Yarra Valley

Myers Creek Road (Healesville)

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Length: 6.7 km
Average Gradient: 6.5%
Total Ascent: 437m
Climb Category: 2
Surface: Sealed

Click here for the link to the Strava segment.

The Myers Creek Road climb follows the Myers Creek valley, which the road is named after.  This is a stunning climb, which winds its way through Paul’s Range.  A temperate rain forest which is full of Mountain Ash, and fern gullies to either side of the road.

This is a challenging climb as the gradient continually fluctuates, and has one of those coarse road surfaces.  This gets you working that little bit harder.  The average gradient for this climb is highly deceptive as the road will hit sections in excess of 15%.  Myers Creek Road will feel a lot steeper than its average gradient suggests.

Start: Enger Myers Creek Road (Healesville) off the Maroondah Highway.  The climb begins approximately 3 km up the road.

You will want to pace yourself as this is an unforgiving climb that is not pleasant if you end up cooking yourself too early.

As you near the top of the climb, the road opens up and to your right you will see the peak of Mt St Leonard.  You will see a very distant phone tower, and if you are ever feeling adventurous.  There is an extremely steep climb up a gravel 4WD track up Monda Road to reach there.

Myers Creek Road is one of the best roads to climb in the Yarra Valley.  Offering stunning scenery and quite a challenging climb. This climb is located a short distance north of Healesville and can be combined with several of the areas other great climbs. Such as Chum Creek Road, Panton Gap or Badger Creek Road.

Finish: Corner Myers Creek Road and Monda Road (Toolangi)

At a glance

  • If you’re coming down from Melbourne, heads up that it is always considerably colder in & around Healesville. Best to check local forecasts
  • Narrow, windy roads
  • Stunning rainforest
  • Little traffic
  • Challenging climbing
  • Toolangi Pub situated at the end of Myers Creek Road

During fire season

Paul’s Range is in a fire district. Anyone entering parks and forests during the bushfire season needs to stay aware of forecast weather conditions. Check the Fire Danger Rating and for days of Total Fire Ban at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Mount Tanglefoot

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Distance:  8.6 km
Average Gradient:  4%
Elevation gained:  352 meters
Surface:  Gravel
Traffic: Minimal
Category 1

Click here for link to the Strava segment.

Mount Tanglefoot is located in the Toolangi State Forest, approximately 10 km north of Healesville.  There is a fair bit of climbing to get to the base of this climb with the choice of climbing this from either Chum Creek Road or Myers Creek Road.

Whilst this road is relatively free of gravel, if you were to give this one a go expect a bumpy ride.  There are quite a few corrugated sections all throughout the climb.  A CX or Mountain bike would be advised.  The road is wide enough to allow two cars to pass, however the edges of the road aren’t suitable to ride a bike on.  It’s easy to find a riding line, but you’ll want to ride as far into the middle road as you can.

Start of the climb

Mount Tanglefoot climb

The climb starts at the intersection of Sylvia Creek Road and Myers Creek Road.

This climb takes you through the Toolangi State Forest and to either side of the road is a forest of tall Mountain Ash and tree-fern.  This area receives a fair amount of rain and is always stunning.  This is a climb of two parts.  The climb begins with the steepest section, with the first 800 meters averaging close to 10%.

The road eventually flattens out until you pass the Wirrawilla Rainforest car park around the 4.6 km mark where from here there is solid climbing until you reach the peak.  Overall this section offers a fairly consistent gradient, and is by far the most scenic part of the climb.

On the far side of the climb is a campsite, and the area offers some challenging hikes.  Mount Tanglefoot has also inspired Yarra Ridge (wine) to produce a nice Shiraz which they named after the mountain.  If you head to the bottle shop first, maybe you can celebrate in style at the top.

Mount Tanglefoot

Chum Creek Road

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Length: 8 km
Average Gradient: 4%
Total Ascent: 295m
Climb Category: 3

Click here for link to the Strava segment.

Chum Creek is located a little upstream from Healesville.  The name originated as ‘New Chum Creek’.  This was a reference to traces of gold found in the creek in 1859.  By 1860 Chum Creek was a village, however due to the creation of tracks to the distant Gippsland and Yarra Valley goldfields, the main settlement was formed at Healesville.

Beginning of the climb

Chum Creek Road climb

The Chum Creek Road climb begins at the corner of Heath Road and Healesville-Kinglake Road (see photo above)

The climb up Chum Creek Road offers a gentle consistent gradient, which meanders its way up towards Toolangi through Paul’s Range State Forest.  To either side of the road is a dense forest of spectacular tree ferns, Mountain Ash, and native gums which offers protection from the wind and offers shade on a really hot day.  This is a climb which is as much a pleasure to cruise up as it is to smash yourself against.

From Healesville the road undulates a bit until you reach the start of the climb proper.  This is a good chance to warm your legs up.  Pretty much the gradient fluctuates between 3 -5% and is a climb which is easy to find your rhythm, with the road turning left, then right then right then left as it winds its way gently up the hill.

When you are nearing the end of this climb, the forest opens out into grassing pastures and you’ll pass open farmlands.  The road straightens up and the gradient dips which is a good enough excuse to get out of your seat to have a sprint to the finish the climb strong.

