Bicycle trip – North Balwyn to Bundoora loop (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1 here).

Bundoora – Viewbank

Riding back through the subdivision, I crossed the Plenty River on the Greensborough Bypass bridge to get down to the Plenty River Trail as I had originally intended. The view from this bridge, probably lost on the cars speeding past at 80+ km/h, was quite stunning across the Plenty River Valley.

Plenty River Valley from Greensborough Bypass bridge, Bundoora

Unfortunately, on the other side of the bridge, I almost missed the turnoff that would take me down to the Plenty River Trail. Why? Because it is an unofficial goat track that is unsigned and full of rubbish and graffiti.

Connecting path to Plenty River Trail from Greensborough Bypass Trail

Unimpressed by this beginning, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Plenty River Trail was largely well-built and maintained. Some new sections had been built that either took more direct routes or avoided going through flood-prone areas.

Plenty River Trail, Greensborough

These good attributes were let down by yet more instances of no signage. One particularly memorable situation was just before going under the Main Street bridge at Greensborough where a fork in the path gave users two choices, but failed to provide any indication as to which one to take. For the record, the one to the left goes up to Main Street while the right fork continues along the trail. Without my map, I would have had no idea.

Main Street bridge, Greensborough

Soon after going under the road, the first directional sign in a long time appeared! A short on-road section followed (with some more self-entitled parking).

Just before this begins, there is a seriously dangerous section of path after a blind corner where the path suddenly ends over a cliff and into a tree without any warning whatsoever. Somebody coming around there at speed would find themselves in trouble very quickly. I’ve since contacted Banyule City Council about this issue and we’ll see what happens. UPDATE Contacted Banyule and they were very helpful. This issue and the wayfinding signs are being looked into and hopefully resolved soon.

Dangerous path end over a cliff and into a tree, Greensborough

This next section of path was quite pleasant, following the river through shaded bushland and crossing the river at various points over small bridges.

Plenty River, Montmorency

One of these crossings was the Old Lower Plenty Road Bridge. This was an old bluestone bridge that used to carry cars and trucks across the river but which now carries pedestrians and cyclists. A big improvement I say.

Old Lower Plenty Road bridge, Lower Plenty

Viewbank – North Balwyn

Soon after this bridge, the trail leaves the Plenty River before it feeds into the Yarra River at Lower Plenty. The path turns west into the Banyule Flats in Viewbank, a vast open expanse of grassland and scrubland on top of a large hill. While the gradient of the gravel path was quite steep (my GPS says 7.4%), the views from the top were well worth the effort.

City view from Banyule Flats, Viewbank

A bit further along the path revealed even more expansive views to the south and east.

Panorama from Banyule Flats, Viewbank

Coming down the hill on the other side brought me to the end of the Plenty River Trail and back onto the Main Yarra Trail. A quick shortcut past the wetlands brought me back to the bridge across the Yarra River and the route back home.

I can only recommend parts of this trip to others. The Plenty River Trail is definitely worth riding or walking along. It is generally well-surfaced and maintained and follows some nice scenery. The hill at Viewbank is quite steep and the path can be dangerous after rain has washed up gravel, but it should be suitable for most riders. As for Part 1, I cannot recommend the River Gum Walk Trail north of Lower Plenty Road or the Greensborough Bypass Trail at all. Both had serious access and safety issues that need to be addressed.

2 thoughts on “Bicycle trip – North Balwyn to Bundoora loop (Part 2)

  1. Nice review of the Plenty and Yarra River paths. Page one looked like a nightmare! That Greensborough Rd is a shocker! There’s no easy way to get through that area without being confronted with autocentric road planning! If you’d been heading back along Watsonia Rd along the bike path you could have experienced what happens to bike lanes when the road narrows! The white line just gradually verges into a hard gutter. I had a similar problem with signage when I tried to walk to Watsonia from the Airport along the bike path. Backtracking on foot added kilometers and considerable time to my trip! Looks like some guerilla signposting is in order. šŸ˜‰

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