A great point to point ride utilizing the Victorian regional rail network and some good old Victorian rail trails. It starts with a cruise down the High country rail trail, you can also take a detour to Bright for a beer perhaps? The middle section between Mt Cobbler and Jamieson takes in some fabulous alpine scenery and utilizes lots of Huts along the way. Resupply can be had in Mt Buller. It’s pretty hard going through to Jamieson then getting easier on the road back to Warragul.
Having ridden parts of the northern end back in 2004 and bits between Buller and Jamieson a fair bit in recent years, I had pieced this trip together because my work colleague Pepper was keen to ‘see lots of huts’ over the Christmas break when the shop was closed. It also seemed to be a solid route with many points of interest along the way.
It’s a very challenging ride especially solo. There’s no shortage of ‘fall to your death’ sections on the Jamieson river single track, the tiger snakes are abundant in the summer and some of the fire trails are so steep they still scare the shit out of me even after 25 years of mountain bike riding.
Here’s a run down of the intended itinery:
If you are getting off the train in Wangaratta around midday it’s a pretty leisurely 50km stroll along the rail trail to Myrtleford. You could also decide to ride further to Bright for a beer at the brewery.
Myrtleford to Lake Cobbler 80km.
Climbing up from around the back of Mt Buffalo and Lake Buffalo its a day of steady climbing with a bit of a pinch at the end up to Lake Cobbler
Mt Cobbler to Mt Buller 50km
It might seem like a short day but expect it to take up to 8 hours. You will pass Craigs Hut and can detour to Mt Stirling summit for spectacular views back to Mt Cobbler. If you are feeling game you can ride the stonefly descent to howqua gap. Alternatively take the fire road.
Mt Buller to Bluff Hut 45km
Another solid day of climbing and descending. The last kick to Bluff Hut climbs 300m in 2km! The short walk up the hiking track offers great views to the North.
Bluff Hut to Wrens flat 75 km
Climb over Mt Lovick and around Mt Sunday and then hold on for a of a hoot of a ride down to Wrens Flat!
Wrens flat to Mt Terrible 75km
Whilst i’ve ridden most of this I am yet to visit the rebuilt hut on Mt Terrible.
If you are short on time or just a bit cooked skip through to day 8 instead by riding to Woods point and Matlock and pick up the trail on Nine mile road.
Expect some hike a bike once you leave Woods Point road and climb to Mt Terrible. As the name suggest its very hard going in this area.
Mt Terrible to Keppel Hut 80km
Beyond Mt Terrible Big river road is a gem with stunning views of the Valley.
I’ve added it in as it utilises some of the excellent new MTB opportunities at Lake Mountain resort. Also it affords a chance to stay at Keppel Hut.
Keppel Hut to Nine mile road 90km
Ride out via trails on Lake Mountain if you are feeling keen, then hit the tarmac for a bit before joining the Woods Point gravel road out to Nine mile road. Most of the day is spent above 1000m in Tall forest.
Lots of downhill on this day, also lots of beautiful gravel roads through big Mountain ash forests. Ride as far as you can then pull up to camp somewhere.
Just short of Noojie through to Warragul 60km
Roll into Noojie for a late breakfast, check out the trestle bridge then it’s an easy roll back to the train and home to Melbourne.
I’ll update this as myself and others get out on it so if you have any feedback please leave us a message below.
A massive thanks to Pepper for putting her faith in my route planning skills and blindly riding out into the wilderness on what is a very challenging part of Victoria for bikepacking.
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