Cycle Victoria, Road Ride, Daylesford to Hepburn Springs
Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are renowned for fine living with great food, wonderful local produce, extensive accommodation options, spas and mineral springs. It all goes back to the discovery of gold and the influx of adventurers from all corners of the world. They left behind beautiful and sometimes grand architecture as the foundations for a stunning tourist destination, including the impressive Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse dating from 1895, the mid point of this ride. Oh ... and just so you know, it’s all on one big hill.
Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are smack bang in the middle of the Great Dividing Range. One is at the top of the range and one at the bottom. The road has a shoulder, it’s straight and in parts there is a parallel bike path.
Daylesford can be busy at any time of the week or year, but this road is pretty safe, largely because it is straight. There is a shoulder and speed limits apply all the way.
Daylesford is 113 kilometres north west of Melbourne on the Western Freeway turning off at Ballan onto the Ballan Daylesford Road (C141) that turns into Vincent Street as you come up the hill into town. The start of the ride is in the car park beside the visitor information office behind the public toilets, just before the roundabout. VicRoads Map 582 E10.
Food and Drink
Where do you start and where do you stop! There is no end of choices in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs is fantastic too.
If you love big hills and great countryside you could head off to the left in Hepburn Springs on the Hepburn Newstead Road (C285) out to Newstead. Then back along the Creswick Newstead Road (C283), turning right at the Kooroocheang Swamp Road-Kooroocheang Blampied Road through to Blampied. Then turn right onto the Midland Highway back up and down and up to Daylesford. It’s a long haul through great country.
The ride commences in the centre of Daylesford. Its modern history started with the gold rush when failed gold miners uncovered abundant mineral springs. All the rage, at the turn of the 19th century, the waters and the spas built above them attracted patrons seeking the health rejuvenating experience that included beautiful bushland, lakes and some respite from the heat in summer. Money was no matter, for those who had done well were quite happy to invest in the community’s infrastructure that we still enjoy today.
Whilst Daylesford’s tourist industry continued on through the 20th century, it was the rich soil and forestry that kept the town going with some of the labour coming from people whose cultural roots were from northern Italy. This heritage is now apparent in the delicious produce, including wine that comes from this area. Farm and commerce buildings around Yandoit, Franklinford, Clunes and Creswick display this well as does the Old Macaroni Factory in Hepburn Springs. The last 20 years has seen the rejuvenation of the district with many people from Melbourne buying weekenders, investing in local business or actually moving in.
Apart from the restaurants and cafes, you may also wish to visit the Convent Gallery up on the side of the hill to see work by artists showcasing fine art, sculpture, ceramics and glass. Hepburn Springs shares this same history, although it does seem a little less hectic. The Hepburn Regional Park, the destination of this ride, contains natural mineral springs and relics of the gold mining era set in bush surroundings. Fill your bottles up with an interesting range of mineral waters.
Some are far more palatable than others. The Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa by contrast with this natural setting, is ‘tres chic’ after a $13 million refit just over two years ago. You can bathe in communal relaxation and spa pools, or choose a private mineral bath. It would be a great reward for your effort … after you’ve got back to Daylesford.
- 0.0 The ride starts at the visitor information centre car park in Vincent St. Leave the car park and turn left and cross over the Central Springs Rd roundabout and continue down through the busy shopping area.
- 0.3 Cross over the Midland Hwy (Albert St) roundabout and continue ahead. There is a cycle lane that you can use which becomes a path not too much further down the road.
- 4.0 Passing through Hepburn Springs you will pass the turn off to Sheppards Flat and Newstead.
- 4.4 Turn right into the Hepburn Springs Reserve car park and continue ahead past the Spa Complex.
- 4.7 The downward journey finishes in the reserve car park. Having rested it’s time to retrace your path back up the hill to Daylesford. Remember to rejoin the shared path on the right, as this will make your climb unhindered by traffic.
- 9.7 You return to the visitor information car park, probably in need of a good drink.
9.742 km / 6.054 mi
176 m / 579 ft
174 m / 571 ft
587 m / 1,927 ft