Cycle Victoria, Sightseeing Ride, Ballarat Yarrowee Trail Ride
The Yarrowee Trail is a hidden treasure in Ballarat and is becoming even more beautiful as the continuing rejuvenation of the creek takes hold. The creek runs out of the Gong Gong Reservoir alongside Brown and Black Hills, an area of extensive gold mine remanets. It then tunnels under Ballarat CBD to emerge and runs south on the other side of the shopping area. The increasingly lush vegetation and extensive wetlands offers a tranquil and relaxing ride.
The ride is on a good, shared pathway for most of the time, with the last section up to the return point bitumen.
The path is usually fairly quiet. There are some road crossings, but only Stawell Street. requires caution as motorists tend to fly down the hill.
Peel Street runs off Sturt Street through the centre of town and ride commences less than a kilometre from where the Yarrowee Creek passes under the road beside Rowe Street. VicRoads Map 566 E7.
Food and Drink
There are no shops on the track, but a short detour onto Humffray Street on the right will bring you to shops. You can get water at the park toward the end of the route.
If you have a mountain bike or sturdy hybrid, and don’t mind some rough ground, you can continue on, following the trail markers for another three kilometres, toward the Gong Gong and Kirks reservoirs where there are picnic facilities and both bushland and park-land areas. The Yarrowee Trail also continues on the other side of the Ballarat CBD starting at the Grant Street bridge.
The starting point for the ride is not obvious, but once you pass the Eastern Oval on your left you’re about there. You can park close to Rowe Street, which marks where the creek runs beneath Peel Street. There is a ‘Eureka Trail’ sign and a few short steps down beside the creek and the ride begins on the unmade side street. The creek at this point is a large, but not unattractive bluestone drain, built many years ago to stop the centre of Ballarat getting wet feet after heavy downpours. Once you cross over Nicholson Street. the path commences and so does the scenery.
As you begin to climb up the side of Black Hill you will notice the extensive erosion caused by the gold mining in the area. If you like to scramble about you might wish to go for a bit of an exploration. There are a few old mining tunnels along the cliff side, but they are all closed off. If you manage to get to the top of Black Hill, there are great views across the city. This is a popular spot for MTB bikes as are the surrounding hills and the Canadian Forest over to the south east. Once around the hill you come back onto unmade road and continue to follow this beside the creek until it again becomes a path. There are a few old cottages here as well as more recent dwellings tucked in alongside the bottom of the hill.
After you have passed Back Hill the trail enters the more open wetland area where you can observe close up the birdlife and the chirping frogs. It is hard to believe that not so long ago, this whole area had been overgrown with willows strangling the creek and the swamp lands neglected.
Further down, hugging the Brown Hill hillside, the path comes back beside open park land on the other side of the creek where you will find picnic facilities. Once past Brown Hill, the ride approaches the freeway escarpment and ends at the tunnel. If you continue through the tunnel, the path becomes a bit harder to follow in parts, but still follows the creek.
3.94 km / 2.448 mi
75 m / 245 ft
39 m / 126 ft
466 m / 1,530 ft