Bicycle Network: Where to Ride
- Jon Miller
This ride combines the Boolarra Rail Trail and part of the Grand Ridge Road with an overnight stay in Mirboo North – home to the award winning Grand Ridge Brewery.
View Tour - Boolarra Rail Trail and Grand Ridge Road in a larger map
The Grand Ridge Road runs along the top of the Strzelecki Ranges which is a finger of the Great Dividing Range. It is a very scenic road passing through native forest with lots of wildlife to be seen. The Grand Ridge Rail Trail, though only 13km long is quite picturesque as it passes through flora reserves. The Big Tree, a large mountain grey gum is near the rail trail at the Darlimurla station site.
The ride is on a mixture of sealed and unsealed roads of varying quality so a touring bike or mountain bike is recommended. There are a few hills on this ride – you will have to climb up the Strzelecki Range from Traralgon on the valley floor. The Grand Ridge Road isn’t exactly flat either. You will be rewarded for all of this climbing with a wonderful descent into Warragul on the second day.
Climbing up the Strzleckis
Leaving Traralgon station, head west back towards Melbourne on the Princes Highway, turn left after a few hundred metres at the traffic lights and go under the railway bridge to a large roundabout where you turn right. You will still be heading west parallel to the railway line but this road carries a lot less traffic than the Princes Highway. After about a kilometre, turn left on to Hazelwood St (C456) towards Churchill.
Churchill was built in the mid-1950s to house workers during the construction of Hazelwood Power Station. It was named after the former cigar-smoking British Prime Minister and houses the Big Cigar which was built by the local Rotary club in his honour. Turn right in Churchill towards Hazelwood and ride along the southern edge of Hazelwood Cooling Pond with good views over the surrounding farmland. Ride through Yinnar before rejoining the C456 and follow this to Boolarra.
Grand Ridge Rail Trail
The rail trail at Boolarra starts in the Railway Park in the Main Street. The rail trail is up hill all the way to Mirboo North but has a very gradual gradient like all rail trails. There are a couple of places where the trail is very steep. It drops down into river gullies and climbs out again. The original bridges have been removed as they were unsafe.
The trail passes through a combination of temperate and dry sclerophyll forest. Many native animals and birds, including wedge-tailed eagles have been sighted here. The trail comes out behind the Grand Ridge Brewery in Mirboo North which is a great place to stop for a cold beer on a hot day.
Mirboo North is also the overnight stop. Options are the Commercial Hotel in the main street or the Golf Club Motel attached to the golf course a little out of town. The Golf Club Motel is nicer but less convenient. Both places include a continental breakfast in their tariff.
Grand Ridge Road
The next day, you will need to carry lunch with you as there is nowhere to buy food before some tea rooms just before Warragul at the end of the ride. Head out of town west on the Strzelecki Highway for 3 ½ km before turning right on to the Grand Ridge Road beginning a wonderful sweeping descent through the forest. After crossing the Tarwin River, you start climbing again. However, the scenery is so good, you will hardly notice the hills. . Sometimes you are completely enclosed by the forest and riding through a tunnel of trees. At other times, it is clear with expansive views north over the Latrobe Valley and south to Wilson’s Prom. You will ride past enormous mountain ash, silver wattle and myrtle beech forest with a dense and ferny understory. Keep your eyes peeled for echidnas, lyrebirds and wedge-tailed eagles as these are often sighted along here.
You pass through the small settlements of Hallston and Trida, neither of which have any shops or other facilities, before skirting around Mt Worth State Park. If you have the time, stop off at Mt Worth and take in some of the walks there. A couple of kilometres past the park is the settlement of Seaview, take the signposted road to the left towards the Seaview School and Hall. There are toilets and tank water available here, not to mention some terrific views south. Then retrace your steps back to the Grand Ridge Road and follow it to the main Warragul-Korumburra Road and begin the descent to Warragul. There can be a bit of traffic on this road so take care.
The ride finishes at Warragul station where you can catch the VLine train home.