Merri Creek Explorer

Thomastown to Rushall, Distance: 21km
Region: Northern Melbourne
Written up by: U3A Yarra City OYB
Last ridden: 27 September 2017

Cafes  |  Terrain  |  Ride Details  |  Variations  |  Maps

The upper Merri Creek.

The upper Merri Creek.

Overview

Sections of this ride are amongst the most pleasurable in Melbourne. It goes from Thomastown Station, in Melbourne’s north, to Rushall Station, in North Fitzroy.  

After a short section through suburban streets, the ride takes you down the upper reaches of Edgars Creek, where locals have put the public land beside the creek to good use, extending their gardens. Watch out for chickens!

A short segment beside the Metropolitan Ring Road gives a brief view of industrial Melbourne before the ride turns to run south, down most of the length of the Merri Creek Trail. 

Initially the Merri Creek Trail passes houses, factories and sports venues. Look for rock wallabies on the rocky slopes below factories on the opposite side of the creek. As you approach Coburg Lake (an old bluestone quarry) the surrounds become more lush and bushy.

Look for information panels about the local flora and fauna, and descriptions of places of Aboriginal significance. John Batman presented what has become known as the Batman treaty to Wurundjeri elders, trading blankets for land, in 1835 on the banks of the Merri Creek (See http://aboriginalhistoryofyarra.com.au/4-treaty/).

Shortly before Rushall Station you pass CERES Community Environmental Park, a not-for-profit, sustainability centre and urban farm located on 4.5 hectares.

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Cafes

To find a coffee stop, one option is to take a side trip via Harding Street to Sydney Road where there are many cafes. Harding Street is just after a long curve that occurs soon after passing Bell Street and just before a hard left turn onto a narrow suspension bridge across the creek. To access Harding Street, do not cross the bridge. Instead turn hard right up a short steep incline onto the street. Harding Street heads west, towards Sydney Road.

Alternatively there is an excellent café at the Islamic Museum a bit further south where you will see bike racks and a gate leading to steps down into the café.

The café at CERES Joe’s Market Garden  just before the end of the ride is well worth a visit.

There are toilets at Coburg Lake.

Terrain

Apart from a short segment at the start, the ride is along bike paths. It is mainly downhill or flat with a couple of short rises.

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Russian orthodox church viewed from path

Russian orthodox church viewed from path

Ride Details

There are information boards on a number of topics.

There are information boards on a number of topics.

Thomastown Station to Edgars Creek/M80 Trail (1.3km)

  1. The ride starts on the west side of Thomastown Station on the corner of Main Street and High Street.

  2. Head west on Main Street, and take the second street on the left, Norman Grove. Turn right at the first street on the right, Caroline Street, and then left at the first street, Johnston Street. At the roundabout, turn right into Spring Street for about 50 metres. The path starts through a gate on the left just before you cross Edgars Creek.

  3. Turn left onto the trail. Follow the creek south until the path meets the M80 Trail (aka Metropolitan Ring Road Path).

    Edgars Creek/M80 Trail to M80 Trail/Merri Creek Trail (3.8km)

  4. Turn right onto the M80 Trail and ride west.

  5. About 600 metres after you use the lights to cross Edgars Road there is a fork in the trail. Take the path to the left, leading to a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Metropolitan Ring Road. This is the continuation of the M80 Trail. (The path continuing straight ahead is the Galada-Tamboore Path that goes north alongside the Hume Freeway.)

  6. Continue west, to follow the M80 Trail crossing under Industrial Avenue. Continue west, with Metropolitan Ring Road on your right (north) and Mahoneys Road on your left (south).

  7. The trail crosses over a second creek, traveling under high voltage towers. This creek is Merri Creek and immediately over the footbridge, the path sweeps to the left and under Mahoneys Rd. Immediately after passing under Mahoneys Rd you cross Merri Creek. Turn left to follow the Merri Creek Trail. (You will follow this trail for 14km.)

    M80 Trail/Merri Creek Trail to Harding Street (9.8km)

  8. Head south on the Merri Creek Trail. There are a number of forks in the trail, both to the left, leading down to the creek, and to the right, leading onto higher ground and sometimes to suburban streets. As a general rule follow the creek as closely as possible, although different forks rejoin further on. There is just one exception to staying as close as possible to the creek. When the Merri Creek Trail becomes unsealed, take the next right turn to go uphill to ride on a parallel paved trail.

  9. The Trail crosses the Creek at Brex Court Bridge and continues south. It crosses back over to the west side of the creek after several hundred metres.

  10. You pass across to the east side of the creek as you enter the environs of the Coburg Lake, just after passing Carr Street and the adventure park. After the toilets, continue on to the right, admiring the lake and surrounding park until you reach Harding Street just after passing the CERES Environmental Park farm.

    Harding Street to Rushall Station (5.7km)

  11. At the Harding Street Bridge, the trail forks. Turn left to follow the marked trail across the footbridge and the creek and then immediately take the hairpin bend to the right to follow the creek. You pass the Islamic Museum of Australia and emerge at the Normanby Road bridge.

  12. Turn right to cross the bridge on the footpath to Moreland Road. Immediately over the bridge, turn right again to follow the trail down to the creek.

  13. Follow the trail for approximately 3 kilometres until you pass under the bluestone bridge at St Georges Rd. At this point the path turns right up the slope and deposits you on St Georges Road. Turn right and cross the bridge over the Merri Creek on the shared footpath.

  14. Immediately past the bridge, turn right and follow the trail beside Westgarth Parade.

  15. After about 200 metres, take the right fork, towards Capital City Trail and Edinburgh Gardens.

  16. Once you reach the Capital City Trail turn left and follow it to Rushall Station.

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Variations

Extend the ride by one of the following:

  • riding to Dights Falls via the final part of Capital City Trail East.

  1. Walk your bike under the railway line at Rushall Station (just past the entrance).

  2. Continue on the Merri Creek Trail until you reach Dights Falls.

  3. To find a station take the Main Yarra River Trail to the Collingwood Childrens Farm.

  4. Exit the path and find your way west to Victoria Park Railway Station.

  • adding the short historical circuit, Westgarth Town, at the start of the ride.

  • starting at Rushall Station and doing the The Old Pipeline in reverse until you reach the Western Ring Road. Go west on the Western Ring Road to pick up this ride at step 4 above.

Shorten the ride

  • by cutting across to the Upfield railway line and catching a train from there (routes across indicated in green on the map below). Two possible places to do this are

    • Coburg Lake:

      • At step 10 above continue straight ahead instead of crossing to the east side of the creek.

      • Continue straight ahead into Rose Grove.

      • Turn right into Gaffney Street.

      • Just after crossing Sydney Road, Batman Station will be on your right.

    • Harding Street (one of our recommended coffee spots!): Just after passing the Merri Creek Market Garden (on a long curve soon after passing Bell Street) and just before a hard left turn onto a footbridge across the creek, you will find Harding Street.

      • Exit the path and ride along Harding Street, crossing first Nicholson Street and then Sydney Road.

      • Just before the railway line turn right onto the Upfield Trail.

      • Coburg Station will be on your left.

Maps

  • Melway or Melway Online: Starts at map reference 8 J7

  • 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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