The hill climb in this ride makes it one of the more difficult rides but you will be rewarded with stunning views of and from the world famous Mt. Arapiles, see and mingle with the international climbers and of course enjoy the riding. At the time of writing, funding had just been received to establish a rail-trail from Horsham out to Natimuk. This will give cyclists further opportunities to explore this area. Autumn to spring would be a good time to do this ride.
The ride is on sealed country roads except for the track to the lookout on Mt. Arapiles.
Apart from some trucking along the Wimmera Highway, the roads are normally very quiet.
Natimuk is 25 kilometers west of Horsham on the Wimmera Highway. The ride starts at the car park opposite Sisson Street. VicRoads Map 543: R11.
Food and Drink
Natimuk is a small country town, but because its services the world-famous climbing at Mt Arapiles there are cafes, accommodation and of course the ubiquitous pub. A new cafe is being opened by a member of the local cycling fraternity who regularly uses the mountain for hill climbing. Make sure you stock up on food before leaving as there are no other shops on this ride. Please make sure you have adequate water supplies with you too.
The ride starts in the center of the Natimuk township close to the local shops. There is a nice park and picnic area here by the creek. Head off in a westerly direction along the Wimmera Highway and you will see the imposing Mt Arapiles rising up ahead of you as you pass through pasture and grazing land. You will turn right at the Centenary Park Road and then left to commence the climb up the small road to the top of the mountain.
The summit of 369 metres may look daunting, but is a regular ride for the locals, who seek out a bit of uphill exercise. Watch out along the way as there are a number of walking tracks off both sides of the road. Take a break to check out the abundant flora and fauna on the mountain. After resting at the summit enjoying the sweeping views, make your descent down the mountain road. Take caution on the corners and keep an eye out for other cyclists or cars coming up the mountain.
Part way down turn left onto the track signed to the Bluff Picnic area that will take you to the lookout. This road is not sealed but OK if you can avoid the potholes. There are fantastic views over Mitre Lake and the wide horizons of the Wimmera district. Continue downwards until you reach the bottom and turn left onto Centenary Park Road. You may want to stop at the camping ground and watch the climbers crawling over the rock faces.
After you turn into Natimuk Frances Road you will climb through the pass between Mt. Arapiles and Mitre Rock where you may wish to stop for a walk. Eventually you will come to the interestingly named hamlet of Mitre, turning left into the Tooan-Mitre Road. Along this road you will glimpse small lakes and wheat and sheep farming. This is what the Wimmera area is known for. At Jaka Lake you turn left back onto the Wimmera Highway passing again beside Mount Arapiles and back to Natimuk.
- 0.0 Start the ride in the car park next to the toilets opposite Sisson St heading southeast on the Wimmera Hwy.
- 8.6 Turn right into Centenary Park Rd and immediately left onto Summit Rd.
- 13.0 Puff, puff … you’re at the summit.
- 13.9 Returning down the climb, turn left to The Bluff picnic ground lookout for some great views.
- 18.4 Continuing down the mountain, turn left into Centenary Park Dr heading past the camping ground and some good views of the climbers.
- 21.9 Turn left into Natimuk Frances Rd.
- 28.6 After passing through Mitre, turn left onto the Tooan Mitre Rd.
- 38.5 Have a short stop to look at the salt lakes and then turn left onto the Wimmera Hwy, a bit of a steady climb and then straight through to Natimuk.
- 53.0 End of ride.
53.174 km / 33.041 mi
323 m / 1,058 ft
323 m / 1,058 ft
350 m / 1,149 ft