Ballarat Yarrowee Trail

Cycle Victoria, Sightseeing Ride, Ballarat Yarrowee Trail Ride

The Yarrowee Trail is a hidden treasure in Ballarat and is becoming even more beautiful as the continuing rejuvenation of the creek takes hold. The creek runs out of the Gong Gong Reservoir alongside Brown and Black Hills, an area of extensive gold mine remanets. It then tunnels under Ballarat CBD to emerge and runs south on the other side of the shopping area. The increasingly lush vegetation and extensive wetlands offers a tranquil and relaxing ride.

Terrain

The ride is on a good, shared pathway for most of the time, with the last section up to the return point bitumen.

Traffic

The path is usually fairly quiet. There are some road crossings, but only Stawell Street. requires caution as motorists tend to fly down the hill.

Access

Peel Street runs off Sturt Street through the centre of town and ride commences less than a kilometre from where the Yarrowee Creek passes under the road beside Rowe Street. VicRoads Map 566 E7.

Food and Drink

There are no shops on the track, but a short detour onto Humffray Street on the right will bring you to shops. You can get water at the park toward the end of the route.

Side Trip

If you have a mountain bike or sturdy hybrid, and don’t mind some rough ground, you can continue on, following the trail markers for another three kilometres, toward the Gong Gong and Kirks reservoirs where there are picnic facilities and both bushland and park-land areas. The Yarrowee Trail also continues on the other side of the Ballarat CBD starting at the Grant Street bridge.

 

More Details

The starting point for the ride is not obvious, but once you pass the Eastern Oval on your left you’re about there. You can park close to Rowe Street, which marks where the creek runs beneath Peel Street. There is a ‘Eureka Trail’ sign and a few short steps down beside the creek and the ride begins on the unmade side street. The creek at this point is a large, but not unattractive bluestone drain, built many years ago to stop the centre of Ballarat getting wet feet after heavy downpours. Once you cross over Nicholson Street. the path commences and so does the scenery.

As you begin to climb up the side of Black Hill you will notice the extensive erosion caused by the gold mining in the area. If you like to scramble about you might wish to go for a bit of an exploration. There are a few old mining tunnels along the cliff side, but they are all closed off. If you manage to get to the top of Black Hill, there are great views across the city. This is a popular spot for MTB bikes as are the surrounding hills and the Canadian Forest over to the south east. Once around the hill you come back onto unmade road and continue to follow this beside the creek until it again becomes a path. There are a few old cottages here as well as more recent dwellings tucked in alongside the bottom of the hill.

After you have passed Back Hill the trail enters the more open wetland area where you can observe close up the birdlife and the chirping frogs. It is hard to believe that not so long ago, this whole area had been overgrown with willows strangling the creek and the swamp lands neglected.

Further down, hugging the Brown Hill hillside, the path comes back beside open park land on the other side of the creek where you will find picnic facilities. Once past Brown Hill, the ride approaches the freeway escarpment and ends at the tunnel. If you continue through the tunnel, the path becomes a bit harder to follow in parts, but still follows the creek.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 The ride commences down the steps off Peels St next to the Yarrowee Creek.
  • 0.1 Cross Nicholson St and continue on the path.
  • 0.6 You should veer to the left path to climb the small hill. It’s not as steep as the steps. As the path becomes a gravel road continue following the creek along Esmond St until it again becomes a shared pathway.
  • 1.7 Cross Stawell St taking care of traffic flying down the sweeping hill.
  • 2.2 You can choose to continue ahead or take a short detour around the wetlands, which rejoins the path about 500 metres further along.
  • 2.6 Cross Ainley St and continue on the path as it cuts across a paddock and looks over the playing fields, picnic areas and local swimming pool. Further up at the small bridge there is a playground and the car park of the local pub.
  • 3.8 Turn right across the bridge as the ride approaches the face of the freeway embankment and climb up the hill to the tunnel opening.
  • 3.9 The trail ends here, but you may be tempted to continue on where the terrain becomes rougher and a bit more difficult. If you go through the tunnel take care as the low flickering light can be mesmerising.
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    3.94 km / 2.448 mi

    Total Distance

    75 m / 245 ft

    Total Ascent

    39 m / 126 ft

    Total Descent

    466 m / 1,530 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Medium
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 3.9
    Elevation Gain: 76
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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