Cycle Victoria, Road Ride, Stieglitz Ride
Steiglitz is figuratively a million miles from Meredith, where this ride starts, although the histories of both towns go back to the gold rush and the movement of miners between Geelong and the goldfields. Meredith is a bustling little town on the Geelong/Ballarat road and has its own renowned music festival. Steiglitz is locked away in the rugged hills of the Brisbane Ranges, a relic of what once was a centre of gold fever. This ride takes you from one to the other and back again over some fairly hilly terrain.
This is very hilly country. The route is all on sealed roads. Roadside gravel and rock fall on some descents make them dangerous, so ride with control out from the edge.
The roads are all fairly narrow and with some hidden corners, even light traffic can be hazardous. Ride single file in the more twisting sections. There is also a quarry on route that you will need to be aware of.
Start this ride from the general store in Meredith, which is approximately half way between Ballarat and Geelong on the Midland Highway (A300). VicRoads Map: 522 H9. The store is on the corner of the highway and Straughton Street. As parking is limited, park around the corner in Straughton Street.
Food and Drink
Meredith has its general store and two pubs. There is also the Peppercorn Place Café, open from 10am in Steiglitz. Toilets are available at the Bert Boardman Recreation Area. Bring your own water.
If you’re up to it you could detour to Maud, turning right at the Steiglitz Road T-intersection, although there’s not much there. If you’ve got a dirt bike, you could go up the Durdidwarrah Road in Steiglitz to the Pines lookout and Fridays Picnic Area.
The ride commences in the farming lands of Meredith. The town grew supporting the thousands of miners on route to Buninyong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Steiglitz. Its claim to fame these days is the annual Meredith Music Festival, held in December. It started in 1991 as an inspired end of the year party for 200 friends of friends celebrating live music surrounded by blissful countryside. Leaving the town in front of the general store, it’s not long before you are in the Brisbane Ranges - where nothing is flat.
The first major incline is over the Moorabool River. This section can be quite dangerous coming from either direction, as there is loose gravel and sometimes rock fall on the side of the road. Take great care. There is a small clearing at the bottom where you can dip your toes in the stream before climbing out of the gorge. Not long after you turn down the Sheoak Steiglitz road, you’re on a downhill roller coaster taking you to the edge of the ranges and views across the plains. This is a fairly pleasant experience, but is just the downward side of the return to the ranges that lies ahead.
This point is at the T-intersection that starts with another steep downhill before a long climb up. The end of this effort will take you almost into Steiglitz. Coming down a small hill into Steiglitz, the first point of interest is the old cemetery on the left. It is worth a visit if you’re interested in history. Further along there is the Bert Boardman Recreation Area on the left where you will find picnic areas and toilets. Steiglitz is almost a ghost town today, but in its heyday there were hotels, shops, churches and a population over 1500. What remains and its surroundings are now included in Steiglitz Historic Park.
There are now a few churches, houses and the courthouse, which stands on the side of the hill looking out over Sutherlands Creek to where the Gibraltar Mine once existed. There are plenty of well marked bushwalks in this area including a three day expedition if you’re thinking of coming back some other time. It’s another climb out of town before you hit the Moorabool again heading home, completing a challenging but great ride.
- 0.0 The ride leaves the front of the general store and turns immediately left onto Straughton St East.
- 4.4 You will crest the first main hill and start descending steeply down to the Moorabool River gorge. Take care.
- 5.5 You have reached the bottom at Coopers Bridge. Pull into the clearing on the right if you want a closer look at the river gorge. Climbing up the other side it’s not so risky to ride on the shoulder.
- 7.1 You have reached the end of the hardest section of climbing, although you are still about 400 metres from the top.
- 7.8 Turn right onto the Steiglitz Sheoak Rd and some downhill relief.
- 8.9 The forest clears on the right and you can see out across the plains.
- 10.3 You are at the edge of the ranges and on a clear day you can see the Barrabool Hills near Geelong.
- 11.7 You will pass the turnoff to the Midland Hwy. On the right you can see down into the steep gorges that cut all across this country.
- 13.3 The road crests around the edge of the range and heads down into another gorge.
- 16.2 There is a quarry on the right, which means that there is infrequent heavy vehicle traffic around here.
- 17.1 This is the Steiglitz Rd T-intersection. Turn left for a steep descent, or if you want to detour via Maud, go right.
- 18.1 Pass over the Sutherland Creek bridge and begin climbing.
- 20.4 Finally the road levels off for a little bit.
- 21.7 This time it really levels out. 22.9 Coming toward Steiglitz, you are passing by the old Steiglitz cemetery.
- 23.0 You are passing the turn off to Anakie on the right.
- 23.8 This is the highest point at this end of the ride with the historic park on left as you come into Steiglitz.
- 24.0 The Bert Boardman Recreation Area is on the left.
- 24.3 You are passing the Peppercorn Place Café, which has the monopoly for refreshments in these parts.
- 24.5 There is information about the area in the car park next to the courthouse.
- 24.6 Turn right into Plough St for a detour around the remnants of the town.
- 24.8 Turn right again up Regent St returning up the hill, doing a complete circuit.
- 25.1 You have come back to the main road where you turn right to continue the ride.
- 25.7 Cross over the Sutherland River and commence the climb out of town.
- 27.7 You will pass the Sheoaks Rd where you first turned off.
- 28.5 This is the crest before the descent down to the Moorabool River. Once again take great care with gravel and rock fall on the side of the road.
- 30.1 You cross over the bridge and up that very steep climb.
- 31.1 You have done the hard work coming over the top.
- 33.5 This is the last major hill before you arrive back in Meredith.
- 35.6 Turn right onto the Midland Hwy and you’re home. Pheew!
35.711 km / 22.19 mi
544 m / 1,786 ft
544 m / 1,785 ft
342 m / 1,123 ft