Bicycle Network: Where to Ride
- Jon Miller
Starting in Camperdown, follow the Crater to Coast Rail Trail in part to Port Campbell. Stay there the night and return to Camperdown via the Great Ocean Road
View Tour - Crater to Coast Rail Trail and the Great Ocean Road in a larger map
The Crater to Coast Rail Trail is one of Victoria’s newest. It will eventually stretch from the volcanic plains around Camperdown to the coast at Port Campbell. The section from Camperdown to Glenfyne is all that’s open now . The Great Ocean Road is one of Victoria’s oldest tourist attractions with the world-famous rock formations dating back millions of years. This ride combines the two. At around 140km, it is a little longer than the others in this Transition to Touring series but well worth the effort. The rail trail surface and the road around Lake Bullen Merri is a little rough in places so a touring bike, quality hybrid or mountain bike is recommended.
Camperdown to the Rail Trail
There are no signs to the start of the trail from Camperdown station and it can be tricky to find. Ride south-west from the station to Manifold St/Princes Hwy which is the main street through town, turn right and ride for about a kilometre to the edge of town and turn left down Bowen Street. Follow this south for a kilometre and a half then turn right into Park Lane. You soon come to a fork in the road, the right-hand branch leads up to the small botanic gardens through the caravan park. It’s worth the trip up for the views if nothing else. However, the ride route veers to the left, downhill along Sadlers Rd past the Camperdown golf course. Then you need to turn left down the unsealed Bullen Merri Rd around Lake Bullen Merri.
There is a gate and a no access sign here but bike riders can get through. Both Lake Bullen Merri and the nearby Lake Gnotuk were formed by volcanic activity about 20,000 years ago. They are both fed by underground water so are reasonably full despite the prolonged drought. Sweeping views of both can be had from the Lake Bullen Merri Road.
At the southern end of the lake, there is a small reserve with a picnic shelter and toilets, follow the access road out to Naroghid Road and turn right. Follow this to the start of the rail trail a bit over a kilometre away. You’ll have to keep your eyes open for it as there are no signs.
Gourmet delights at Timboon
Take the rail trail south to Cobden. Although a lot of work is being done on the trail; the surface is often loose gravel so take care. It is a very picturesque ride through the forest.
Get off the trail at Cobden and continue along the Port Campbell Road (C164). At Scotts Creek, you can turn right towards Timboon on the C163 or continue on the C164. There is much to interest the gourmand in Timboon. There’s the Rail Shed Distillery which as well as making its own distillery, sells Timboon Fine Ice-cream. About 10km south is Timboon Farmhouse Cheese which has specialty cheeses for tasting and purchase as well as serving light lunches and afternoon teas.
From Timboon, it is a short ride south to Port Campbell where you can stay the night at the campground, a backpackers hostel, a pub, a B&B or guesthouse. There’s a nice sheltered beach here and some walks along the headlands if you have some extra time on your hands,
Great Ocean Road
The next day is about 80 kilometres and there is a lot to see so you’ll want to start early. Head east along the Great Ocean Road through Port Campbell National Park. This section of the Great Ocean Road contains some of the most famous rock formations – Loch Ard Gorge, Twelve Apostles and Gibson Steps. It’s easy to spend a lot of time exploring these features but remember that you still have a long way to ride that day.
Inland to Camperdown
Turn off the Great Ocean Road at Princeton; there is a long climb on the Princeton Road towards Simpson. Simpson has a pretty little park with a small lake. It’s right next to the general store and makes a good place to stop for lunch.
After leaving Simpson, it gets easier though there are still some hills to climb. Follow the signs through to Cobden and either get back on the rail trail there or follow the Camperdown Cobden Road (C164) back to Camperdown for the train home.