For its great avenues and for the flatness of its terrain, Melbourne is an ideal city for cycling. Traveling by bicycle is one of the easiest ways to discover this city. There are bike lanes throughout the city and its surroundings. You can be pedaling for hours without leaving the lane for a minute.
I have come up with an interesting route in Melbourne which covers several attractions in Melbourne. In this route, you would explore some of Australia’s most prominent historical buildings and award-winning architectural marvels. This tour takes you close to nature through the beautiful parks and along a serene lake. You would cycle your way through the city’s brilliant art forms and sports facilities, and lunch at one of the best seafood restaurants in Melbourne.
Stop 1: Queen Victoria Market
Start your tour with this iconic open air market sprawling over 17 acres. Wander through the apparently endless array of fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, clothing, handicrafts, and general merchandise. You may be tempted to go on a shopping spree, but buy only what you can carry on the tour- maybe one or two jam donuts!
Stop 2: Royal Exhibition Building
Hop off your bike to discover an architectural masterpiece which was once a center for culture and trade. If the brilliant white façade on the outside doesn’t excite you, the décor featuring allegorical murals and marvelous sculptures, and expansive galleries in the inside would surely fascinate you!
Stop 3: Fitzroy Gardens
Leave the city rush behind to enter the historical Fitzroy Gardens. See if you can locate the Spanish conservatory, Fairies’ Tree, and the scarred tree. The garden also houses Cooks’ Cottage, Captain Cook’s parents’ 19th-century house which was transported brick by brick to Melbourne- as if the Victorian style landscaping wasn’t enough!
Stop 4: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
You may not have the time to watch a game of cricket in MCG, but you can still take a behind-the-scenes tour to National Sports Museum and Australian Gallery of Sport to witness interesting sports artifacts and a century of Australian sporting brilliance. Along with cricket, MCG plays host to the AFL and rock concerts as well.
Stop 5: Shrine of Remembrance
Take a halt to pay a visit to the Shrine of Remembrance which was opened in 1934 to honor First World War veterans. Here you can find over 800 war objects in the undercroft underneath the shrine. You can also be a part of an exhibition of stories of the war heroes.
Stop 6: Albert Park Lake
Cruise along the Albert Park Lake and nearly cover the whole lakefront. You may want to stop for a few minutes to have your jam donut while enjoying breathtaking views of the city skyline and colorful sailboats. The park includes sporting facilities and playgrounds and is a popular place for walking, jogging, and cycling.
Stop 7: Melbourne Exhibition Centre
Cycle past Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the two adjacent buildings overlooking the Yarra River. Notice the award winning architectural marvel which has 30,000 square feet of pillar-less floor space, operable walls, and aerodynamic canopy and hosts thousands of events and conventions each year.
Stop 8: Webb Bridge
Webb Bridge, another award winning architectural wonder will take you from the south side of the Yarra River to the north side. You can see the steel rods beautifully arched over the bridge making a web pattern. Constructed from the recycled parts of Webb Dock Rail Bridge, the bridge seems more of a public art than a utility structure.
Stop: 9: Harbour Esplanade
Slow down a bit at the Harbour Esplanade overlooking the docks on the Yarra River and ride on the large promenade between unique and interesting 3-D public arts that compliment to its surroundings. “The cow on the tree” sculpture is the most popular of all which is as much amazing as it is weird.
Stop 10: Miss Katie’s crab shack
After almost 25 km of cycling, hunger must have knocked your stomach’s door. Well, it’s time to open the door! When you are in this part of the town, Miss Katie’s crab shack is a place not to be missed. It is one of the best seafood restaurants in Melbourne. If seafood doesn’t appeal you, you can always opt for some fried chicken.
Stop: 11: Flinder’s Street Station
Lock up your bike and visit the oldest train station in Australia. With its remarkable yellow façade, a prominent circular dome, clocks, and arched entrance, Flinders street station represents the city’s heritage. You would wish that you could go back in time to see Flinders street station in its old days
Stop: 12: Hoiser Lane
Hop off and stroll with your bike on the bluestone cobbled pedestrian laneway. Watch the creativity and colors flow out of the walls and capture the awe-inspiring graffiti-covered walls and art-installations on your camera. With a plethora of street art and public art, no wonder Melbourne is called Australia’s culture capital!
Stop: 13: Federation Square
End your journey at Melbourne’s favorite meeting point. Federation square hosts over 2000 events each year and is a major hub for exhibitions, cultural attractions, and remarkable eateries. If you still don’t want to call it a day, hang out at the square and check if there is an event going on.
In Melbourne, you can hire a bike even if you are not a resident. There are hourly, 24h and weekly rates and all you need is a credit card. The bike rentals are free as long as you do not exceed 30 minutes. The price for 24h is around 3 AUD and the weekly price is about 8 AUD.
Renting a bike in Melbourne is nice, easy and safe. There are numerous bike stations in Melbourne. In each station, there is a pivot where instructions are written. Basically, you must select that you want to rent a bike, what mode you want (daily or weekly) and how many bikes. They will ask you to insert the card and then they will give you a numeric code with which you can take your bike. One thing to keep in mind is that the law obliges all cyclists to go with helmet. In most stations, there are helmets that you can use and leave. If you do not mind sharing a helmet with other people, you can buy a helmet for only 5 AUD.