Bicycle Network: Where to Ride
- Jon Miller
There is a small pocket of Gippsland between the South Gippsland and Bass Highways that has good quality roads, fantastic scenery and very little traffic. Three factors which make the area eminently suitable for bike touring.
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This is a weekend ride which starts in the small town of Poowong – about 90 minutes drive from Melbourne just off the South Gippsland Highway. You cycle south to Archies Creek where you stay the night before heading off on an optional 15km side trip down to the beach at Kilcunda. The next day you ride back to Poowong via the market at Kongwak for a total distance of around 110km. Most of the ride is gently undulating so it rates as medium difficulty. Alternatively, you can knock off the side trip to Kilcunda and make it a hard 95km day ride. It’s almost all on sealed roads, there is a short section of gravel on the second day. This is easily bypassed if you wish.
Unfortunately, there are no longer trains running on the Leongatha line, so this ride isn’t accessible by public transport.
Overnight at Archies Creek Pub
The ride starts off with a very fast downhill run south towards Loch; you’ll be there in no time. Loch’s a quaint little town and it is worth spending a little time exploring it. There are a few cafes here as well as a bakery. If you haven’t brought lunch with you, buy something here as there are no other shops before Archies Creek.
After Loch, there is a longish hill before the road flattens out then drops down to Archies Creek. The only place to stay is the Royal Mail Hotel, they don’t have many rooms so make sure you ring ahead. You’ll probably arrive in Archies Creek by early afternoon which leaves plenty of time to head down to the Bass Coast rail trail and Kilcunda. If the weather’s good, you may want to go for a swim or just sit on the beach for a while and watch the surfers. When you’ve had enough, head back to Archies Creek for dinner at the pub.
Return via Kongwak Market
The next morning, you’ll have to cook your own breakfast in the small guest kitchen before heading off. If you aren’t comfortable riding on gravel, instead of turning left at Lance Creek towards Korinne and Glen Alvie, keep going straight ahead and meet up with the ride at Kongwak. However, it’s definitely worthwhile going through Glen Alvie as this is one of the most scenic sections of the ride.
On Sundays, there is a trash and treasure market at Kongwak which is fun to look around for a while, You can also buy a curry there for lunch.
The ride crosses back over the South Gippsland Highway at Bena. Navigation can be a bit tricky here because a new bypass has just been put in which is yet to appear on any maps. So pay attention as you ride through Bena and look for the road towards Poowong which runs underneath the highway.