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.

Access

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.

Side Trip

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.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Ride from the car park to the Myrtle Gully Track sign and continue.
  • 1.0 Turn left at the track sign and continue towards Mt St Leonard.
  • 1.1 Keep right on Myrtle Gully Track.
  • 4.6 Stop at the Wirrawilla boardwalk. Leave the bike and enjoy the short walk through the rainforest. Please do not ride on the boardwalk as it is not appropriate. It is also extremely slippery and designed for pedestrian access to the spectacular rainforest. After the boardwalk, to continue your ride, follow the sign to Quarry Rd.
  • 4.7 Turn left onto Quarry Rd.
  • 8.6 Continue past the gate then turn left at Monda Rd.
  • 8.8 Turn left at Tangelfoot Track.
  • 12.6 Keep going on Tanglefoot Track (Quarry Rd is to your left).
  • 13.5 Veer right.
  • 16.3 At the Tanglefoot Track junction, keep going straight ahead on Myrtle Gully Track then follow the sign to the car park.
  • 17.4 Finish.
  • Trail map

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    16.184 km / 10.056 mi

    Total Distance

    910 m / 2,987 ft

    Total Ascent

    703 m / 2,307 ft

    Total Descent

    944 m / 3,098 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: flow
    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: 16.8
    Elevation Gain: 764
    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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