The Solar System

Gardenvale to Southern Cross Station, Distance: 20km
Region: Southern Melbourne
Written up by: U3A Yarra City OYB
Last ridden: 19 September 2017

Cafes  |  Terrain  |  Ride Details  |  Variations  |  Maps

The Sun.

The Sun.


If you love bay views and parklands and enjoy astronomy, this is the ride for you. The ride starts at Gardenvale Station and ends at Southern Cross Station near Jeff’s Shed.

The first segment of the ride is down 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. 

The ride continues along Bay Trail to Sandridge Beach. Soon after turning onto this trail it bends to the left and goes alongside Beach Road. At the end of this segment, near the skate park, look on the left for a scale model of the sun. It is worth taking a closer look and reading the information in this display. Over the next six kilometres the challenge is to find models of the nine planets including Pluto. These models give you a real sense of the relative sizes of our planets and the vastness of the solar system. The final planet, Pluto, is beyond Station Pier on the pedestrian path rather than the bike trail.

As you ride past the model planets take time to enjoy the other sights: vistas across the bay, yachts, sky-diving, kite surfing and, in general, people have fun and enjoying themselves. Look for sign boards with profiles of the members of the river people of Port Philip. A great side trip is down St Kilda Pier to search for penguins in the rocks behind the kiosk. The penguins spend their days tucked between rocks on the landward side of the breakwater.

The last part of the ride is in Westgate Park where you can admire the lakes and the vastness of the Westgate Bridge.

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Cafes and Toilets

There are cafes and toilets along the beach segment of the ride and at the end of the ride near the Yarra River. Favourite cafes include Sandbar Beach Cafe in Middle Park, and Caps located in Life Saving Victoria at the end of Sandridge Beach in Port Melbourne.


The ride is flat and on bike trails except for two short blocks on the road.

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St Kilda Pier.

St Kilda Pier.

Ride Details

Aboriginal History.

Aboriginal History.

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 in about 50m.

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

  4. Continue along the canal keeping it to your right as you ride. Eventually it 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. Cross Beach Road to find the Bay Trail.

    Bay Trail, Elwood to Sandridge Beach (7.8km)

  12. Turn right onto the Bay trail to cross an arched bridge.

  13. Follow the Bay trail through Elwood, St Kilda, South Melbourne and Port Melbourne until the trail ends near Sandridge Beach.

  14. The trail sharply turns to the right to reach The Boulevard.

    Sandridge Beach to Westgate Park (1.0km)

  15. Turn left onto the shared footpath. Do NOT go onto the road.

  16. Ride along the footpath keeping The Boulevard to the right.

  17. The footpath morphs into the Bay Trail as it turns right.

  18. Follow the Bay Trail next to a high fence on your left, parallel to Todd Road. After the trail goes under Westgate Freeway it crosses Cook Street.

  19. Cross Cook Street and turn left onto the footpath and immediately right into Westgate Park.

    Westgate Park to Southern Cross Station (7.6km)

  20. Follow the sealed trail through Westgate Park and out the other side to go along Lorimer Street.

  21. Where Lorimer Street meets Todd Road, carefully cross Lorimer Street.

  22. Turn left on the shared footpath along Lorimer Street.

  23. After going under CityLink, use the next traffic lights to cross Lorimer Street.

  24. Ride along the footpath and take the next turn left to find the Yarra River.

  25. Turn right and follow the Yarra River back to the Jeff’s Shed (Melbourne Exhibition Centre). Southern Cross Station is across the river and one block north, on Spencer Street.

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Extend the ride

Alternative start

  • If desired, the Elster Creek/Elwood Canal segment may be replaced by riding along the beach cycle path from Brighton Beach Station or beyond.


  • 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 is also one place where it does not recognise the path.

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