Kurrajong Plantation Trail

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.

Early explorers may have seen the area’s potential for timber and gravel production, and we can only imagine what they would have thought of its current status as a recreation area for rock climbing, horse riding, walking, orienteering and trail running.

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.

Access

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.

Side Trip

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.

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Reset your computer at the marker post fitted with a blue square on left side of Great Circle Dr. Go downhill on Junction Track (14).
  • 0.3 At the end of Junction Track, bear left on Chainsaw Track (15).
  • 1.1 Go straight ahead on Plantation Track (16).
  • 2.3 Go straight ahead onto Lumberjack Track (17) at the Kurrajong picnic area, with toilets and pump track on your right.
  • 3.2 Keep going straight ahead at the closed road.
  • 4.2 Go straight ahead at the closed road.
  • 4.7 Turn left near Turntable Dr, look for ‘17’ sign on the far side of the clearing and start heading north.
  • 6.0 Go straight ahead at the roads.
  • 6.6 Go straight ahead at Kurrajong picnic area on 16.
  • 7.3 Go straight ahead at next few roads and twin tracks. Stay on 16.
  • 11.2 Turn left on Chainsaw Track (15) (Robins Rd).
  • 13.3 Go straight ahead at the crossroads.
  • 13.8 Turn left at the junction of 14, 15, and 16.
  • 14.1 Finish back at Great Circle Dr.
  • Trail map

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    12.705 km / 7.894 mi

    Total Distance

    159 m / 523 ft

    Total Ascent

    120 m / 393 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    MTB Segment: downhill
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Trail Signage: Good
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance (Kms): 13.1
    Elevation Gain (metres): 164
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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