Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Castlemaine Introduction Ride

This short tour around the outskirts of town packs some real surprises. It is a great way to see the sights of Castlemaine and get a feel for the area while having sections of good off-road mountain biking. It is not technically difficult and despite the numerous directions, navigation is quite easy. You will pass a couple of ride locations that invite you to return and explore.

After a little bit on the tar at the start, you climb to where you have views over Castlemaine that give a real perspective of the town. Then follows a looping ride in the bush and a downhill run before following further trails around the golf course.

Another very short section on sealed road takes you to more very enjoyable track that climbs before dropping down to the Botanical Gardens. Cycling is permitted here but please go slowly. The tracks through the gardens are quite wide and you have good vision ahead. This is a very pleasant flat place to ride and adds a nice contrast to the little bush tracks you have just traversed.

Near the end of this ride you pass by Apple Annie’s bakery café that is worthy of a visit. Their cakes and pastries are sensational and the croissants were voted the best in the country by a prominent food critic. (It’s so special that Jacqui asked me not to include it lest it fall victim to its own popularity!)

Access

By car: Castlemaine is an easy one and a half hours or 120 kilometres northwest of Melbourne via the Calder Freeway. (Melway X909 D6.) Take the Castlemaine turn off and when you reach town go to the car park in Forest Street, at the rear of the information centre. This is the start for most of our rides in Castlemaine. Set your bike computer to zero at the edge of the car park, near the footpath.

Parking here is limited, however, there is plenty of free parking nearby, beside the tennis courts in Wheeler Street (turn right at the closest roundabout).

By train: A fast and comfortable train service from Melbourne takes around an hour and a half from Southern Cross Station. Bikes can be taken on the train but if travelling in a group you will need to confirm space is available by ringing V/Line on 136 196 or (03) 8608 5011.

Food and Drink

Plenty of options at the start. The car park services the local supermarket; green-grocer with deli-goods and fresh bread also near the info centre. A cycle-friendly café is the Theatre Royal, next door to the bike shop, in Hargraves Street just to the left of the roundabout. The Comma Hotel is known for good food and local bands.

Side Trip

Allow plenty of time to explore the historic town of Castlemaine. Pop into the information centre for a wealth of fascinating historical and tourist information, staffed by generous locals happy to share their knowledge. It has interesting displays and is well worth a visit.

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Ride starts at Castlemaine information centre car park, near the footpath. Leave the car park and turn left, then left again at the next, Hargreaves St. Go past Mostyn St then turn right at Lyttleton St and continue to the top of the hill.
  • 1.4 At Kalimna Point (Kalimna Rd), veer left downhill.
  • 1.8 Just before Fletcher St, turn right and continue on the track.
  • 2.1 Turn left before the dam then right uphill until you reach Kalimna Tourist Rd where you turn left.
  • 2.4 Keep going on Kalimna, passing Hunter Track on your left.
  • 3.4 Turn left onto Circuit Track.
  • 3.9 Keep right then right again (there is a dam on your left).
  • 4.2 Veer right onto the track before the golf course then right again onto the main track and follow it downhill.
  • 4.5 Turn left at Lawson Pde.
  • 5.1 At the intersection turn left then right at the next; North St.
  • 5.5 Turn left at Hargraves St.
  • 6.2 Turn right at Parker St then cross the Midland Hwy. Then just past the railway line, turn right into the Botanical Gardens and keep going on the right hand track.
  • 7.1 Veer left, then right before the bridge.
  • 7.7 Exit the park and turn left onto the road, cross the bridge then turn left onto a dirt track opposite Burnett Rd, then veer right.
  • 8.2 At the sign turn right uphill.
  • 8.4 Keep right then shortly turn left up a wider track, then left at the top of the hill.
  • 8.7 Just near the wooden fence, take the second track on the left downhill.
  • 8.8 Veer right.
  • 9.1 Veer right then cross the bridge, the caravan park is on your right.
  • 9.6 Exit the gardens, cross railway and turn right.
  • 10.0 Turn right onto the gravel track beside the railway line.
  • 10.6 Keep going straight ahead on Templeton St; Apple Annie’s on your left shortly! Then turn right at Barker St and then left to the information centre.
  • 11.4 Finish.
  • Trail map

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    11.084 km / 6.887 mi

    Total Distance

    645 m / 2,115 ft

    Total Ascent

    505 m / 1,657 ft

    Total Descent

    365 m / 1,197 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    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
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 11.1
    Elevation Gain: 202
    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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