Cycle Melbourne, Mountain bike Ride, Eureka Singletrack Loop

Fun factor extreme, historical interest, mind-blowing! Long, sinewy slabs of singletrack across Castlemaine rock, through mines, mullock heaps, old ruins from gold rush days before a scintillating downhill run along the Poverty Gully Water Race.

If historical sites don’t interest you, the visual beauty along the way surely will. In bright sunshine the colour of the rock and shale is stunning. This ride reeks with the legacy of human spirit. Seeing the effort of diggers who toiled through this rugged landscape brings a sense of awe.

After a short ride out of town, you hit the dirt beside the railway line. This rail service track is straight forward except for one wet spot in a gully and a brief section of chunky rock. This is hard country and the eucalypts are stunted in the shaley soil. Turning off the rail track, you pass under an historic bridge that, unlike many modern bridges, is a thing of great beauty with form, function and a simple arch.

There is a very brief asphalt stint before travelling back in time as you enter multi coloured mullock heaps and one of the few horizontal mines in the district. You really should disconnect the computer and explore this fascinating relic of yesteryear.

Just after the mine you start climbing in rocky terrain on singletrack that takes you to the Poverty Gully Water Race. You get some insight into our colloquial term ‘digger’ when you see the rocks that men of yes- teryear dug through to construct these water channels.

After the water race, a rough track takes you to the flanks of a prominent hill called ‘The Monk’ and a lovely singletrack then takes you down to Dingo Park Road and into our next goldfield experience at Eureka Reef. A signed two kilometre singletrack takes you past a series of gold era ruins: mine shafts, building remains and mullock heaps.

After Eureka Reef we include a short scramble from a dead-end track down to the final section of water race. You can avoid this if you wish by continuing further along Dingo Park Road and joining the water raceat the sign.

This last section of water race is beguiling. It starts with a gentle roll downhill and at times the track is less than handlebar width with some occasional rock and tree obstacles. With a bit of practice you can ride this reasonably quickly and it is a real buzz! Two tips to make it flow: 1) Look well ahead at where you want to go, not where you fear going and 2) Ride a slightly bigger gear than usual; this really helps your balance.

The ride ends with a downhill gallop on the bitumen.

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 information centre. A cycle-friendly café is the Theatre Royal, next door to bike shop, in Har- graves Street just to the left of the roundabout.

Side Trip

There is more than enough to explore on the ride. Pick up a leaflet about Eureka Reef from the information centre before you start, and allow plenty of time to explore.

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Leave car park and turn left onto Forest Rd, then turn right at the roundabout.
  • 0.3 Turn left at Greenhill Ave.
  • 0.6 Keep left on Greenhill Place then turn right uphill as the path narrows and passes close to houses.
  • 0.9 Continue uphill on Vincent St.
  • 1.3 Turn right onto Ross Dr then turn left onto the track beside the railway. There is usually one small boggy spot and a section of ballast rock but the rest is pretty smooth and fast.
  • 2.5 Cross the road and keep going.
  • 3.3 Cross the road.
  • 4.2 Turn right onto a short section of sealed road, and pass under the beautiful historic brick bridge.
  • 4.5 Turn right at the Goldfields Track sign at Henry St.
  • 4.8 Turn left onto the track at the next Goldfields Track sign and head uphill.
  • 5.0 Disconnect your computer and explore. A short distance to your left is the entrance to a horizontal
  • mineshaft. Reconnect computer before continuing the ride by following the Goldfields Track sign.
  • 5.2 Leave the signed trail and turn left uphill on the narrow track. This is a good little climb with some rock.
  • 5.9 As you reach the water race, turn left away from the sign. The track narrows and has a couple of technical sections.
  • 6.5 Cross the water race on the log bridge then veer right uphill.
  • 6.8 Turn right onto Jacobs Track.
  • 6.9 Turn right at the sign ‘To The Monk’.
  • 7.1 Turn right at the sign and go downhill.
  • 7.4 Follow the sign, then veer right and enjoy a nice singletrack descent.
  • 8.0 At the bottom, turn left onto Dingo Park Rd. The water race is to your right, and ahead. Pass Poverty Gully Reservoir Track.
  • 8.5 Turn right at the Eureka Reef sign.
  • 8.6 Just before the building foundations, turn left onto the singletrack. There is a small post that marks the start of 2km loop around the remains of buildings and mineshafts from the gold rush era. If you meet a walker on this trail, please stop and give way.
  • 10.1 Just past sign number 20, turn right and follow the directional arrow.
  • 10.3 Turn right and exit the way you came, turn left onto Dingo Park Rd, then at the Poverty Gully Reservoir Track sign veer left onto the track closest to Dingo Park Rd. (Alternatively you can continue on Dingo Park Rd and turn left onto the water race at the sign).
  • 10.7 Just before the track ends, walk down to the water race and continue riding along it in the same direction.
  • 13.8 Keep going straight ahead. There is a rocky section then veer left and follow the water race. If you prefer, you can use the adjacent road to avoid the rocks, then rejoin the track.
  • 14.4 Keep going straight ahead.
  • 15.0 Leave the water race and turn right onto the sealed road.
  • 15.4 At the T-intersection, turn left then right at the next, and left at the roundabout.
  • 16.7 Finish at the car park.
  • Trail map

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    Back

    16.076 km / 9.989 mi

    Total Distance

    458 m / 1,501 ft

    Total Ascent

    441 m / 1,447 ft

    Total Descent

    436 m / 1,432 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: High
    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: 16.3
    Elevation Gain: 324
    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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