Thursday, 7 November 2013

Melbourne Yarra Bend Running Route

Click here for route map  
Length 14.8 km (9.2 miles), terrain: mainly flat

Melbourne Running Routes:
Best Melbourne Running Routes Overview 
Fitzroy Gardens
Yarra River at CBD
Tan Track
Carlton/Fitzroy 
Yarra Bend Trail
Albert Park Lake / St. Kilda Beach
Williamstown 
For more running routes, see Route List.

If you want to see a bit of natural Australia in the Melbourne area, this is the place to do it. This run follows the river along the eastern edge of town, along the Main Yarra Trail and the Capital City Trail. The river is lined with natural vegetation most of this way, and you'll only share it with other runners and bicyclists.
Yarra Falls along the trail
This route ends at the Studley Park Boathouse in the Yarra Bend Precinct, a collection of parks at a beautiful section of the river.

This is just a simple out-and-back run, so you can follow it as far as you please before turning around. You can also easily extend it: the Main Yarra Trail continues along the river for many kilometers further.

NOTE: If you want a real long-distance challenge, with a great sampling of Melbourne scenery, follow the 30-km Capital City Trail, which also follows this stretch. The Capital City Trail loops around all of Melbourne, following the Yarra, then tracing Merri Creek, going through the Royal Parks, the Docklands and then back to the Yarra in downtown Melbourne.
View of the river from Yarra Bridge
This route starts at Bridge Street, in the Richmond neighborhood. You can easily get there by taking either the 48 or 75 trams. There are tram stops at each end of the bridge over the Yarra. Richmond itself is a cool, very Australian neighborhood with a variety of restaurants and cafés.

The river is basically running north/south here, and we'll follow it upriver, northwards, running along the paved trail along its western bank. This trail is a combined bike/pedestrian trail, and the Australian rules of the road apply: that means always keep left!

So, if you're ready to start: let's get moving! From the little park at the west end of the bridge, follow the trail down to the river, and head north, with the water to your right side. You'll soon go under another bridge at Victoria Street.
Cross this footbridge to the east side!
At the 1.5-km mark, you'll see a metal footbridge crossing the river. It's best to cross the river here and follow the trail along the other (east) side for a while. On this (west) side of the river, there is a big riverside factory (Carlton Beer!) and the trail leaves the river for a while, lost behind the factory. So cross the river to the east side, where the shoreline is very natural.
Footpath along the east bank of the river
A hundred yards after you cross the footbridge, you'll see a dirt path going steeply down to the river bank. You could stay on the paved path higher up along the bluff, but I'd recommend going down. It's full of rocks and ruts, so you won't set any speed records, but you'll get to run through native Australian woodlands and experience some real nature.

After another 1.5-km, you'll come to the next footbridge, where you cross back to the west side and take the stairs down to the riverbank again.
At the Children's Farm
You'll soon find yourself running through the pastures of the Collingwood Children's Farm, a kind of petting zoo, with lots of families out enjoying the sheep and goats on a weekend.

After you go under the next bridge, you get into the Bend Precinct. There are rapids here, then a small falls.
Merri Creek trail goes straight. Turn right into Yarra Park!
The Merri Creek trail branches off to the left as you enter Yarra Park. The Yarra Main Trail also turns left here, but we'll continue straight along the dirt path along the riverside in the park. There are rock cliffs across the river, and this is one of the nicest spots around.
Cricket practice
You'll pass some cricket ovals, then come to the golf course. Just when you see the white golf-clubhouse, turn right onto the narrow cement path going down to the river along the fence. This saves you from running along the lightly traveled park road above.

You'll pass the Studley Park Boat House across the river, then join up with the road again for a short bit as you pass more cricket fields.
Kanes Bridge
Now you'll see an old suspension bridge, Yates' Bridge, which you cross to Studley Park, and run the 100 meters to your right to the boat house. This is the turn-around point. You might want to enjoy this idyllic spot first before you go (I did, and drank a coffee!). (NOTE: it is also possible to leave Studley Park here to Studley Park Road to catch a bus back to town along Johnson Street instead of running back to the starting point.)
Studley Park Boathouse: refueling point

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