Cycle Victoria, Mountain Bike Ride, Bellarine Rail Trail Ride
Simply the safest and most enjoyable ride on the Bellarine Peninsula, like most rail trails you are spoilt by mainly good pathways, trail facilities and most importantly, the absence of motor vehicles. The views are good at the start and toward the end and it’s pleasantly wooded for most of the way in between. Queenscliff has much to offer by way of seaside leisure, food and shopping. The only thing you need to worry about is the bothersome magpies in early spring, but they’re everywhere aren’t they!
The trail is a mixture of surfaced and unsurfaced paths and roads. There is one steady climb at Leopold. There are two gullies with loose gravel; take caution.
There is activity all along the trail, but it’s never crowded. Some road crossings require care.
Geelong is 75 kilometres south west of Melbourne. From North Geelong turn left onto Bell Parade and onto The Esplanade. Turn right at Bellarine Street and immediately left onto Eastern Beach Road. At the top of the hill cross into the Eastern Gardens and then left onto Eastern Park Circuit. After the Botanical Gardens turn right into the Geelong Play Space car park. VicRoads Map: 454 D4.
Food and Drink
There is a café at the start on Eastern Beach and you can stock up in Geelong. Along the ride you can get food and drink in Drysdale. There is a café at Drysdale station and it’s not far into town along High Street. In Queenscliff there are lots of options.
It’s a short detour off to Point Lonsdale. You could also catch a Queenscliff train when they are running.
The ride gets under way from the Eastern Gardens and follows the road around Limeburners Point. This would be a great place for a restaurant, but all you will find here is a boat launch and an angling club building. Around the point the scenery changes dramatically as you face the aluminium smelter at Point Henry, the shallow mangrove swamps around the Cheetham salt works and the giant stack of the CSIRO Animal Health Laboratory. It’s not too bad, just not as nice as the other side.
The road will take you around this area, past the salt works, before you head inland to join the rail trail which actually begins in the suburb of Newcomb. This is better, no cars and a tree shaded trail all to yourself. The only annoyance is the numerous trail barriers that stop motorcyclists from using the trail. The path begins to climb up a gradual incline as it comes through Leopold. The Christies Road siding is a good place to stop for a few minutes. Continuing on, you crest the hill and you’re out in the countryside again.
This is where the magpies get friendly. They even have signs to let you know. Our experience indicates that none of them are psychopathic. Once you cross the Portarlington Road the path becomes a bit less kept, but wide. The trail sits beside old railway line that is steadily being overgrown by the bush. Local groups including the Friends of the Bellarine Railway are all busy improving the trail and providing the maggies with more cover to attack you from. Arriving in Drysdale you have a chance to grab a bite and some drink and maybe catch the multiple personalitied train.
It goes from being a bit old fashioned and rusty to rejuvenating as Thomas and then occasionally gets down to some serious blues. People actually cycle daily to Geelong from Drysdale along the trail and who could blame them, as the roads around the peninsula become more and more manic. From here on it’s pretty much down hill to the coast as you ride through some gorgeous pasture and forests. Swan Bay opens up in front of you and then it’s on into Queenscliff still following the railway.
35.764 km / 22.223 mi
154 m / 505 ft
178 m / 585 ft
83 m / 272 ft