Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Myrtle Gully
Some rides have the feel of an epic, for their demands upon skills or endurance. This ride is an epic, emotionally. It has the kind of beauty that can bring a lump to your throat as you travel within pristine rainforest. Giant beech myrtle trees surround you with a complex understory featuring ferns and mosses, a myriad of plants competing for light and space. Perfect in the summer but please avoid when wet. Frequent snow falls here in winter.
This captivating place has high conservation values – please ride with respect for the environment and other users, particularly pedestrians. It’s not the place to ride in a large group or if your interest is speed and flair.
Starting this ride, your surroundings are dominated by tall mountain ash; the car park clearing serves to accentuate their beauty. Soon, you commence a long, gentle descent to Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk. Real magic begins as you find yourself in remnant rainforest, a powerful reminder of what it was like before generations of logging. Upon reaching Wirrawilla boardwalk, leave your bike to explore this extraordinary place on foot. Please don’t ride on the boardwalk; it’s for pedestrian and wheelchair access only.
The boardwalk threads through a sheltered, damp understorey, rich with mosses and ferns (including the world’s tallest moss -Dawsonia superba), beneath majestic myrtle beech. With the gurgling Sylvia Creek as a backdrop, you may spot a resident lyrebird amid the lush undergrowth.
After returning from Wirrawilla boardwalk on foot, your ride continues on Quarry Road. This is closed to traffic, partially overgrown, and rises gently to Monda Road. Rainforest beauty continues along Tanglefoot Track. This has some harder sections as the track traverses a series of gullies before you wend your way along Myrtle Gully Track once more towards the car park, to complete this epic journey into sensory overload.
NB about terrain: These tracks were overgrown for many years until a major maintenance program in April 2012. They were traditionally walking tracks with mountain bike use beginning in the 1980s. Due to extremely limited resources available, the Department of Sustainability and Environment is not usually able to provide regular maintenance.
You can always expect some tree litter after storms. If you do encounter this, spend a few minutes clearing the trail; report any major problems to the local DSE office. This is definitely dry-weather-only riding as the formed earth trails can be very slippery and easily damaged in the wet. You are close to the highest part in the mountains surrounding Melbourne so warm weather gear is advisable if there is a chance of cool weather. I rode this in April and it had been snowing a couple of days earlier.
The start of this ride is in Toolangi State Forest, about 60 kilometres north-east of Melbourne (Melway X910 R11). Take the Maroondah Highway to Healesville then Myers Creek Road towards Toolangi. Go past Monda Road on your right then turn right onto Sylvia Creek Road. Take care as logging trucks use this road frequently. Continue for about 10 kilometres then shortly after passing Blowhard Road on your left, park at Mount Tanglefoot car park.
Food and Drink
The gurgling mountain streams you encounter provide beautiful drinking water. No provisions available nearby as you are in a state forest.
The nearby Murrindindi Scenic Reserve is a very beautiful place to camp for a few days and explore. Access to campsites is based on availability and early arrival is advised during popular periods. Modest fees are payable at the self-serve permit box at the Suspension Bridge campground. For a post-ride treat, call in at Toolangi Tavern.
16.184 km / 10.056 mi
690 m / 2,265 ft
944 m / 3,098 ft