Bicycle Network: Where to Ride
- Jon Miller
Starting and finishing at Warburton with an overnight stay in Marysville. This ride features two significant climbs, one on each day.
View Tour - Marysville and the Acheron Way in a larger map
This ride is a little over 100 kilometres with a couple of significant climbs. It starts and finishes in Warburton with an overnight stay in Marysville. Apart from 8 to 10 kilometres of gravel road over the top of Acheron Way, it is all on sealed roads. The gravel section is of good quality and can be handled by most bikes. Despite the popularity of Marysville as a day trip for Melbournians, there is very little four-wheeled traffic on the ride. However, a lot of motor bike riders like the winding road up Reefton Spur so you will probably encounter some of them.
Riding through the bush
There is no doubt that this is a challenging ride over mountainous terrain but those that undertake it will be well rewarded. A lot of the ride passes through or alongside the Yarra Ranges National Park. And the parts that don’t are mostly through native forest. At the lower levels, you will be riding through wet sclerophyll forest of messmate, stringybarks and peppermints. At higher elevations, there is cool temperate rainforest featuring mountain ash, alpine ash and myrtle beech.
Cars can be left in Warburton at a car park off Thomas St by the river banks. You will probably want to pick up some food from one of the many shops in town – the next place you will be able to buy refreshments is the overnight stop at Marysville, 60km and almost 1000 metres of climbing away.
Warburton to Marysville
Head east through town along the Warburton Hwy (also known as Woods Point Rd) and you will be climbing almost straight away. The gradient is quite gentle for about the first 25km so there is plenty of time to warm up, Then the climbing starts in earnest as you head up the Reefton Spur towards Cumberland Junction. Turn left through Cambarville which is nothing more than a dot on the map but is also the highest point of the ride. From here it is a fast descent into Marysville.
Marysville has a range of places to stay – caravan parks, guest houses, hotels, motels and self-contained units so you are sure to be able to find something that will suit your taste and budget.
Back through Acheron Gap
Leaving Marysville the next morning, there are a few smaller hills and then a long climb over Acheron Gap. The road runs close to the Acheron River in a few places so you can stop to cool off on a hot day. There are also views of Mt Victoria and Donna Buang. If you’re very lucky, you will spot the endangered Leadbetter’s possum – look for the distinctive black stripe along its back.
There is another hair-raising descent between Acheron Gap and Warburton. Be sure to stop to look at the Skywalk and short rainforest walk at Cement Creek near the junction of the Mount Donna Buang Road.