Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Spring Gully
This is a popular ride from my previous publication, with changes made to the early parts of the journey. There are great slabs of singletrack including long stretches perched on top of the water race bank where the width of track is often just a little wider than your tyres. Other sections of singletrack are less daunting and along the way you will find plenty of places to come back to play in.
If you feel apprehensive about the technical water race riding you can easily bail out and use Dingo Park Road that is adjacent. Because the ride has so much to offer, we like to encourage as many riders as possible to give it a go. The road option or a little walking makes this achievable if your technical skills are limited.
There are fast sections of double track that feel like singletrack as you pick a line. You pass through some significant building ruins from the gold rush era as you ride in Spring Gully. These once housed giant machinery to crush the hard quartz rock in search of gold.
Please respect these ruins by not riding on them or the surrounding rubble heaps as they are important relics of our past.
Just after Fryerstown you ride over exposed bedrock, once part of an ancient sea bed. On a sunny day the glowing colours here are very beautiful and you feel as if you are riding on gold.
To your left just before 16km you will see a deep gully with a singletrack running through it. This is fun to explore and play in, depending on your technical skill ability. Shortly after this comes the challenge of the day as you negotiate the extremely narrow track on top of the water race wall. Like all good rides, this one ends with a relaxing downhill run.
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 bike shop, in Hargraves Street just to the left of the roundabout.
After exploring the historic town of Castlemaine, you will probably want to spend some time exploring the Spring Gully mine ruins, but please do not ride on them.
0.0 Leave information centre car park and turn left onto Forest St then turn right at the roundabout.
0.3 Turn left onto Greenhill Ave then keep going on Greenhill Place.
0.8 Turn right up the narrow path at the end of Greenhill Place, passing in front of houses.
0.9 Continue uphill on Vincent St.
1.3 Turn right onto Ross Dr then immediately left onto the dirt track beside the railway line and continue.
3.1 As the track meets a sealed road, turn right. This is Eureka St. The name changes further along to Dingo Park Rd.
3.7 Just past the ‘41’ sign turn left onto the double track.
4.4 At the bottom of a small descent, turn right onto the double track.
4.7 Just before the ‘Goldfields Track’ sign turn right up a narrow rocky track defined by a stone border. This is a solid climb.
5.0 At the top of the climb, turn right. (There is an interesting mineshaft a short distance to the left). About 50m after turning, go left at the next sign, away from the directional arrow and ride along the narrow track on top of the water race wall.
5.7 Cross over the water race on the log and ride uphill.
5.9 Turn right onto the unsigned Jacobs Track and then go past the sign ‘To the Monk’.
6.3 Turn left at the Goldfields Track sign, then keep following the signs.
8.0 Turn right onto Hoopers Rd then continue on Old Coach Rd.
8.3 Turn left at the Spring Gully sign.
8.6 Cross the small creek then continue uphill following the sign.
8.9 Go through the gate and continue to your right. Spring Gully mine area is a short distance ahead. Please avoid riding on the ruins or rubble heaps.
9.4 Cross the fence at the stile and continue.
10.8 Keep going on the stone road. Take care on this downhill section as traction is poor on the loose stones.
11.5 Veer right onto the sealed road at Fryerstown then cross the bridge.
11.8 Turn right at the Goldfields Track sign then veer left at the next sign.
12.1 Turn left at the next sign.
12.3 At the next sign, turn right and follow the singletrack beside the road.
13.0 Veer right at the sign.
13.3 Cross the steep gully and continue. (At the time
of writing the bridge had been destroyed by recent floods).
13.5 Turn right onto the sealed Campbells Creek-Fryerstown Rd, leaving the Goldfields Track.
15.2 After passing Breakneck Hill Rd on your left, turn right onto Breakneck Track at the top of the hill.
15.5 Keep right at the junction.
15.9 Keep left.
16.7 Just before the dam, turn left then right at the next track after the dam and continue uphill. There are old mines here.
17.5 Turn right.
17.7 Keep going straight ahead at the track junction.
18.0 Cross Dingo Park Rd and continue beside the water race track almost directly opposite. If this track is too challenging continue on Dingo Park Rd and rejoin the ride at Arthurs Track.
18.7 Cross over Telecom Track and continue.
20.9 Turn left at Arthurs Track.
21.7 Turn right at Morris Track and approach the hill ahead.
22.2 Just after the bottom of the hill turn left onto the singletrack.
23.0 At the end of the singletrack turn right onto the gravel road.
23.2 Turn right onto Morris Track.
23.8 Turn left onto singletrack alongside the fenceline. There is an old concrete telecom post to your left.
24.5 Veer left and pass the house then veer right a short distance later and follow the track beside the fenceline. There is a large steel farm shed behind you.
25.1 Keep right and pass the dam on your left, then go left again at next intersection.
25.5 Turn right at the intersection and head uphill.
25.8 Cross Poverty Gully Reservoir Rd and then turn left at Water Race Track.
26.4 Turn right at the sign and head downhill.
26.6 Turn right onto Wheeler St and keep going downhill, then turn left at the roundabout.
28.0 Finish at information centre car park.