Its a cyclists sky; with light rain clearing I peddle off into a strong westerly wind full of hope. Melbourne is a big city now, with about 5 million people and has 100’s of kilometres of bicycle paths in and around the city.
Taking the local shared path alongside the railway line to Sunshine, I avoid the peak hour traffic, then detour onto the Kororoit Creek Trail, a little-used path that snakes a course through the outer western suburbs of Melbourne, passing noxious industries, a waste recycling centre and a methane plant. Odours assault the senses. Despite this, I enjoy the juxtaposition of nature and human habitation. Feral rabbits and wild goats graze the verges.
Kororoit Creek was historically the homeland of the Wurundjeri people, indigenous aboriginals who for thousands of years before European settlement hunted this area for eels fish and kangaroo, while foregoing for the native daisy yam. Parts of the trail have seen extensive native replanting. I try to imagine what it may have looked like camped here in the past. I push on along the trail spotting kites and honeyeaters whilst keeping my eye out for the shy endangered lewins rail known to frequent this area.
The Kororoit Creek Trail intersects with the Federation Trail, not far from Geelong Road in Brooklyn. The Federation Trail follows the course of original Melbourne sewer line 20 kms out to Werribee. Remanent bushland either side of the trail abuts housing developments, warehousing, businesses and light industry.
The original asphalt surface put down in 2001 is cracked in parts but is slowly being replaced with a concrete surface.
Once in Werribee, I have a couple of options, push on to Werribee South on local roads past market gardens edged with cauliflowers or, as I did, cycle out past the Werribee Open Range Zoo to Aviation Road and then past Williams RAAF base the original home of the Australia Air Force, where there is an excellent military museum.
New housing estates have sprung up along Point Cook Road. It’s busy, the shared path here seems to be a bit of an afterthought, however, once I turn right into Santuary Lakes Estate, it’s easy to navigate down to the Foreshore Trail.
It’s a beautiful shared path that hugs the beach through the Altona Coastal Park, Williamstown and back under the Westgate Bridge to Yarraville. I stop in Williamstown at one of the many bird hides to spy a variety of beautiful costal waders.
A slow leisurely 80 km ride utilising local bike paths and trails on the edge of Melbourne’s West. I’ve cycled different versions of this trail numerous times, padding out the ride to an even 100 kms or dialling it down to a quick 50 kms. All in all highly recommended.
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