Elwood Canal and Albert Park Lake

Gardenvale to Richmond, Distance: 18km
Region: Southern Melbourne
Written up by: U3A Yarra City OYB
Last ridden: 16 November 2018

Cafes  |  Terrain  |  Ride Details  |  Variations  |  Maps

The Elwood Canal.

The Elwood Canal.


One of the icons of Melbourne is Albert Park Lake. As well as exploring the Elster Creek/Elwood Canal and riding alongside St Kilda Beach, this ride includes most of the circuit around Albert Park Lake. The ride starts at Gardenvale Station and ends at Richmond Station.

The first segment of the ride is down the Elster Creek that originally drained into a swamp. Now Elster Creek drains into Elwood Canal, and lovely beachside parks replace the swamp. Today this canal is a unique Melbourne historical landscape, a linear path through Elwood. As you approach the beach, the landscape broadens and sea views open up. 

Turning right you follow the beach through St Kilda to Middle Park. There are usually swimmers, even in the middle of winter. Look for sky divers, kite surfers and sculptures as you ride along this section of the route.

At Middle Park you turn inland to circle Albert Park Lake. At the southern end it is worth stopping to check out the city views over the water. And do admire the swans.

Avoid this ride when the Melbourne Grand Prix is on in March.

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Cafes and Toilets

There are cafes and toilets along the beach segment of the ride and a café on Albert Park Lake. There are cafes and toilets in the Botanical Gardens near Anderson Street. Favourite cafés include Sandbar Beach Café near the road crossing in Middle Park and The Terrace in the Botanical Gardens near Anderson Street.


The ride is flat with just two short blocks on the road. The circuit of Albert Park Lake is well-maintained gravel.

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Across Albert Park Lake.

Across Albert Park Lake.

Ride Details

Gardenvale Station to St Kilda Street (1.5km)

  1. The ride starts on the north side of Gardenvale Station.

  2. Ride along Spink Street, parallel to the railway and pick up the Elster Canal path after about 50m.

  3. Follow this path as goes under the railway line and under Astling Street.

  4. Continue along the canal, keeping it to your right as you ride. Eventually the path meets Murphy Street.

  5. Continue straight ahead on Murphy Street and, at the next intersection, cross Murphy Street and then New Street to pick up the trail through Elsternwick Park.

  6. Keeping Bent Street on your right, continue straight ahead until you pass a skate park.

  7. Just after the skate park there is a sign saying “Elsternwick Park” Cross the road at the skate park to turn left onto a bike path.

    St Kilda Street to Bay Trail, Elwood (1.9km)

  8. Follow the bike path for about 30 m next to Bent St before turning right around the corner to follow St Kilda Street for 200m where the path finishes. Cross the St Kilda Street where it intersects with Spray Street.

  9. Turn right onto the footpath and follow St Kilda Street for 10m. Just before the canal, turn left onto the Elwood Canal trail.

  10. Follow the trail along the canal to the beach. You will need to cross the canal at the end of Beach Avenue and at Barkly Street.

  11. After crossing Beach Road, turn right onto the Bay Trail across an arched bridge.

    Bay Trail, Elwood to Albert Park Lake (5.0km)

  12. Follow the Bay Trail through Elwood and St Kilda to Middle Park. Most of the trail is separated from the road. However the section just after St Kilda Pier is on Pier Road. At the end of Pier Road, it intersects with Cowderoy Street at traffic lights.

  13. At the 2nd traffic light after this intersection, cross Beach Road.

  14. Go left along Beach Road on the footpath for 50m and turn right into Armstrong Street.

  15. At the end of Armstrong Street, use the underpass to cross the light rail.

  16. Make your way a bit to the left around the bowling green and the sports grounds to pick up the gravel path next to Albert Park Lake.

    Albert Park Lake to St Kilda Road (5.9km)

  17. Turn right and ride along this path around the lake.

  18. Eventually you will be parallel to Ross Gregory Drive and Lakeside Drive.

  19. Keeping on the lakeside path, follow Lakeside Drive as it passes two playgrounds. Eventually you will see traffic lights ahead where Lakeside Drive meets Albert Road. At this point you leave the lake behind.

  20. Make your way up the path on the left of Lakeside Drive to Albert Road and turn right onto the shared path that follows Albert Road.

  21. At Kings Way, leave the trail and cross Kings Way and Albert Road, then ride on the Albert Road slip road to St Kilda Road.

    St Kilda Road to Richmond Station (3.7km)

  22. Cross St Kilda Road at the lights and turn left onto the shared pathway next to St Kilda Road. The Shrine of Remembrance should be on your right.

  23. Follow the shared path to Llinlithgow Avenue.

  24. Cross Llinlithgow Avenue and turn right to stay on the shared path.

  25. At the next lights cross Llinlithgow Avenue and turn left onto “The Tan”, a wide gravel track.

  26. Ride along the Tan to Anderson Street.

  27. Turn left and cross Alexander Avenue and then cross the Yarra River using the Morell Bridge.

  28. Continue straight ahead across Citylink and then go diagonally across Gosch’s Paddock to the intersection of Swan Street and Punt Road.

  29. Richmond Station is diagonally opposite this corner.

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Extend this ride

  • by combining with Capital City Trail East (turning right just after crossing Alexander Road in step 27) or

  • by doing Yarra Trail 3 in reverse (turning right just after crossing the Yarra River in step 27).


  • Melway or Melway Online: Starts at map reference 67 G7

  • 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.

Note there are several gaps in the route, most due to Google not allowing you to wheel across pedestrian crossings. But there are also two spots where it does not recognise the path.

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