Cycling to Melbourne Airport

I had heard rumours of a way to get to Melbourne Airport by bike. Earlier this year, I decided to try it out. Turns out that this is possible – but only just.

Route 1 – via Moonee Ponds Creek Trail

If you are coming from the north or east of Melbourne, this route will probably be the most suitable. This is the one that I used on my inbound leg.

It involves using the little-known section of the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail that continues north from the M80 Ring Road Trail. Bikes can then enter the Airport via an access road from the east (see the map above for details).

North of Willowbrook Reserve in Westmeadows is the least-populated length of a metropolitan trail that I have seen. For this entire area up to Melbourne Airport, I did not see a single person.

Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, Westmeadows

The low usage of this route shows more the further out you travel. Paved surfaces turn to gravel or dirt, the smoothness deteriorates and you feel more and more like you are in the countryside. This was underscored for me when I came across this abandoned car that had been left in the middle of the path in Attwood.

Abandoned car on Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, Attwood

From this point at the entrance to the Woodlands Historic Park, the route becomes less legible. You have to continue along the main path around the western part of the Park where there is a fork in the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail. There is also a bench at this point which gives you a wonderful view of aircraft taking off and landing from both runways.

View looking towards Melbourne Airport from Woodlands Historic Park, Greenvale

Continuing down this path brings you to Marker Road. This is effectively a service track for navigation aids built and maintained by Melbourne Airport for Runway 09/27 (the east-west runway). The surface is very rough to the point where it requires dismounting in some places.

Surface of Marker Road, Melbourne Airport

After a steep climb and a short ride along a much smoother surface at the top of the hill, Marker Road intersects with the southbound off-ramp from Sunbury Road into Melbourne Airport. From here, you can ride all the way to the terminals and car parking building where the bicycle parking is located (see below). Otherwise, there are footpaths along most of the roads where you can walk your bike if the traffic is too hairy.

Entrance to Melbourne Airport from Marker Road

The main advantage of this route is that it is almost entirely off-road, but the degree to which this is true will depend on your trip origin. You should also be prepared for at least some on-road riding through the Airport surrounds. There are footpaths in some places where you can walk your bike if that proves too hairy to negotiate.

Route 2 – via Airport Drive

Another way to travel to and from the Airport by bike is using the network of shared paths that have been recently built to the south of the main terminal area. While there are some gaps, the paths are generally well-signed and in good condition.

Shared path adjacent to Airport Drive looking south, Melbourne Airport

The easiest way to access the beginning of the route is to use the shared path heading north-west along Steele Creek from the M80/Ring Road Trail in Tullamarine. You can then either try cycling down Sharps Road and Keilor Park Drive (not recommended) or take some side streets (Tullamarine Park Road and Assembly Drive) to the intersection of Sharps Road and Airport Drive. Following this shared path along Airport Drive will take you right into the Airport

Route 3 – via Melrose Drive

If you are a confident on-road cyclist and want the most direct route to the Airport from the CBD, then Melrose Drive is a third option to consider. I did not try this entire route by myself as I don’t fancy trying to ride down most of the arterial roads that this would involve. But if you are willing to give it a try, it is theoretically possible.

From the city, you can ride along these roads (in sequential order from south to north):

  • Elizabeth Street
  • Flemington Road
  • Mount Alexander Road
  • Keilor Road
  • Matthews Avenue
  • Melrose Drive

(Here is a map for those who are interested)

Bicycle facilities

As for bicycle facilities at the Airport, there are very few.

The Melbourne Airport website describes the bike parking location as ‘on the ground floor of the T1/T2/T3 carpark’. This is not terribly useful as the carpark is huge.

When I arrived, none of the employees that I asked in the carpark had any idea about bicycle parking and there was no signage.

It took me about 20 minutes of cycling randomly around the carpark but I did eventually discover the bike rack. If you are playing at home, it is located on the ground floor just inside one of the entrances to the T1/T2/T3 multi-storey carpark structure directly opposite the terminals.

Melbourne Airport bicycle parking

I have since added its location to OpenStreetMap so that others can hopefully find it as well.

Have you cycled to Melbourne Airport before? Let me know in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “Cycling to Melbourne Airport

  1. You can also combine Melrose Drive with Moonee Ponds Creek to get a more direct route. Melrose Drive is reached from MPC via Boeing Rd and Mascoma St. Melrose drive is surprisingly not too bad to ride on. Personally I always follow MPC all the way because it’s so nice to be off-road amongst the river redgums and to see the latest installment in the war between the trail bike riders and Parks Victoria who try to keep them out of Woodlands Park. The trail bikes are winning, by the way, they always do, everywhere.

    The Steeles Crk route would be massively out of the way if coming from the Moonee Ponds Crk side, but useful if coming from the west. It also exemplifies the lack of connectivity of bike routes, with the Airport Drive shared path coming within a kilometer of the ring road path, but not quite joining up. That km of Airport drive has no footpath and looks pretty deadly, also I couldn’t see any connection there with the Steeles Crk path on Google Street View.

    On entering the airport on my folding bicycle, I use Concorde Close to reach the passenger terminals, fold up my bicycle and hand it over to the oversized luggage handler.

    1. Thanks Nik. Yes there are quite a lot of alternative routes depending on where you are coming from. Less confident riders would also probably appreciate as much off-road path as possible. The Airport Drive path was pretty frustrating – I had to ride on the road for a bit there and it was not a pleasant experience.

  2. Thanks for this post, It’s great that you’re able to publish these helpful guides to navigating Melbourne without a car. I have cycled from the Airport to my destination in the Northern Suburbs a couple of times. Walked that distance once and have also walked to Kealba a few times. The Kealba walk is really nice. Cycling from the Airport is great the cycle paths along Western Ring Road are quite picturesque. The most difficult thing for me has been getting free of the spiderweb of busy roads closest to the airport. I tend to get a bit lost finding my way to the beginning of the cycle path. I have also caught the public bus from the airport to Broadmeadows then on to Macorna Street Watsonia. An easy and pleasant journey for travelers on a tight budget. I’ve thrown in a link to my blog post of my most recent ride from Airport https://balandaeyes.blogspot.com/2018/01/forage-abundance.html

    1. Thanks – looks like you’re pretty experienced at doing that too! It’s good that there are quite a few parts of Melbourne where using buses and bikes is a viable option to get to and from the Airport.

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