Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Barlidjaru Trail
In contrast to most rides around Forrest, this one is a journey with a destination, Lake Elizabeth car park and picnic grounds – and what a beautiful journey it is! The trail is for one-way traffic, and you have a couple of options for returning. Red Carpet is one option, but it is quite a bit more technical than Barlidjaru. If you do not have the required technical skills, you can either organise a car pickup, or ride back to Forrest along the unsealed road from Lake Elizabeth car park (around 10 minute drive).
Barlidjaru ride begins at the Forrest Trailhead. Crossing the main road, follow the signs for trail number 1 (Forrest Loop), which shares this first section of track. After about 1.2km you continue along Barlidjaru (trail number 2) while the loop trail veers to the left. There is climbing through most of the ride and long sections of nontechnical riding under a glorious canopy of tall trees, with ferns brushing your arms on either side of narrow track. The trail surface is mainly smooth, compacted stone. Early in the ride, you pass close by West Barwon Reservoir. This is another great spot to return to for a picnic.
If you want a mountain bike experience that makes you feel part of nature, this one is hard to beat. There is a feeling of isolation despite Kaanglang Road being close by. This is a ride which gives you all the great experiences of mountain biking; traffic free, a glorious environment, and accessible to riders with limited technical skills. Lock your bike in the picnic area if you want to get to Lake Elizabeth, as the last section needs to be walked (approx 20-30 minutes walk). The lake is home for many species, including Platypus, for which ‘Barlidjaru’ is the indigenous name.
The ride starts at the Forrest Trailhead, a short distance past the Brewery on Forrest-Birregurra Road (the main road through Forrest) on the southern outskirts of town.
You can get coffee, breakfast, lunch, a range of snacks, gourmet meats and cheeses and icecream from the Forrest General Store in the main street between 8am - 5pm everyday. Playpi Chocolate, situated across the road from the Forrest trailhead, is the place to try a hot chocolate, fabulous coffee, a tasty cafe style lunch or jump straight into a delicious dessert or chocolate open 10am -5pm daily. For dinner check out the The Forrest Brewery in the main st for great beer and informal , locally sourced food paired with their craft beer, local wines and freshly roasted coffee, open Sunday- Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am-9pm and Friday- Saturday 9am- 10pm. The Terminus Hotel in Station Street for a good pub feed and friendly atmosphere, open daily for lunch and dinner. Grocery shopping in the town of Forrest is limited so it pays to stock up before you come. The Forrest general store has a range of essentials but for super-
market shopping stop at Colac or Winchelsea on the way.
Plenty of rider friendly accommodation right in Forrest catering for campers, families, singles and groups. Check out Airb&b or Stayz. Camping available at The Wonly Stables Caravan Park.
Visit Forrest Hire Bikes in the main street next to The General Store for maps of the trail network, along with information on local tourist attractions.
Suggested side trips include:
* Join a Paddle with the Platypus tour with Otway Eco Tours at Lake Elizabeth
• Drive down to the coast to Apollo Bay
• Ride or drive to Lake Elizabeth car park, then enjoy
a 20-30 minute walk down to the lake
• Try the local beers at the brewery
• Check out West Barwon Reservoir
* Tree Tops Adventure
* Stevensons Falls located at the end of a gravel rd approx 6km from Barramunga which is about 15 minutes drive from Forrest towards the coast.
• Great road cycling opportunities. The annual Amy’s Gran Fondo ride travels through this area.
6.594 km / 4.097 mi
258 m / 845 ft
225 m / 740 ft
328 m / 1,077 ft