Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Kurrajong Plantation Trail
You Yangs Regional Park has rightly become known as a must do for downhill mountain bike riders, thanks to Parks Victoria and volunteers from Geelong Mountain Bike Club putting in countless hours developing the gravity-defying Stockyards track network. It’s not all about the need for speed, though, as there’s a gentler world awaiting novice riders west of the park’s 340m Flinders Peak. It just happens to be the perfect spot for parents to ride with younger children while their adventurous teens defy gravity ‘upstairs’.
With 50km of purpose built trails and easy access from Melbourne and Geelong, the You Yangs is the most popular MTB destination in Victoria. There is something for everyone here, including novice riders, experienced cross-country singletrack riders and experienced down hillers.This is an easy introductory ride that anyone with basic skills and fitness can enjoy and it is a good introduction to the area.
At some stage thousands of years ago, the You Yangs must have been considerably higher than they are now. A family group of the Wathaurong Aboriginal people enjoyed a pleasant lifestyle there, with abundant birds and marsupials to eat and plentiful waterfrom rock wells among the giant granite boulders.
While the Western Plantation, which was used until 2008 by mountain bikes, is now set aside for a horse riding loop, the Kurrajong Plantation has gained three tracksfor cross-country riders – the mildly-testing Chainsaw, which features a range of jumps, berms and boardwalk sections, the Plantation and the Lumberjack. They can be treated as three loops, using Robins Road and Kurrajong Avenue to complete the circuits, but we’re doing the three as one loop starting and finishing at the north-eastern corner of Great Circle Drive. It shouldn’t take much more than an hour and don’t be intimidated by the mention of jumps and other man-made features.
Most of the trickier sections in the plantation can be bypassed until you are more confident. Before you know it you will be riding up Great Circle Drive to test your skills on the downhill tracks of the Stockyards. The gum trees here might be a bit weedy looking but they do provide a little cover from the sun. The various rides in the park are all clearly signed and numbered.
By car,take the Little River exit from the PrincesFreeway, then Old Melbourne Road, Little River Road, You Yangs Road, Farrars Road and Branch Road to the park’s main entrance. After you enter the park and pass the office building, look for Great Circle Drive on the left and park when it turns right along a fenceline. You should be able to see a blue square on a marker post on the left. This marks the start of the ride.
By train, some Geelong trains stop at Little River, from where you can ride 10 kilometres to the You Yangs via Drysdale Road.
Food and Drink
Nearest supplies are at the Little River service station in Little River Road and the Little River Hotel in River Street, just past the bluestone railway station. Toilets, water and picnic facilities are available in the park.
There are several walking tracks in the park, with the top of Flinders Peak just 3.2km from the Turntable car park. The summit might only be 340m high but there are 450 steps on the way there and the views are amazing.
12.705 km / 7.894 mi
159 m / 523 ft
120 m / 393 ft