Saturday, 19 November 2016

Cycling the Capital City Trail

Last month Andy and I spent a morning cycling the Capital City Trail (CCT) during our school holidays. The CCT is a 29km loop around the whole city, which conveniently goes right past our old house. We've cycled parts of the trail before, many times, especially as I used to use part of it to get to work. Other sections were completely new to us, and it was a great to way to see the city. It's really something we should have done when we first moved to Melbourne, as we realised how certain suburbs connected to each other. It gave us a better sense of the northern part of the city, which we were pretty unfamiliar with, especially prior to our move last month.

By Stevage - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31651883
The trail is the yellow highlighted loop on the map above. We started in Abbotsford, by the Collingwood Children's Farm, which is the eastern part of the loop, riding north. This part of the trail is also part of the Yarra Trail, and the part I used to walk multiple times a week with Ella, and cycle to work. Cycling past the farm you can often see sheep, goats, horses and cows, and there is a peacock that is sometimes around as well. The farm also has pigs which you can't see from the path. A few months ago some lambs and piglets were born at the farm, which are super cute.

Collingwood Children's Farm, Abbotsford
Collingwood Children's Farm, Abbotsford
About 2km past the farm is Dight Falls, which is just downstream from the junction of the Yarra River and the Merri Creek. 



Dight Falls
Continuing on past Dight Falls the path is part of both the CCT and the Merri Creek trail. There are many overlapping trails on the CCT. A few km from the falls, in Clifton Hill, we stumbled on the Merri Creek Labyrinth and Wishing Tree. The labyrinth is made out of rocks, and the idea is that you walk the path to the centre and then back out again as a walking meditation. Apparently this is an ancient practice that is now becoming mainstream probably due to the recent popularity of mindfulness, and in fact I've come across two other labyrinth's (one during our weekend in Healesville, the other at a school I visited in Queensland) since we did this ride.

Merri Creek Labyrinth
Wishing Tree
We strayed off the CCT at this point (which starts to head west across the city) and continued north on the Merri Creek trail, as we wanted to check out our new neighbourhood. Our new house is just off the Merri Creek trail in Brunswick East. We stopped for a coffee at the Merri Creek Table, the café at Ceres Environmental Park, which is right around the corner from our house.

Merri Creek Trail

Ceres Environmental Park

The Merri Creek Table
Refuelled by our coffee and cake, we rode back down the Merri Creek trail to join back up with the CCT. At this point of the loop the path runs east/west across the top of the city, through the suburbs of Fitzroy and Carlton North. It's a really nice, flat bike path and super easy to ride here. At the western edge of the city the loop then starts to turn south, going through the Royal Park and past the Melbourne Zoo.

Royal Park Melbourne




The next part of the CCT is pretty industrial, towards the Docklands and under a lot of the major highways. It continues south through North Melbourne, all the way to the Melbourne Star - Melbourne's (poor) version of the London Eye. Once through the Docklands the CCT heads back East, through the city along the Yarra River/Southbank. Lots of restaurants, bars, and of course the casino along here. We stopped for lunch at Arbory Bar, which runs between Platform 13 at Flinders Street Station and the Yarra River.




Riding through the Docklands

A cool bike rack

Crossing the Yarra to Southbank

Southbank

Bikes having a rest for lunch

Arbory Bar, Flinders Street Station
After lunch we continued east, riding along the Yarra towards our first apartment in Melbourne, in South Yarra.  Just past our old place are some climbing walls beside the river, so of course we stopped to try them out. The river then twists and turns towards the north, through Richmond, Hawthorn, and then finally we were back in Abbotsford. This part of the CCT we are very familiar with, having done bike rides along here often when we first moved to Melbourne.

In South Yarra, looking back towards the city

Climbing wall in Richmond
It was a lovely morning, and definitely gave me a better sense of where our new house was located in relation to the rest of the city. If you're new to Melbourne, or have even been here a few years, riding the CCT loop is a great way to explore the city!

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