Melbourne: Capital City Trail 31km

The Capital City Trail circles inner Melbourne and is a combined cycling and walking track. Hard surface all around, but sometimes you can walk off the asphalt or concrete in parallel on grass or dirt .

The post contains many photos and became almost a photo essay. But I hope that you dear reader do not mind? On to the tale then…

Autumn has arrived in Melbourne. Cool mornings and warmer in the middle of the day. Cool again at night. Perfect for hiking. So that is what I did today…

I started my walk around 7am as the sun had just began to rise. Beautiful colours on the South Bank towards Fisherman’s Bend.

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As I and the trail turned west, the cyclists from the western suburbs on their way to work came towards us. It can get busy on the bike path along the Docklands.

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Soon, and still in Docklands, there was a gap in bicycle traffic and a sense of calm had returned.

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The initial section north towards Flemington is the least attractive of the whole trail. The CityLink toll road is above and the Capital City Trail follows it for some distance. Better to get the boring bits over and done with first. Although just here and now the path and surroundings looked almost tranquil. The water “canal” is Moonee Ponds Creek.

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I had my first break for the day almost 2 hours into the hike. Complete was my least favourable part of Capital City Trail and I was now in the lovely Royal Park. The green surrounds of Royal Park is a world away from downtown Melbourne. A cup of tea and a muffin in the cool and clear sunny morning made me feel just fine…

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I have purchased new knee and elbow guards which I am now “testing”. They all seem to do the trick. Including protecting my right “pre-broken” elbow as I am still being a Hiker without hiking poles. Replacement hiking poles should arrive in the mail any day now as I purchased a new pair online last week…

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The view from “my” bench in Royal Park. Pretty nice, hey?

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There used to be a rail connection between just north of Royal Park Zoo station and Rushall station. The trains and tracks are long gone and the vacated area is now a long grassed linear park. The Capital City Trail cuts through the park and the old railway tunnels became part of the trail. Like here in the north eastern corner of Royal Park.

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On the other side of that tunnel above, the past becomes more evident.

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And here is another old railway tunnel just a little bit further east on Capital City Trail.

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Crossing Princes Park and confirming that we are not lost. And that I had walked roughly 2/3 of Capital City Trail at this point.

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Part of that linear park through Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs, now Capital City Trail.

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Art on a house on Park Street along the trail. I have always liked these shrinking heads from left to right. Shrinking in line with a smaller and smaller surface to paint between the windows.

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A bit of retro signage on a building near the house above. I think that the new extension to the right works well with the old.

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The cafe below is in a top position along the Capital City Trail. It has outdoor seating, plenty of space for bicycle parking and a playground for kids. Yet, it is not a favourite of mine. I have never liked their coffee and in my view they take advantage of what they have and charge too much. Others have different opinions because there are always customers there.

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A bicycle counter which may need some tuning. I can not believe that only 8 cyclists have passed here by 10am today on the Capital City Trail.

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The old rail tracks are still visible in a few places. In particular across some of the local streets. I don’t know why they left them there, but it looked good and gives a clue to the area’s past. I think that the Capital City Trail is crossing Rae Street here.

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And another reminder of the past across Brunswick Street.

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At Rushall just before the train station, the Capital City Trails turns southeast. It also descends down to and along Merri Creek. Here is one of many local bridges where the path goes underneath.

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It wouldn’t be a bush area along a creek in Australia without one of these signs. Mind you, I can not recall having seen a single snake in and around Melbourne since we moved here almost 2 years ago.

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Merri Creek Labyrinth was a pleasant surprise the first time I found it. And it still is every time I arrive here.

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Merri Creek Labyrinth is a local initiative on public land which had stood the test of time for 15 years. And not raised the fury of the local council. It is a place for reflection as well as the fun of walking the labyrinth to the middle.

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Various messages are hung on tree branches close to that bench above. Hey, there was even some vortexing going on.

