From the Yorkshire Brewery, set off through the back streets of Collingwood, spotting street art as you go. Follow Gipps Street to the Yarra River, being extra careful when crossing busy Hoddle Street.
Gipps Street is significant for two reasons: it is illegal to swim in the river downstream from this point, and to get to the Main Yarra Trail from Gipps Street, you will need to wheel your blue bike down 42 concrete steps.
If you prefer not to attempt this (blue bikes are fairly heavy), then you’ll need to take the alternative route, taking a left at Nicholson Street before you get to the steps before taking a right into Marine Parade and following the road around to Yarra Street and taking a right down the steep hill to join the Main Yarra Trail.
The Main Yarra Trail follows the course of the river for a little while before opening out to present a bucolic scene. To your left is Abbotsford Convent, while all around you will see fields with farm animals. Cycle past horses, cows, and the odd peacock before passing the Collingwood Children’s Farm.
Following the farm, the trail rejoins the river. You’ll notice progressively more white water until you get to Dights Falls. This is actually a weir and manages the Yarra River’s water level for about 17km upstream.
Just past Dights Falls, the Merri Creek joins the Yarra River. This was - and still is - an important meeting place for the Traditional Owners of this land, the Wurundjeri people.
Continue on around the river bend. You’re now in Yarra Bend Park and you’ll soon see Deep Rock, home to the Deep Rock Swimming Club until the 1940s. Today the only swimmers are dogs; Yarra Bend is a popular off-lead dog walking area.
The Yarra trail continues to meander and you will soon see a sports oval on your left. This was once the site of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum. All that remains now are a number of exotic trees (figs, elms and cypress) that were once part of the asylum’s garden.
When you come to Kane’s Bridge, cross the river. As you cross, you will see Studley Park Boathouse, a great place to hire a boat or stop for a cup of coffee. Take a left onto Boathouse Road and a right on to Yarra Boulevard. After five minutes, you will see Andrews Reserve on your right. Ride along the path through this Picnic Area and cross the bridge back to Gipps Street before making your way back through Collingwood to the Yorkshire Brewery to drop off your bicycle.