Cycling around Colac

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This was going to be my first ever family since I had my baby late 2015.  There were a number of towns thrown around, and we eventually we decided upon staying in Colac.  Colac is located approximately 150 km south-west of Melbourne on the south shore of Lake Colac.  The majority of riding around Colac is fairly flattish open farmland which suited me.  I am still recovering from a serious shoulder injury, and need to ride within my limits.

Sadly hills will not be a part of my diet for quite some time.

I found the Colac Cycling Club on Facebook and sent them a message to see if they do a group ride.

Hey mate there is a bunch at leaves from the back of McDonald’s at 730 Saturday morning. Usually around 50ks at 28kph

Perfect.

Cycling around Colac
Lake Colac

It was a glorious morning and I took a spin down to Lake Colac first, which is just amazing to ride around.

There was a group of 5 riders who gave me a guided tour of their back yard.  It didn’t take me too long to lose all sense of direction.  The group was rotating turns up the front and I had a chance to chat with most of the riders.  One major difference between riding out in an area like Colac to the city is the lack of Strava segments.  Yesterday I had gone for a 40 km meander in and around town.  I was surprised that I only managed to trigger one solitary Strava segment during that time.  With the cycling around Colac, there is no machoism, no pissing contests.  These guys ride for the pleasure of riding, and the pace we were going at was neither hard nor easy.

Of course they have a vice.  Racing.  Something which they do with a passion.

The riding around Colac can be challenging.  Most of the area around there is open farmland, and you can get killed by the winds.  The roads themselves were also challenging.  Never flat, you were either pushing up or down a false flat, with the odd undulating rise.  Not easy on roads which could be a bit rough.

Great training grounds mind you.

We stopped for a Café brunch at a Lebanese Café where I was treated to an amazing Mediterranean brunch.  I had a fantastic ride, and over the three days I’ve been down here was able to sneak in 120 km of riding.  With so many great roads to explore I hope that one day I can return.

Cycling around Colac

Plan a ride around Colac

You should consider a holiday in Colac.  It’s a fantastic place to base yourself for a cycling trip.  The area in and around Colac is predominately flat, with long straight stretches of roads.  Colac is surrounded by a number of Victoria’s biggest lakes, and Colac has a strong agriculture center.  Many of the roads are surrounded by wide open farmland, which can expose cyclists to the elements, especially the winds.

This is an area which is ideal for the sprinters.

Colac is ideally located to ride out to the Great Ocean Road, via Deans Marsh Road, or Skeenes Creek Road.  For the Mountain Bike enthusiast, one of the State’s best Mountain Bike parks; Forrest is only around 30 km south-east.

 

About Colac

Colac is a small city with a population of around 11,000 people.  It is approximately 150 kilometers south-west of Melbourne and is surrounded by many large lakes and volcanic craters.  The plains around Colac are the third largest volcanic plain in the word.

Colac itself is located on the southern shore of Lake Colac, which is the largest natural freshwater lake in Victoria.   The name Colac is thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word meaning sand or fresh water, which was a reference to the lake.

History of Colac

Colac was settled in 1837, when Hugh Murray and several other pastoralists took up residence.  Construction of the Plaid bush inn commenced in 1844, which saw the beginning of the Colac township.  Within six years there was a general store, a police station, a Presbyterian Chapel, a post office and a school.

Colac is great to explore as it has a number of significant historical buildings, including the Memorial Square.  This was built, dedicated to those who served in the First World War which features a striking stone memorial, fountain, rotunda, playground and BBQ facilities.

The local lakes are popular with swimmers and boating enthusiasts, and offers a number of foreshore walking trails, jetties and boat ramps.

Cycling around Colac
Image courtesy of State Library of Victoria

There is a bird reserve in the wetlands off the Esplanade which attracts a diverse range of bird life to the lake.

The Colac Botanical Gardens are situated on a 12 hectare sight overlooking the lake, and were established in 1910.  The gardens itself are quite beautiful, containing many historical trees and offer scenic views across Lake Colac.  The gardens are ideal for a picnic, and offer a playground for the kids, and a Café for the bigger kids.

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