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Capital City Trail follows Merri Creek south towards Yarra River where a lot of it looked like the below. Pleasant and relaxing.

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At Dights Falls, Merri Creek joins Yarra River and yes, there is a small water fall there.

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There is some art around Dights Falls too, honouring the area’s aboriginal past.

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Collingwood Childrens Farm in Abbotsford was another pleasant discovery along Capital City Trail.

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I believe that the farm may occupy land that once belong to the nearby Abbotsford Convent. After all, the land is between the convent and Yarra River. They both grow things and keep farm animals here today.

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Collingwood Childrens Farm has a restaurant and cafe popular with just about anybody. Kids and school classes of course. Mummies with their little ones. Cyclists. And hikers like me. Although not for me today. I brought my own snacks.

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There was some noise and movement in the nearby bushes as I walked past and a possum appeared. He came down one tree but up another one soon thereafter. A small dog had detected the possum, started to yap and the staring match began. The possum was still up in the tree glaring at the yapping dog when I left.

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What would an Australian farm be without sheep? Even if it is just a “children’s farm” in suburban Melbourne.

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The Abbotsford Convent came into view. A majestic building.

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A peculiar section of the Capital City Trail is soon after the farm. There is no ramp up to the bridge here for bicycles or prams. Only steps. Well, you can push your bike up a narrow ramp to the side of the stairs but what do you do with a pram? The ramp is not wide enough for a pram. Or a wheelchair for that matter?

This abnormality to an otherwise excellent trail found its way to the front page of The Age a year or so ago. Still, no action and nothing planned to rectify for all I know. And yes, there is space around to build something around the stairs as you may see in the picture.

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View from the bridge over Yarra River looking north. The mighty brown river.

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Post a picnic area called FA Andrews Reserve, you can bush walk for a little while. The bicycles follow Yarra Boulevard while the bush track follows Yarra River. Both come together again at Dickinson Reserve.

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The closest you get to a bush walk along Capital City Trail.

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Bridge across Yarra River towards Victoria Street in Richmond. And to that “crazy furniture store from Sweden” as a poor commercial once screamed out…

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Yes, to IKEA where there is also a food court. Perfect for an early lunch as time is now almost noon. No, not in IKEA’s restaurant although I did pick up a coffee and cinnamon roll from their shop after my lunch.

The neon sign of the skipping girl is a popular local feature. The building of apartment blocks around it has caused some local controversy. Today you can see her skipping in the dark from some distance. In the future, that vision will be somewhat impeded.

And by the way, the power to the skipping girl sign is by solar. Collected during the day and used during the night. Or so I heard…

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Why they felt the need to write “thank you” in many different languages on the concrete, I don’t know. It looked nice though.

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Split by the tree…

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Here in Burnley, the Capital City Trail splits in two. You can go right here, across a bridge and then follow the trail along the southern side of Yarra River. Or you can continue to the left and you will be on the northern side of the river. I did the latter today.

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From here, the Capital City Trail follows Monash Freeway and Yarra River in parallel back to Melbourne’s city centre. It doesn’t quite feel like the initial section along Citylink Toll Road and Merri Creek. The surroundings are much more interesting here.

Note the narrowed trail width due to that freeway column. They couldn’t take the path out onto the water just a little bit? They have done that elsewhere.

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More interesting indeed. There are 3 rock climbing walls underneath Monash Freeway. Popular it seemed.

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And where there is no space for a path on the bank of Yarra River, you build out on the water. There are several of these pontoons from Burnley towards the city.

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OK, not all stretches were nice. It was a bit noisy too from the freeway.

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There have been inventive construction of the Capital City Trail here yet again. Going down under avoids clashing with the traffic above on the bridge.

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I was back home around 2.30pm feeling a great sense of achievement today. Walking the full Capital City Trail was a good training hike for the national parks of southern Utah. Good Mrs and I will go there in a few weeks time. Although the terrain between the two could not be more different.

Oh well, Melbourne is flat and I don’t have a car so what to do?

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