ALL THE WAY TO HALF MOON BAY
Start: Station Pier or St Kilda Beach
Finish: Half Moon Bay
Length: 18 km or 13 km
Field notes: Kilometre after kilometre of fine, flat, beachside bike path. Coasting by the coast has never been easier.
You can’t beat a Sydney beach, but you can’t ride along them either. Bondi to Bronte is a rightfully celebrated coastal track, but it’s strictly for two legs only. So let’s make the most of what we’ve got; a beach we can ride along, and ride along, and ride along. And that’s only to get to Sandringham.
You don’t really need to be given directions when it comes to riding along Port Phillip Bay. Simply ride away from the city skyline to get out, and towards the city skyline to get back. On one side is the ocean’s horizon, on the other, million-dollar glass houses, a road called Beach Road, and, on weekends, thousands of cyclists enjoyinga ride that’s anything but casual. Starting at Station Pier, it’s possible to ride on to Seaford or even Sorrento and rarely lose sight of the ocean. But a healthy distance of around 18 kilometres will do nicely, to Half Moon Bay.
Situated at the base of a couple of cliffs, with the beach gorgeously appearing as you walk down the stairwell from road to sand, it’s many Melburnian’s favourite beach, and with good reason. Complete with an old school dinky-di kiosk selling pasties and icy poles, a sunny day at H alf Moon Bay really does deliver the slice of Australian beach life that makes your British best friend proclaim ‘now this is what I thought Australia would be like!’ It’s a good one hour ride from St Kilda, but obviously the beach is right by your side, ready for impromptu swims along the way.
If you want to get in the mood for the journey ahead, Cafe Racer (15 Marine Parade, St Kilda, 9534 9988) is where many lycra-clad folk fill up before racing down Beach Road. Four kilometres down and perched right on the beach, the outside tables at Northpoint (2 North Road, Brighton, 9596 9196) are the place to be, but every man and his designer-dog is waiting for one. Brighton Baths & Cafe (251 The Esplanade, Brighton, 9539 7000) is a popular yet curious venue, the baths are simply a caged-off section of the beach, with a changing room, reception and a restaurant. It is notable, however, for being one of the last such remaining caged open water sea baths in Australia. Overlooking the beach and cliff s, it would be good to wrap up the day with a beer at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, but sadly, it’s members only. Thankfully a kilometre further along the foreshore is beachfront micro-brewery and restaurant True South (298 Beach Road, Black Rock, 1300 878 360). It is a welcome relief in an area where every single other pub has a TAB.
When sun and stamina are falling in unison, a ten-minute ride back towards the city leads to Sandringham Station. Hop on and within thirty minutes hop off again at Flinders Street. Easy!