A non-technical, easily navigated loop incorporating fire tracks, narrow dirt tracks, and water channel pathway. Ideal for riders wanting to explore and have a solid workout without high technical challenges. Climbs, descents and plenty of flat fast sections make this a real hoot to share with friends. Expect to see kangaroos and black wallabies throughout the ride. Interesting historical sites and recent gold mine operations can be seen on your drive to the start.
A short section on the Goldfields Track is followed by some solid middle ring climbing to the 9.5km point. These climbs are like stairs, relatively brief followed by an easier section before the fire track climbs again. This makes for an easy way to gain considerable elevation. It will set you up for a long gentle descent on narrow dirt tracks through the beautiful bush. There is a real sense of serenity and isolation on these trails. After another short climb, you have a flat, fast 10.6km beside the Coliban aqueduct. The ride can be shortened by 10km if you turn left at 14.1km.
After the aqueduct, there is another gentle two-kilometer climb and a few more short hills. You finish with a three-kilometer descent and a short sealed section past some impressive properties.
By car: Start point is at Fryerstown around 14km southeast of Castlemaine, an easy one and a half hours or 120 kilometers northwest of Melbourne via the Calder Freeway. (Melway X909 D7) Take the Fryers Road turn off at Chewton, four kilometers before Castlemaine on the Pyrenees Highway and follow for 6.8km. Set your computer to zero at the corner of High and Castlemaine streets.
Food and Drink
You will need to bring all your supplies as there are no shops at the start or along the way. Limited options at Chewton. Castlemaine has all you need.
A short distance before the start, as you drive along Fryers Road, you pass the imposing Cornish Engine House ruins. In Castlemaine, call into the information center and pick up a wealth of information about things to do while in the region. The center is accessed from the car park in Forest Street, just after Hargraves Street.
- 0.0 Ride south on Vaughan-Chewton Rd and cross the bridge.
- 0.3 Turn right onto the gravel track signed with a Great Dividing Trail sign. This is now known as the Goldfields Track.
- 0.4 Veer left at the next signpost.
- 0.7 Veer left just behind the next signpost.
- 0.8 Turn right and follow the singletrack beside the road.
- 1.4 Veer left onto Vaughan-Chewton Rd, away from the trail sign on your right and continue straight ahead.
- 2.5 Turn left onto Irishtown Track and keep going passing Devils, Smutters and Damper tracks.
- 9.5 Turn right at Fryers Ranges Rd, then immediately left onto Wattle Track.
- 10.1 At Bottom Track intersection, keep going on Wattle Track.
- 10.7 Turn left onto Lower Kangaroo Track.
- 12.3 Continue straight ahead past Upper Kangaroo Track and the next track on your right.
- 13.3 At the crossroads turn right onto Deardons Creek Track.
- 14.1 Forty meters before Coliban Main Channel, turn right onto Kemps Track. At this point, you have an option to shorten the ride by 10km. To do this, go past Kemp Track and turn left onto the aqueduct then follow directions from the 24.5km mark.
- 15.6 Turn left down Val’s Track.
- 16.0 At the T-intersection, turn right onto Old Drummond Rd.
- 16.7 Turn left onto Bollard Track then keep going.
- 17.2 Keep right at the three-way intersection.
- 18.0 Turn left onto Humbolt Track.
- 20.7 At the end of Humbolt turn right onto Old Drummond Rd, then cross the bridge and turn left onto Coliban water channel.
- 23.0 Cross over the channel (Kemps Track is on your left).
- 26.5 Cross the fence at the stile then turn left onto Fryers Taradale Rd, then immediately right onto the aqueduct trail signed ‘B’ with an arrow.
- 26.8 At the T-intersection, turn right then immediately right again at the Y-intersection, cross the gate and continue on the aqueduct trail following the ‘B’ arrow.
- 28.8 Cross the stile and turn left onto the dirt road then shortly after turn right onto Saltwater Track.
- 29.2 Turn left onto Bones Gully Track.
- 30.7 At the T-intersection, turn right onto Conns Track.
- 31.5 Turn left onto Fryers Range Rd, then keep right passing Old Coach Rd on your left.
- 31.9 Keep left on Fryers Range Rd passing Old Coach Rd again.
- 33.2 Turn right onto the singletrack just before the crest of a hill for a short rocky descent.
- 33.5 Rejoin Fryers Range Rd and keep climbing.
- 34.9 Turn left at Fryers Ridge.
- 35.3 Turn right onto Sugarbag Track.
- 36.2 Keep going straight ahead.
- 38.7 At the end of Sugarbag Track, turn left at the T-intersection past houses. This is Fryers-Taradale Rd.
- 39.4 Turn left at the sealed road, cross the bridge and keep going past side roads.
- 40.7 Keep going past Vaughan-Chewton Rd.
- 41.0 Finish.
38.374 km / 23.845 mi
1,055 m / 3,460 ft
1,052 m / 3,450 ft
573 m / 1,881 ft