Melbourne: Greensborough to Alphington 21km

Today’s hike from Greensborough to Alphington is an old Melbourne favourite.

I have walked this 20km odd stretch in Melbourne’s northeast many times. Both by myself and with others. Here is a map overview.

Sunday morning train to Greensborough and I was on my way around 8am.

I had purchased both new knee guards and elbow guards and I was testing them all out today.

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Well, I must have looked like a professional hiker today. Within the first 4km, 3 different people had asked questions about my hiking.

The first bloke was walking his dog and asked about the hiking poles. The relative advantage or disadvantage of using one pole or two poles. Answer of course is personal preference. Others, like me until a year and a half ago, hike without poles.

The second bloke, a morning “flaneurer”, assumed that I was training for something. He asked what for. Answer is for nothing in particular. Other than that in a month’s time Good Mrs and I will be hiking southern Utah’s national parks for close to 3 weeks. Need to be reasonably fit for that.

The third bloke was a jogger and he just yelled out as he was passing me. How far will I walk today and how far have I already done. He did stop to listen to the answers and then he had a few more questions.

Later, I crossed path with an older Chinese couple on pushbikes. I could see the bloke staring and grinning at me as I walked closer towards them. He also wanted to know how far I had walked (16km at that time).

Yes, they are a friendly bunch up here this Sunday morning.

The hike follows Plenty River downstream until it merges with Yarra River. Then you follow Yarra River for most of the remaining walk.

The most beautiful part starts around the 5km mark.

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You gently ascend up to a ridge, passing gracing land along the way. There are plenty of horses and there is a rural atmosphere to it all. Although you can still see suburbia in the distance almost all of the way.

I usually have my first break at this bench. A cup of tea and a muffin go down well. There are horses to look at and there are views.

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I took this photo of Melbourne’s city center in the distance from that bench in the previous picture.

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The arrow below could have been a Camino marker but the colour was blue and not yellow. It brought a tear to my eye though (no, it didn’t)

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Signage can be fun. Why would there be a camera on gravel trail and next to a swamp? I could not see any camera. There were no buildings just here and I saw nothing up on any post either.

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The Banyule Swamp usually has a lot more water in it. Not much of it is visible now. Melbourne is so dry at the moment. We need plenty of rain.

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Many areas around the Yarra River were destinations for landscape painters in the 1800s. These painters like Arthur Streeton are sometimes referred to as the Heidelberg School Artists. Many sections of the Yarra River Trail is known as the Heidelberg School Artists Trail these days.

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The area along the Yarra River is still rural with old grazing land left untouched. The trail itself may have been an old road. The surroundings are peaceful and tranquil. No wonder the area was a magnet for the painters.

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You find these boards in various places along the Heidelberg School Artists Trail. Their presence meant that one of the artists had painted nearby. A short synopsis on the board described the painter and the painting and where the board is in relation to them.

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But gosh, it was dry. Sad to see.

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The mighty brown Yarra River.

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Full credit to the authorities who spend money on off road trails. Once completed in 2017, this Darebin Yarra Trail Link will connect those two long trails. A boon for long distance cycling and walking.

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Innovative solution to trail building. Take a part of the tunnel for the creek and use it for cycling and walking. There is enough space for Darebin Creek apart from the most exceptional of circumstances.

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I had my bread rolls lunch almost at the finish and then I was at Alphington Station. That was it for today.

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The Greensborough to Alphington walk via Plenty River and Yarra River is such a pleasant walk. Most of it is flat with a few hills and ridges and you feel that you are in the countryside for significant parts.

I walked it as part of my preparation for Camino de Santiago and I will walk it again and again…

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