This ride epitomizes the Sunraysia district which is dominated by the Murray River and the agriculture that is dependant on it. The loop follows the Murray from Mildura to Merbein passing by the mysterious Ranfurly Lake. From Merbein the ride returns to Mildura through citrus, olive and vine groves and depending on the season you will see the landscape in various states of productivity. Although summer is hot, the rest of the year is a nice escape, with good weather usually guaranteed to greet the visitor.
Country roads with bike lanes for most of the way. The road to Lake Ranfurly and the numerous dirt tracks to Murray River are not surfaced.
Generally quiet even on the Calder Highway section between Merbein and Mildura. The last section down Sturt Highway is busy, but there is a good bike lane.
Mildura is 546 kilometers northwest of Melbourne on the Calder Highway. The Tourist Information Centre is on the corner of the Sturt Highway (Deakin Ave) and Twelfth Street in front of the swimming pool. VicRoads Map 535:P6.
Food and Drink
There is a café at the Tourist Information Centre and numerous shops in Merbein.
If you wish to get closer to the lakes you can head down Gibbs Street off Ranfurly Way.
Leaving the Tourist Information Centre you come onto the main drag of Mildura; the Sturt Highway with its broad and verdant median strip. Heading away from the town center down Eleventh Street, you pass through the wide suburban streets coming suddenly on the Murray River on the right and spooky Lake Renfurly, an intriguing barren salt lake on the left. Both of these places are worth exploring if your bike is up for gravel and in the case of the tracks beside the Murray, twists and turns.
Passing by the lake and the surrounding forested area, you enter the outskirts of the satellite township of Merbein, rising up ‘Pump Hill’, the only climb in this ride. On the right, you can see the Merbein Pumping Station that supplies Merbein with its water that gives the hill its name. Local riders, who are not used to gradients, have another meaning for Pump Hill.
The Merbein Rotary Lookout sits at the top of the white cliffs, which are a unique geological feature and the district’s highest point. The tower is accessed off McEdwards Street through Merbein Common that runs behind Merbein Oval. From the tower, you can see Victoria’s first government irrigation pumps, and the distillery/winery that was established in 1913. A sandstone walk takes you down to the Chaffey landing. After exploring the area, head on into the town for some refreshments. Leaving Merbein, you turn left onto the end of the Calder Highway, passing beside the busy railway yards and out into the orchard country.
Here you will find vines, olives, and citrus. On the left, you can glimpse Lake Hawthorn, which connects to Lake Renfurly by a small channel that the railway passes across. Along this part of the road, you will pass the Snakes N Ladders Dunny Farm, which has a kiosk. The theme park seems to have seen better days. On offer were free undercover barbeques, a ‘dunny’ display, mini golf, a playground, and a vineyard tour. It is not long before you again meet the Sturt Highway and turn back toward Mildura and the end of the ride.
- 0.0 The ride leaves the car park at the tourist information center in Twelfth St.
- 0.1 Turn right into Twelfth St.
- 0.2 Then right again over the Sturt Hwy intersection.
- 0.5 Turn left at the Eleventh St (Ranfurly Way) intersection.
- 1.1 Cross through the Walnut Ave roundabout.
- 1.8 Cross through the Ontario Ave roundabout.
- 3.6 Turn left continuing on Ranfurly Way.
- 4.9 The road curves to the right and you will see Lake Ranfurly off to the left and the bushland on the bank of the Murray on your right.
- 8.0 If you want to ride down to the lake turn right into Gibbs St and then right again into Metford St; about 6kms return.
- 9.0 The road kicks up Pump Hill before crossing Mc Edwards St, where you come into the outskirts of Merbein. From the park on the right, you can access the river where there is a lookout.
- 9.9 The road bends around to the left becoming Commercial St. There is a short section here with no bike path.
- 10.4 The road comes into the shopping center of the town where there are plenty of shops.
- 11.2 Leaving the shopping center turn left into Main Ave (Calder Hwy) for the trip back to Mildura.
- 14.3 Turn left at Birdwoodton, following the Calder Hwy as it crosses River Ave.
- 16.4 Follow the Calder Hwy to the right into Cabarita with Lake Hawthorn on the left.
- 20.9 Turn left into Deakin Ave (Sturt Hwy).
- 22.4 Cross Sixteenth St.
- 23.8 Cross Fifteenth St.
- 25.2 Cross Fourteenth St.
- 26.1 Turn right at Twelfth St.
- 26.2 Return to the tourist information car park and the end of the ride.
26.366 km / 16.383 mi
49 m / 160 ft
48 m / 156 ft
63 m / 206 ft