Melbourne Sports Precinct and Yarra River Bike Ride

See Melbourne's main sports stadiums and Yarra River views on a blue bike

Sports stadiums by the river

Melbourne is Australia’s sporting capital. This short and easy bike ride, much of it along the Yarra River, will take you on a tour of some of the country’s most famous sporting venues. See the site of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, the home of Australian Open tennis and the awesome MCG.

Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Essential Information

  • Distance: 5km
  • Duration: 30 mins
  • Surface: Shared bicycle and pedestrian paths. Mostly flat with some steps.
  • Start: Arts Centre Melbourne, St Kilda Road.
  • Finish: Arts Centre Melbourne, St Kilda Road.
  • Eat/drink: Eateries around Federation Square or Southbank Promenade.
Riding a Melbourne Bike Share bicycle on a sunny day

Bike Ride Notes

After hiring your bike from the Arts Centre bike share station, find the path that runs parallel to Alexandra Avenue on the Yarra River side and start cycling through an avenue of trees. When you come to Boathouse Drive, cross the road and head down to the Main Yarra Trail.

On the other side of the Yarra River, you will see the Margaret Court Arena and Rod Laver Arena, home to the Australian Open tennis tournament. Swimming in this stretch of the river is illegal, but that didn’t stop tennis star Jim Courier jumping into the water outside the Rod Laver Arena in 1992 – and being ill for a week afterwards.

Cycle along the river under Swan Street Bridge and cross the Yarra at the next crossing, Morell Bridge. Go straight across at the bicycle trail and cross a freeway before taking a sharp left. On your right you will pass the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (also known as AAMI Park), home to rugby union team Melbourne Rebels, rugby league team Melbourne Storm and soccer teams Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City.

At the corner of the stadium, take a right up some steps to an elevated concourse. On your left you’ll see the Olympic Park Oval, all that remains of Melbourne’s 1956 Olympic Games soccer and athletics stadium.

Continue along the concourse over Olympic Boulevard and past some Australia Open tennis courts on your right. On your left is Melbourne Arena, another Australian Open venue. Keep going straight on over the railway lines towards the mighty MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Take a right to do a circuit of Melbourne’s premier sporting venue: home of Test cricket, the AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Marathon and many other events.  

Near MCG Gate 2, take the path that runs parallel to Jolimont Street and head over the William Barak Bridge. As you cross, you’ll see another great view of Australian Open tennis courts. Keep straight ahead and you will come first to the Yarra River and then Princes Bridge, which you can cross to get back to the Arts Centre.

Riding a Melbourne Bike Share bicycle on a sunny day

Getting There and Away

The Melbourne Arts Centre is a few minutes’ walk from Flinders Street Station. After leaving the station, cross the Yarra River on St Kilda Road top get there. Many tram lines serve the Arts Centre. Numbers 1, 3, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 and 72 stop on St Kilda Road and numbers 35, 70 and 75 stop outside Flinders Street Station.

Riding a Melbourne Bike Share bicycle on a sunny day

Extend Your Bike Ride

Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine (add 15 minutes / 2km – and some hills)

After hiring your blue bike at the Arts Centre docking station, head south (away from the Yarra River) on St Kilda Road. After about 100m take a left onto Linlithgow Avenue and an immediate right. You will see a trail running next to the road. This is the Tan Track, and it does a loop of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Cycle along the Tan until you come to the Shrine of Remembrance.

The Shrine was built in 1934 to honour those who served and died in the First World War. Today it is dedicated to all Victorians who have served in armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has participated. The building’s design is inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

Retrace your path back to the Tan and head back the way you came. After about 50 metres, take a trail on your right through some trees. The trail continues across a road and then winds through the Royal Botanic Gardens. When you can’t go any further, take a right (at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden) and freewheel downhill to the Pillars of Wisdom. Cross Alexandra Avenue to get to the Main Yarra Trail by the river and begin your tour of Melbourne’s sporting precinct.

Interactive Map

Click on the icon on the top left of the map to select the parts of the route you want to complete and find out more information: