Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing Ride, Ferntree Gully Loop
The ride starts as a mountain bike ride in Dandenong Ranges National Park along access trails where tough climbs and exhilarating descents will get your blood pumping. After riding downhill through suburban Ferntree Gully you then have a more sedate ride on the trail along the Belgrave rail line to complete the loop. If you want a less energetic ride in the area just ride down the trail alongside the rail line where you can connect with other flatter trails From the car park in the Ferntree Gully picnic ground you don’t have long to warm up before turning right into Belview Terrace.
This is not a technical climb, just a long, steep gradient which will have you puffing and looking for a great granny gear. Maybe an occasional break to take in the views or even walk for a bit will help you enjoy the forest, even if you think you can go all the way. The grassy areas and dry eucalypt forest are pleasant to ride through and the views to the city and suburbs below bring home to you how far you’ve climbed in a short distance. All the tracks are clearly marked throughout the park but be aware that not all tracks are intended for cyclists and fines can be issued for using closed or walking trails.
As a general rule, cyclists are permitted to use roads and vehicle tracks including ‘Management Vehicles Only’ tracks unless they are otherwise closed to bicycles. Tracks are occasionally closed if they become eroded or dangerous or for occasional maintenance. If you fancy some more mountain climbing, you could veer further right to View Track at 2.7km, which eventually loops back via Macedon Track to meet up with Belview Track. You’d be rewarded with a fast downhill back to the starting point if you chose this option but it’s almost too steep to ride up View Track.
After the ups and downs of the national park tracks the rest of the ride is a bit of an anti-climax. It is much easier physically and suburban in nature, but provides a good cool down to complete the loop. Perhaps then you would feel up to doing one of the more iconic walks in the national park, the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, which incorporates 1000 steps. This walk was adopted by the Victorian veterans of the Second World War Kokoda campaign because of its similarity to the first 100 metres of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. There are 14 plaques along the walk, dedicated to those soldiers who fought and died on Kokoda.
The ride passes by Ferntree Gully and Upper Ferntree Gully railway stations, which are on the Belgrave line. If you’re driving from the city via Burwood Highway, turn left at Mount Dandenong Tourist Road and the entrance to the park is just on your left. There is plenty of car parking available.
Food and Drink
The Tree Frog café is at the start/finish where you can get light lunches, snacks, cool or hot drinks and takeaway. Maybe leave anything too heavy until the finish after you’ve climbed the hills.