The weather forecast said our unseasonal run of warm dry weather is about to come to a chilling end, time for one last rail trail before winter sets in.
I was greeted by a crisp clear early morning as I cycle off the few kilometres to the aptly named Sunshine railway station.Traveling against the flow of commuter traffic its easy to find a cosy space on the 7.22 am limited express to Geelong where I will begin my ride.
Rattling quickly through nursery suburbs out across those seemingly flat basalt plains, a rising sun throws down a brilliant incandescent light across an undulating landscape, penetrating carriages then illuminating in gold relief the tired faces of passengers.
By 8.30 am I’m cycling through Geelong City down to Eastern Beach following a route to South Geelong where a big green signposted arrow points to the Bellarine Rail Trail.
Rolling along on a good surface of crushed rock it’s easy riding with only a few minor local road crossings. There has been significant planting of native vegetation either side of the trail which makes an ideal environment for native bird life, a bonus for those of us that enjoy a little twitching with their cycling, falcons, kites, parrots, wrens, butcher birds and herons accompany me most of the way.
About 10 kilometres in, at Leopold the pathed surface rises slightly, so I can peer into people’s backyards. I could be atop a dyke in Holland!
Most of the trail passes beside open farmland, alongside new housing developments and a golf course. In Drysdale where the trail meets the highway I’m greeted with a delicious unexpected surprise cake and coffee delivered from a mobile man with a van.
A weekend tourist railway still operates between Drysdale and Queenscliff so the track is well maintained with covered shelters, toilets and rest stops. Queenscliff is an historical fishing town that offers many options for the inquisitive traveler. Various accommodation types, fishing, a ferry service, museums, cafes, bookshops but no bicycle shop, so make sure your bicycle is well maintained, carry a pump, spare tube, some basic tools and know how to use them.
After chatting with some sheepish local fishermen on the Queenscliff Pier, we cycled back to South Geelong in overcast conditions into a building headwind just in time to make the 3pm train from South Geelong to Melbourne
All up 75 kilometres of easy cycling out and back on a comfortable well used trail that’s suitable for almost everybody.