up to the old observation deck of the Falls, continue on and up the rise to Trennery Cres. Turn right to stay on the narrow footpath under the freeway. At the top of the hill turn right and follow the Trail where you rejoin the Option 1, at the corner of Field St and Roseneath St.
      • At the corner of Field St and Roseneath St, turn right to follow the Main Yarra Trail around the perimeter of the playing field. Immediately beyond the oval, you join the Merri Creek Trail. Keep right to stay on the Trail as it follows the creek.  
  16. After about 1 km you ride up a fairly steep rise, and then, after about 100 metres the Trail takes a right turn down a steep hill and beneath the Heidelberg Road Bridge.
  17. Follow the path making two crossings of the Merri Creek before riding up the hill to Rushall Station.

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Shorten the ride

  • by ending at Collingwood. Instead of going down the steps at Step 6 above, continue along Gipps Street to find Collingwood Railway Station.

Extend the ride: 



  • Melway or Melway Online: Starts at map reference 43 J9
  • Google: 
    • Please click on box with arrow at top left corner to see the map legend.
    • Please click on box at top right corner to see the map in Google Maps. You must be logged into Google Maps to do this.
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