Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Hit the Wall
Mount Dandenong is a 633m peak with TV towers on top. This circumnavigation of it doesn’t go quite that high, reaching only 606m as you climb over the Dandenong Ranges from the Olinda side of the national park to the Doongalla section, near The Basin, and back again. There are a couple of steep climbs but on the way back to Silvan the reward comes in the form of a downhill race course.
We’d like to think this ride will take you half a day, if for no other reason than the time it takes you to read all the instructions! Don’t worry, once you become familiar with the area the ride gets quicker. It starts off gently across the road from the Silvan Reservoir before heading into the hills of Kalorama on Track 11. Here it is nice and shady for most of the year. Mountain View Road and Ferngully Grove bring us to a point where we can ride across Mount Dandenong Tourist Road rather than along it. In summer this area can be hot, especially if there is a strong north wind.
From there the ride heads down towards The Basin with nice views from Hands Road, near Grange Road, before you must concentrate for bumpy Old Coach Road, which would wreck a few carriage wheels in its current state. We duck out of the national park for a little while before re-entering at Edgar Track to take advantage of the singletrack alongside the gravel.
There’s another short trip out of the park before another Old Coach Road, in Sassafras, and School Track takes us back to the ridge line in Olinda and a short section of tar. The R.J. Hamer Arboretum lookout offers another great view before the downhill race course and Chamberlain Track take us back to Silvan Reservoir.
This ride is located in Silvan, about 70km (60 minutes drive) east of Melbourne. Turn right on Anderson Street from Lilydale (Sign: ‘C401 Montrose’) and drive through Mount Evelyn on Lilydale-Monbulk Road (C401/C404). Turn right in Silvan at Stonyford Road and stop at the Silvan Reservoir Picnic Ground car park, the second one on the left (Melway 120 H11).
Train: Take the train to Lilydale, ride up the Warburton Rail Trail to Mount Evelyn then turn right on Monbulk Road to Silvan.
Food and Drink
Stock up before you arrive as the only café in Silvan had closed its doors last time we were there. Consider a picnic at the reservoir and carry plenty of water on the ride, especially on hot days.
There is a short walk you can do from the reservoir picnic ground if you still have energy after the ride.
0.0 Reset your computer near the BBQ shelter at the lowest corner of the picnic ground car park, ride out through the gates and cross Stonyford Rd.
0.2 Turn right on singletrack on the far side of the road.
0.3 Turn left into the overflow car park. Go past the green water tanks and through a gap beside the gate. Turn right almost immediately, uphill.
0.5 Turn left on Messmate Track.
0.9 Bear left, still on Messmate Track.
1.3 Bear left then bear right at the Y-intersection on Olinda Creek Track.
1.9 Turn left on Olinda Creek Track.
2.0 Turn right at Grey Gum Track then turn left immediately at the sign: ‘To Olinda Creek Track’. Cross creek on the bridge after the steps.
2.1 Turn left at the ‘Mt Evelyn Reserve 4km’ sign then turn right on Track 10. There is a sign ‘Pipeline Tk’.
2.8 Bear left uphill onto Track 12.
4.1 Turn right at Track 21.
4.5 Turn right uphill onto Track 13 (Melba Track) at the crossroads.
4.6 Turn left onto Track 21 (Wallaby Track) at the crossroads.
5.3 Go straight ahead on Track 21 (Wallaby Track) .
5.6 Turn right then immediately turn left, still on Track 21.
5.8 Go uphill at the Y-intersection past the firefighting water tank onto Mountain View Rd.
6.7 Bear right off the gravel at No. 5 letterbox onto Ferngully Grove, a fire access track.
7.0 Go straight ahead at the crossroads.
7.2 Turn left at the crossroads on Inverness Rd.
7.5 Cross Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd and continue up Inverness Rd to the left.
8.0 Ignore William St.
8.2 Turn right onto Hands Rd.
8.5 Ignore Grange Rd.
8.7 Go straight ahead on Hands Rd.
9.0 Bear right at Jasper Rd.
9.3 Bear right onto bumpy Old Coach Rd.
11.0 Turn left onto Marshall Tce.
11.3 Follow Marshall Tce past the ‘No through road’ sign.
11.7 Go onto Singleton Tce.
12.3 Ignore side tracks.
13.1 Turn right onto Glasgow Rd (Mt Dandenong on the left, city to right).
13.7 Turn left onto Sheffield Rd.
14.1 Turn left back into Dandenong Ranges National Park at the gate.
14.3 Turn right onto the singletrack parallel to Edgar Track. Ignore all minor tracks.
15.4 Rejoin Edgar Track near Bills Track and turn right.
15.7 Keep right on Edgar Track. Golf Course Track on the left.
15.9 Go straight ahead on the track between Edgar Track (on the left) and the fence line. Bear right on the singletrack running parallel to the fence.
16.3 Go past the green gate downhill on Simpsons Rd.
16.7 Turn right on Doongala Rd.
17.3 Turn left onto Sheffield Rd.
17.7 Turn left at the crossroads onto The Basin-Olinda Rd.
18.1 Turn right onto Old Coach Rd.
18.3 Ignore Grumont Rd.
18.6 Ignore Ferndale Rd, continuing on Old Coach Rd, past the ‘No through road’ sign.
19.8 Go straight ahead at gate on Dog Track.
20.5 Turn left and then bear right onto School Track.
21.5 Turn right onto Range Rd.
21.9 Go uphill past management vehicle gate.
22.3 Ignore side streets.
22.7 Turn right on Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd through Olinda.
22.8 Keep left on the gravel path next to Olinda-Monbulk Rd.
23.7 Follow path into Chalet Rd.
24.2 Go straight ahead to R.J. Hamer Arboretum lookout and stop for view.
25.0 Turn left into Silvan Rd.
25.2 Turn right opposite the gate on the singletrack running towards the reservoir fence.
25.3 Turn left at theT-intersection on the downhill race course alongside the fence.
26.1 Turn left away from the fence in a clearing. Turn right on Silvan Rd following singletrack.
26.6 Turn left onto Chamberlain Track.
27.2 Stay on Chamberlain Track at crossroads.
27.6 Turn right at Eagle Nest Rd.
28.1 Turn left onto Centre Track (obscured) and enjoy the rollovers.
29.0 Go straight ahead at the end of Centre Track, following Silvan Rd back to the reservoir.
30.1 Turn right into picnic ground car park.
30.3 Finish near BBQ shelter.