Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Hepburn Spa
This ride is an ideal introduction to mountain biking. It is long enough to give you a feeling of accomplishment and, apart from the start, is not very hilly. You encounter a wide variety of trails, including a long section of singletrack on the Goldfields Track used in our ride to Castlemaine. This part is not too technical, just a lot of fun as you dart through the trees. Stay the weekend and book in for a spa and massage after your ride!
Don’t be put off by the start — it is the toughest part of the ride as you negotiate a steep climb from the car park. After the climb there is an undulating fire track through a forested area where wildflowers proliferate in the spring.
After crossing the Midland Highway you ride along a gas pipeline access track. From 6.4km you have nearly seven kilometres of narrow sealed road. We usually avoid this stuff, but here we make an exception. It forms a great link to interesting tracks but also gives quite outstanding panoramic views of the surrounding countryside with much evidence of past volcanic activity, including Mount Franklin which dominates the skyline.
From 15.2km you have a fun section of singletrack to enjoy. This is part of the Goldfields Track which we follow on the Castlemaine to Daylesford ride. If you are new to mountain biking, just take your time and enjoy the sensation of riding in the bush, close to the trees.
Towards the end of the journey, you retrace the outbound route so your first hill now becomes a very pleasant downhill to finish on. Just remember to slow down as you could meet a walker.
By car: Hepburn Springs is about five kilometres north of Daylesford which is about 1.5 hours drive northwest of Melbourne. Daylesford can be accessed from either the Calder or Western highways. Turnoffs to Daylesford are clearly signed. Start point is in Hepburn Springs Spa car park. From Daylesford roundabout (Vincent and Albert streets) continue north from Daylesford towards Castlemaine on Daylesford Castlemaine Road. Drive for 3.7 kilometres then take the right hand fork at Y-inter-section to Hepburn Springs. After four kilometres turn right into Hepburn Springs Spa and continue to the uppermost/last car park. Head to the north east corner of the upper car park (furthest from spa complex). Set your computer to 0.0 at the green information shelter at the trail head, this is the start of the ride.
Food and Drink
Your best option is to stock up in Daylesford. Free mineral water is available at Hepburn Springs Spa at a pump just past the barbecue shelter to the right of where the ride starts.
Make the most of your visit to the spa and the many bathing and massage programs they offer. You can also have a picnic or barbecue in the grounds. (03) 5348 8888 or www.hepburnspa.com.au.
Set computer/tripmeter to 0.0km at the green information shelter at the trailhead; this is the start of the ride.
28.266 km / 17.564 mi
851 m / 2,793 ft
768 m / 2,518 ft
593 m / 1,945 ft