As you weave your way through the Alpine National Park, you'll navigate around (not over!) some of the highest mountains in Victoria. This trip is about sight seeing as much as it is cycling, so the relaxing pace is slow enough to make sure you can enjoy the stunningly beautiful alpine scenery. In fact, most riders like to stop so they can take in the dramatic mountain landscapes, wild rivers, enchanting vineyards, snow gum forests and historic sights.
We’ve handpicked our favorite cycling routes, taking in everything from "the Murray to mountains" rail trail through to the Alpine environment of Mt. Buffalo, historic towns and hidden valleys. You’ll cycle to local cellar doors and also taste the fantastic produce for which this region is famous and in the evenings retire to boutique accommodation, chosen for character and exceptional views as well as comfort. Your rides will take you to historic Goldrush era towns such as Beechworth and Bright and hidden valleys off the beaten track.
And just in case you burn off too many calories, there's a wealth of food and wine waiting for you at each stop. The Alpine Valleys are famous throughout the region for their cuisine, so get ready for world-class wineries, perfect produce and award-winning restaurants. Welcoming you at every bedtime, is beautifully appointed accommodation, which boasts exceptional views, heaps of character and creature comforts.
Our Great Alpine cycle will appeal to people of all ages and abilities as it has been cleverly designed with the flexibility of choosing how much you ride of each day’s planned route. You have the support of a back up vehicle with you throughout the trip so if you don’t wish to cycle a particular section then the vehicle can transfer you to the next town on our route or your overnight accommodation. So whether you’re a novice cyclist or an experienced rider you can choose the rides to suit your preference.
Day 1: Melbourne; After pick up in central Melbourne we travel north to the high country, stopping en route at Gapsted wines in the King valley for a light lunch. This will be our first taste of the excellent gourmet produce and wines this region is renowned for, with great views over the alpine valleys to match. This afternoon’s ride takes in the best section of the "Murray to Mountains" rail trail, one of Australia’s most scenic cycling routes, with great rural and bush scenery along the former Baarmutha railway line. From where we start near Everton the rail trail winds through the Oven’s valley for 38km to Bright, passing by vineyards, orchards, tobacco and berry farms.
As we travel further along the line expansive views of Mount Buffalo and the high country open us to us. Today’s ride starts fairly flat but climbs gradually as we head to Myrtleford and Ovens. You may choose to ride as little or as much as you wish of today’s route with the flexibility of having our support vehicle and cycling guide at hand. You can choose to enjoy a short ride and then transfer to your accommodation or stretch your legs with a longer ride to the end. Our destination tonight is the Alpine town of Bright, located on the beautiful Ovens River and nestled in the valley below Mount Buffalo, it is undoubtedly one of Victoria’s most attractive towns. Enjoy a well earned dinner at one of the excellent restaurants in the town. Short ride option: Gapsted to Eurobin 24km. Grade: easy downhill. Longer option: Gapsted to Bright 38km. Grade: easy – moderate cycling Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Mount Buffalo and the Buckland valley. This morning you have the option to join us for a morning drive up Mount Buffalo with it’s sheer cliffs, imposing granite tors, tumbling waterfalls, snow gums and stunning views. (Alternatively you may wish to stay in Bright and explore the galleries and cafes at your own pace). We begin our ride at "the Horns" a top Mount Buffalo, keeping an eye out for one of the many Lyrebirds which populate this area. Enjoy a cycle across the plateau of Mount Buffalo past serene Lake Catani and the Historic Chalet and lawns which give amazing views across the high country. Then we enjoy an exhilarating long downhill from the summit of the mountain back down to the valley below ( If weather conditions prove unfavourable for Mt. Buffalo then we‘ll ride out to the preserved village of Wandiligong. Wandiligong is full of quaint little buildings, including miners’ cottages, the Manchester Unity Hall of 1874 and the town’s century-old general store).
The next part of our day takes us over to the adjacent Buckland valley where we take a picnic lunch amidst delightful surroundings. The Buckland Valley was the scene of a historic goldrush during the 1850s and also infamous gold riots in 1857. We’ll be joined by a local historian and stop at the Buckland cemetery to see some of the graves of the pioneers and hear some of the fascinating history from this era. Our afternoon ride will take us upto Ah Young’s camp where we’ll be able to see some of the old gold diggings. Later that afternoon we return back to Bright. Short ride options: Wandiligong valley 12km, Grade: easy Longer ride option: Mt. Buffalo to Buckland Valley 34km (downhill). Buckland valley ride 18 km Grade: easy cycling. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Kiewa valley and Mt. Beauty. Today we head over into the Kiewa valley, starting with a climb by vehicle over Mt. Porepunkah and descending on quiet forest roads that we have to ourselves. We emerge into a picturesque valley, passing by a "castle" and beautiful scenes of vineyards, pastures and mountains. Once we reach the Kiewa valley we transfer to Tawonga where we ride along the newly constructed bike path to Mount Beauty. Visit friendly cellar doors to experience the deep, seamless reds and crisp elegant whites and taste the fare of gourmet local producers.
We’ll take a our lunch at the Annapurna estate with it’s glorious Alpine views, it’s truly a spot you won’t want to leave. That afternoon we transfer to Beechworth, Victoria’s best preserved gold rush town with its carefully restored colonial buildings and historic precinct. Its 19th century streets showcase an eclectic mix of galleries, collectibles, handcrafts, old pubs, cafes, provedores and restaurants. We’ll be eating at one of the town’s most renowned restaurants and staying at the charming "Finches of Beechworth", a meticulously restored Victorian home. Short ride options: Kiewa valley and Tawonga to Mt. Beauty 20km Grade: Easy. Longer ride option: Porepunkah to Kiewa, Tawonga to Mt. Beauty 47km. Grade: Easy- moderate cycling. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Beechworth - Milawa/ Melbourne. Enjoy a relaxed morning and the option to look around the town with a Ned Kelly walking tour showing places of interest related to this most infamous local and Australian icon. This morning’s ride takes us back on a section of the "Murray to Mountains" rail trail, one of Australia’s most scenic cycling routes. We enjoy an exhilarating downhill from 538m above sea level at Beechworth to 236m at Everton 16 km away, from where we branch onto backroads to the Australia’s first proclaimed "gourmet region" of Milawa.
The area is known as a food lover’s paradise with excellent wineries such as Brown Brothers just around the corner from producers of specialty cheeses, mustards, breads, olives, berries and other delights. Needless to say we will be enjoying a gourmet lunch to celebrate the end of our cycling trip before we start the return journey back to Melbourne. We expect to arrive back in the city around 6 p.m. (A drop-off at Melbourne airport is possible en route). Short ride options: Beechworth to Everton 15km Grade: easy cycling Longer ride option: Beechworth to Milawa. Grade: easy - moderate cycling 26km. Includes: (B), (L).
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