Barlidjaru Trail

Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Barlidjaru Trail

In contrast to most rides around Forrest, this one is a journey with a destination, Lake Elizabeth car park and picnic grounds – and what a beautiful journey it is! The trail is for one-way traffic, and you have a couple of options for returning. Red Carpet is one option, but it is quite a bit more technical than Barlidjaru. If you do not have the required technical skills, you can either organise a car pickup, or ride back to Forrest along the unsealed road from Lake Elizabeth car park (around 10 minute drive).

Barlidjaru ride begins at the Forrest Trailhead. Crossing the main road, follow the signs for trail number 1 (Forrest Loop), which shares this first section of track. After about 1.2km you continue along Barlidjaru (trail number 2) while the loop trail veers to the left. There is consistent middle ring climbing through most of the ride and long sections of nontechnical riding under a glorious canopy of tall trees, with ferns brushing your arms on either side of narrow track. The trail surface is mainly smooth, compacted stone. Early in the ride, you pass close by West Barwon Reservoir. This is another great spot to return to for a picnic.

If you want a mountain bike experience that makes you feel part of nature, this one is hard to beat. There is a feeling of isolation despite Kaanglang Road being close by. This is a ride which gives you all the great experiences of mountain biking; traffic free, a glorious environment, and accessible to riders with limited technical skills. Lock your bike in the picnic area if you want to get to Lake Elizabeth, as the last section needs to be walked (approx 20-30 minutes walk). The lake is home for many species, including Platypus, for which ‘Barlidjaru’ is the indigenous name.


The ride starts at the Forrest Trailhead, a short distance past the Brewery on Forrest-Birregurra Road (the main road through Forrest) on the southern outskirts of town.

Food and Drink

You can get a small range of snacks from the general storeSide Trip Visit the local office for Department of Sustainability and Environment, in the main street for maps of the trail network, along with information on local tourist attractions.

Suggested side trips include:
• Drive down to the coast to Apollo Bay
• Ride or drive to Lake Elizabeth car park, then enjoy
a 20-30 minute walk down to the lake
• Try the local beers at the brewery
• Check out West Barwon Reservoir
• Great road cycling opportunities. The annual Amy’s Gran Fondo ride travels through this area. in the main street of Forrest. Grocery shopping in the town of Forrest is limited so it pays to stock up before you come. The Forrest general store has a range of essentials but for super markets, stop at Colac on the way.


Trail map

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6.594 km / 4.097 mi

Total Distance

258 m / 845 ft

Total Ascent

225 m / 740 ft

Total Descent

328 m / 1,077 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
Fitness Level: Medium
MTB Segment: flow
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Mobile Coverage: Limited
Estimated Distance: 13.0
Elevation Gain: 440
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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