Three River Ramble

Rushall Station to Fairfield Boathouse, Distance: 13km
Region: Northern Melbourne
Written up by: U3A Yarra City OYB
Last ridden: 19 October 2018

Cafes  |  Terrain  |  Ride Details  |  Variations  |  Maps




This ride provides glimpses of three of the main waterways of northern Melbourne – Merri Creek, Darebin Creek and the Yarra River – as well two recently built and beautifully designed pieces of bicycle infrastructure: the Darebin Creek / Yarra River bridges and the Merri Creek Trail ramp at Clifton Hill. The ride begins at Rushall station (Mernda line) and leads via off-road paths and the quiet streets of Fairfield and Alphington to the Darebin Parklands, down the Darebin Creek, through woodlands surrounding Kew Billabong to the Main Yarra Trail, and returns to Fairfield Boathouse via the Chandler Highway or via the Pipe Bridge at the historic Boathouse. Boats may be hired at the Boathouse for a quiet row or an even quieter drift on the Yarra. After refreshments, riders may catch trains towards home from Denis (Hurstbridge line) or Clifton Hill stations. 

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Cafes and Toilets

There are toilets at Clifton Hill station (near the start of the ride), at Fairfield Park, Darebin Parklands, at Willsmere Chandler Park (beside the billabong) and at Fairfield Boathouse.

There are cafes at the eastern end of Wingrove Street, opposite Alphington station, at the century-old Fairfield Boathouse, and in Queens Parade, Clifton Hill.


The ride is over a mix of off-road paths and quiet suburban streets. Most of the ride is flat and most of the hills are descents, with the exception of the long climb up Yarra Boulevard if you choose to reach Fairfield Boathouse across the Pipe Bridge. The Pipe Bridge is very narrow, with low fences, and is high above the river. Anyone who suffers seriously from vertigo should choose the Chandler Highway route to the Boathouse instead.

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Ride Details

Rushall Station to Heidelberg Road

  1. Begin on the south side of Rushall station.

  2. Wheel your bike under the station through the pedestrian subway.

  3. Ride downhill towards the creek on the broad, concrete Merri Creek Trail.

  4. Pass under the High Street bridge.

  5. Almost immediately, turn sharp right up a curved path (sign: Clifton Hill).

  6. After a curve or two, turn sharp left under the Hurstbridge railway line.

  7. Go up the long ramp beside the north side of Coulson Reserve to Heidelberg Road.

  8. Follow the bike path beside Heidelberg Road to the pedestrian light at Knott Athletic Field. 

    Heidelberg Road to Fairfield Park 

  9. Cross Heidelberg Road and turn left along the footpath.

  10. Cross the bridge high above Merri Creek.

  11. Turn right onto the shared path through T H Westfield Reserve (Yarra Bend Park).

  12. Cross Yarra Bend Road and go along the north side of Fairfield Park soccer field.

  13. Cross Fairfield Park Drive (a very minor road) 

  14. Continue past the playground to Park Crescent, Fairfield.

    Fairfield Park to Darebin Parklands

  15. Follow Park Crescent to Station Street.

  16. Turn left into Station Street and continue to Heidelberg Road.  

  17. Cross to the north-east corner of the intersection of Heidelberg Road and Station Street.

  18. Wheel your bike along the footpath to the intersection of Arthur Street and Heidelberg Rd.

  19. Turn left into Arthur Street and continue to its junction with Railway Place.

  20. There is a pedestrian subway almost opposite Arthur Street.

  21. Cross under the railway line through the pedestrian subway.

  22. From the subway, turn right along Wingrove Street.

  23. At Perry Street, on your left, cross to the bike path on the south side of Wingrove Street.

  24. Follow Wingrove Street all the way to Alphington station.

  25. Turn left onto the bike path beside Yarana Road.

  26. At a T junction turn right (sign: Yarra Bridge).

    Darebin Parklands to Chandler Highway

  27. At the next T junction (with the Darebin Creek Trail) turn right.

  28. Follow the trail under the bluestone bridge carrying Heidelberg Road.

  29. Follow the trail straight ahead (sign: Main Yarra Trail 1.7).

  30. At the T junction with the Main Yarra Trail turn right (sign: Melbourne City 10).

  31. Continue to Chandler Highway and find the new cycle/pedestrian bridge.

    Chandler Highway to Fairfield Boathouse
    If you wish to avoid the climb up the hill follow Steps 17 to 22 of Anniversary Trail West to the Fairfield Boathouse.

  32. Use the bridge to cross under the Highway and go onto Yarra Boulevard on the Main Yarra Trail. This follows the right side footpath to the top of the hill.

  33. At the top of the hill (Wurundjeri Spur Lookout) turn right down the Main Yarra Trail.

  34. Make the steep descent down the trail to the Pipe Bridge.

  35. Cross the bridge and proceed to the Boathouse, on your right.

  36. Cross the Yarra on the Chandler Highway Bridge.

  37. Turn left into Rex Avenue.

  38. Turn right into Coate Av

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To finish at a railway station, there are two options:

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  • Melway or Melway Online: Starts at map reference rhubarb rhubarb

  • 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.

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