Cycle Victoria, Road Ride, Sightseeing Ride, Aireys Inlet Circuit Ride
From Anglesea all the way to Peterborough the Otway Ranges rise abruptly out of Bass Strait, making some of the most spectacular scenery of any coastline around the world. Whilst beautiful, it is not easy riding country. This ride explores the Otways and the coast along a moderately challenging route. It shows off the rugged coastline; the forest country beside the Angahook State Forest with its attractive black trunked eucalypts and a short ride along the famous Great Ocean Road hugging the coast to finish.
This ride has a mixture of major and minor roads, made and unmade. Most significantly are the steep sections on an unstable surface heading inland from Aireys Inlet. You will at least need a hybrid with thicker tyres.
The majority of this ride is on back roads. However there is a small section on the Great Ocean Road where it curves round a headland. Riders should go single file on this section.
Aireys Inlet is 48 kilometres from Geelong on the Princes Highway turning onto Anglesea Road, which becomes the Great Ocean Road continuing through Anglesea. The start of the ride is in the car park at the shopping area, opposite the picnic area just before you come to the river. VicRoads Map: 525 E4.
Food and Drink
There is a café and milk bar in the shopping area and you can fill you water bottles over the road in the picnic reserve.
If you want a much more challenging ride, continue along the Bambra Road instead of turning left down the Old Coach Road. After Bambra continue along Bambra Aireys Inlet Road until you come to the Winchelsea Deans Marsh Road. Turning left it will take you to Lorne and a ride back to Aireys Inlet along the Great Ocean Road.
The ride leaves the shopping centre adjacent to the welcoming picnic ground opposite, which would be a nice place to wind down after the ride. The first stop on the ride is past a small wetlands to the car park up near the famous Split Point lighthouse at the top of the cliffs. Ten shipwrecks prior to 1890 along the Surf Coast led to the construction of the lighthouse.
The builders had problems getting materials to the site. After the vessel carrying the supplies floundered on the coast during heavy weather, the stone was quarried locally at Lookout Hill and the ironbark timber was obtained close to the lighthouse. At the cliff top you will find commanding views of the ocean and Mornington Peninsula on a clear day. You could also take a walk along the cliff top from here to Sunnymead, Sandy Gully and Step Beach.
On the beach you will find many small coves with rock pools. You can swim, surf, snorkel or just stroll along the beach. Right below the lighthouse is Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary, Leaving the coast you get onto dirt and some steep roads through to the back of the town and head into the bush along the Old Coach Road. There is some really beautiful bushland through here and some points where you can dismount and go for a walk. After too short a time the road returns to civilisation, but tempered by views out along the coast. You meet the Great Ocean Road at Moggs Creek quite near the creek and its estuary.
A stroll along this stunning beach would be well worth the effort of crossing the road. The road back through Fairhaven, whilst providing great views along the coast is narrow and a detour through the back streets cuts out a risky section of road. Back on the Great Ocean Road again, with a good shoulder, you cross over Painkalac Creek with the lighthouse standing on the headland framed against the sky; a beautiful sight to stop and take in. From here it’s not far back to the shops and the end of the ride.
11.857 km / 7.367 mi
153 m / 503 ft
154 m / 504 ft
69 m / 225 ft