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I did this today from Eltham - Southbank and back again, a beautiful day for an 80k ride through some fine locations. Melbourne should be proud to have such a corridor but, it could be a lot more user-friendly.
I would like to note that should anyone read this who is involved with maintaining or promoting the trail, PLEASE MAKE SOME MORE SIGNS!!!
I had the Bicycle Victoria map and a GPS, but I still got lost several times. Indeed, there were many lost people around including a number of international tourists, some of whom were wearliy walking back and forth, their optimism sinking into a hot and folorn funk. There are areas around Banyule and Westerfolds where many other bike paths weave in and out of this well-publicised trail. Often they are larger and more obvious-looking than the Main Yarra trail and you just have to guess which one will be right. If you guess wrong, then you may be in for a hilly diversion. Sometimes there will be a wooden sign or a faded blue circle on the ground to confirm that you are en route, but other times you just have to guess or if you are lucky, ask another cyclist (but many do not know as they 'Have never done the whole thing'). At three points there are building works and the builders themselves have no idea where the path goes. At Dights Falls, I was lucky to find cyclists in both directions who guided me around streets and through a little car park or I'd have been lost again there (thank you guys!). In some areas it is not even called the Main Yarra Trail and you need to look for other names, such as the Diamond Creek Trail, which you would never guess is right, as you never actually go to Diamond Creek and you would think that you are following the Yarra rather than another river.
I don't mind navigating but I have seen better signage and it makes for a much more enjoyable trip. For example, when I lived on the small Greek island of Thassos in the Agean, local shepherds would leave a dot of red paint at each junction to help the 20 or 30 people a year who might walk up Mt Ipsario. I am pretty sure that we can do better on this route. I'd do it myself but I'd no doubt get sued by some council or other!
Overall, this is a fine ride for any tourist to tackle but either consider going with a local, start at Collingwood, or set out with GPS-Google Maps on your iPhone and hope that your battery lasts.
My rule of thumb is at a junction take the path that heads towards the water.
I take this one regularly and it follows Diamond Creek and does end up in Diamond Creek. To get onto it you ride through Westerfolds Park and turn left over the bridge. It's a big bridge but hard to see behind the trees. If you continue ahead the path leaves the river and becomes the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail.
Closer to the city part of the Main Yarra Trail is also the Capita City Trail.
There is one confusing bit where the MYT crosses the Yarra at Burke Road. If you miss the turn heading in you end up in Ivanhoe. If you turn left after the bridge instead of right you end up on the Koonung Trail.
Helmets! Bells! Rego!
Wow! I didn't realise it went up that far. I always got lost on the wrong turn or ended up on the wrong side of the yarra. It would be great to actually do it one day (maybe tomorrow?) but now I'm sure I'll get lost. Thanks for the heads up
No it is unsealed from the Plenty River Trail turnoff until you get to the bridge near Burke Road. The part between Bonds Road and the Plenty River trail is sealed but pretty rough.
Helmets! Bells! Rego!
Sealed from Bonds Rd, eastwards through Westerfolds to just after the Fitzsimmons Lane Bridge. Also if you go beyond the Eltham bridge turn-off, the Mullum Trail is sealed from The Parkway (near the old Templestowe Hillclimb) right through to Tindalls Rd.
i also had trouble finding my way on this path(especially when i was trying for speed), it's not very clearly marked the further away from the city you get.
the second time i rode it, i found it much easier, i also asked fellow cyclists whenever i was unsure of my route,i found that everyone i asked was more than happy to give directions,
good bunch of people these bike riders
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