Colac is a town many drive through and maybe only stop in to have a cuppa. Most people miss the lake and the proud tall trees of the botanic gardens that vegetate its southern shores. The lake is wide and the horizon wider with the Alvie and Warrion Hills in the distance. This ride circumnavigates the lake and also takes in the sweet little town of Beeac and its lake. The rock-strewn pastures on the western shores are reminiscent of the boggy dry wall farms of Ireland.
The riding is mostly on flat-surfaced roads. There is a small section down an old deteriorating road. At the end the ride is on a shared footpath.
Traffic may be of some concern along the Colac Ballarat Road. Otherwise it’s urban back streets, near empty country roads or bike lanes.
Colac is 152 kilometers from Melbourne via Geelong on the Princes Highway (A1). Coming into the Colac turn right at Queens Street after crossing over the creek. At the T-intersection at the botanic gardens turn right and follow the road around the gardens until you come to the car park on the side of the lake. VicRoads Map: 520 F2.
Food and Drink
There are a number of cafes and shops in Colac. Closer to the lake there is the Botanic Café, which you could visit on your return. Not forgetting Beeac, there is a store and an interesting café come bric-a-brac shop leaving the town as you turn onto the Coragulac Beeac Road.
A shorter version of this ride cuts out Beeac with a left turn at the Ondit Warrion Road off the Colac Ballarat Road. There is a much longer ‘Lakes’ ride if you continue on to Cressy and around Lake Corangamite, to Camperdown and Colac.
The Lake foreshore car park is not a bad place to start a ride, but it may be hard to get going, as it’s just as easy to stare out over the lake. Getting out of Colac requires some back street work and you have to pass by the local abattoirs. The small Horn of Africa community is part of its workforce and as you can see, they’re a long way from their roots. It’s not long before you’re out of town on the Ballarat Road as it sweeps down onto the plains. The views here across the lake as the sunsets are worth stopping for. Now you are right in dairy farming country beside the lake. This country changes season to season, from lush pasture often to a dustbowl at the end of summer.
Down the road, Beeac is a welcome sight and a welcoming town. The lavender-blue church is one of the first buildings to greet you and the remaining old buildings have a mellow comfortable feeling about them as you ride placidly past. On the other side of town, you turn west beside Lake Beeac whose shallow waters lap beside the road. It’s not long before you come into the drywall country. Volcanos once dominated this region.
You can see that clearly at such places as Red Rock and Mt Elephant where you will find the remnants of calderas that have been steadily worn down through the ages. These plains are literally awash with volcanic rock and the pioneer farmers from Ireland and England did what they did so well in the old country and turned them into magnificent and robust drywall fences. Most of them are still standing intact today. Even with all that work boulders cover much of the pasture land.
You wouldn’t be planting big crops around here. It’s a strangely beautiful place as the ride rolls through the small hills; old farmhouses; rocky pastures with ancient cypress pines scattered here and there; and the drywall fences to box it all together. Coming back into Colac you’re not on the highway for very long before you detour through the back streets that take you to the lakeside behind the gardens and back to the start.
- 0.0 The ride leaves from the boat launch car park, in front of the anglers club, behind the botanical gardens. It begins by following the route you came in on.
- 0.5 Turn left into Queen St.
- 0.7 Turn left into Chapel (Pollack) St.
- 2.1 At the T-intersection turn left onto Clark St and follow the road as it turns right beside the lake becoming Treatment Works Rd. Head up the hill and over the railway line.
- 3.8 Turn left into Marriner St.
- 3.9 Just before the intersection with the Princes Hwy you can either take the old road down the hill or turn onto the highway, which has a decent shoulder.
- 4.3 You come along side the highway for about 100m.
- 4.4 Turn left onto the Colac Ballarat Rd and continue on to Beeac.
- 5.8 Take care as the road sweeps down to cross the railway crossing. 18.8 You are riding into Beeac.
- 19.3 Turn left onto Coragulac Beeac Rd.
- 22.1 Follow the road ahead and to the left onto Cororooke Rd.
- 26.8 You are entering Warrion.
- 28.5 Turn left onto the Ondit Warrion Rd.
- 31.0 Turn right onto the Langs James Rd continuing along it until it turns to the right and becomes Ryans Ln.
- 38.0 Turn left at Russells Rd onto Factory Rd and then first right onto Sheehans Rd. This become Rossmoynes Rd and will take you to the Princes Hwy.
- 45.6 Turn left onto the highway.
- 47.0 Turn left at Ross St and then right at the T-intersection with Moore St.
- 48.1 At Armstrong St turn left and then almost immediately right onto Queens Ave.
- 49.0 When you arrive at Gellibrand St in front of the botanic gardens turn left and follow the road down the hill past the café onto the lake foreshore. Alternatively you could go through the gardens to arrive back to the start on the other side.
- 49.2 Following the shared pathway along the lake will take you back to where you started.
- 49.5 You’re back!
49.595 km / 30.817 mi
147 m / 481 ft
146 m / 480 ft
168 m / 553 ft