The climb ends at Healesville-Kinglake Road and Myers Creek Road

If you want to continue climbing then turn right onto Myers Creek Road where there is a further 3.4 km of climbing with an average gradient of 3%.

What to expect

  • Stunning scenery
  • Gentle gradient
  • Windy roads suited as a race circuit
  • Chum Creek Road is very popular with Motorcyclists.
  • If you want to celebrate at the top there is the Toolangi Pub

Directions:

53 km north-east of Melbourne (and immediately north-west of Healesville)

Californian Redwood Forest East Warburton

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There is a truly magical forest which is off the beaten track and is only a short ride from Warburton East.

Californian Redwood Forest

Following the clearing of the original Eucalypt Forest in 1930’s.  There were over 1476 Californian Redwood trees planted by the Board of Works. These are trees which range from 20 meters to the tallest being 55 meters in height. The trees are planted in a grid and look like a setting straight from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. When you walk in amongst the trees you may feel like you’re on the set of some exotic Hollywood film.  Its a truly magical place to wander about.

There are hiking trails, which were originally the access tracks which pass through and around the Californian Redwood forest.   These are a must do if you get the chance, and link up to the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail.  One of the Yarra Valleys most popular walks.

Directions

Follow the Warburton Highway east out of Warburton until it becomes Woods Point Road. Around 7 km out of town you will find Cement Creek Road to the left side of the road. The road is unsealed and a little rough in places.  But suitable to ride a road bike. Shortly up the road you will find a small parking area on the right hand side.  This is along a fence line and small gate barrier. Walk through the barrier and be prepared to be transported to a place which is purely magical.

Californian Redwood Forest

Details

  • Please respect the environment when visiting this special place.  Keep it clean and take your litter with you.
  • The Californian Redword forest is now heritage listed.
  • Parking available on Cement Creek Road.
  • Please note there are no public toilets at the Redwood Forest.
  • The forest is Pram friendly
  • Dogs not allowed.

Cog Cafe climb

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Distance:  500 metres
Average Gradient: 16%
Elevation gain: 90 metres
Traffic: Light traffic
Terrain: Residential/Forest
Road Surface: Gravel

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

The Cog Bike Café lies at the end of the Lilydale Warburton Trail.  This is one of Victoria’s most popular rail trails which stretches 38 km in length.  You’ll find a great hidden climb directly behind the Cog Café which is quite a brutal gravel climb.  It’s not for the feint hearted and one for the pure climbing enthusiasts as well as the gravel grinders.

Start of the climb: Corner of Warburton Highway and Station Street

The climb to the entrance of the Cog Café is sealed and peaks in excess of 20%.  This is the easy part of the climb!  The road flattens out briefly as you turn onto Madeline Street and turn onto Croom Street.  You’ll soon find that the road turns to gravel and there is only a limited racing line that you can ride on.  This makes it extra challenging to get up.

Along the way you will be treated to some stunning views of Mount Donna Buang to the left hand side of the road.  It’s unlikely that you will see a car, but if you do the road is very narrow and would suggest you pull off the road to let them by.   This is a dead end road.  Once you reach the gate at the end of the road you will have to backtrack.

When you reach these gates you will have to turn back

Cog Café

The Cog Café has everything a cyclist needs.  Great Coffee and a Bicycle Workshop to boot. Several times they’ve saved my bacon with helping me out with emergency repairs and helped me get back on the road.  The Cog Café also has suitable bikes to rent out to ride the Lilydale Warburton Trail which is 40 km one way, and easily one of the best rides you can do to truly experience the Yarra Valley and a great ride to take the family on.

Link to Facebook page here:

The Cog Cafe climb was a popular inclusion as the opening climb in the 2015 & 2016 Warburton Dirty Dozen ride.

Details

Directions:                                           Warburton is located approximately 72 km east of Melbourne

                                                                on the Warburton Highway

Accomodation Options:                  Visit Warburton Info Website

Dee Road (Millgrove)

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Distance:  1.5 km
Average Gradient: 10%
Maximum Gradient: 27%
Category: 3
Elevation gain: 155 metres
Terrain: Forest
Road Surface: Good (small section of gravel)

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

This climb is a pure Deelight for the hill junkies

Located beneath the forested mountains of Mount Donna Buang.  Ben Cairn and Mount Little Joe in Millgrove is a very scenic location and offers some challenging climbing.  And is guaranteed to Deestroy your legs.  The climb starts on a false flat leading up to the base of the climb.  Which begins just after you cross the bridge across the Dee River.

Dee Road climb

Before you get to the base of the climb you will need to cross an old wooden bridge.  Please use caution when crossing the bridge.  There are large cracks in-between the boards and can be slippery on a wet day.

The climb up Dee Road will take you up the lower slopes of the south-west side of Mount Donna Buang.  Through some stunning temperate rain forest.  It is as beautiful as it is hard.

You’ll want to save something in reserve.  This is one of those evil climbs that starts on a false flat & just keeps getting steeper and steeper and steeper and steeper.  Peaking at a ridiculous 27%.  You won’t need to look down at your Garmin to know that its steep!

The Dee Road climb takes you to one of the access car parks to the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail, and offers some incredible views from the top.  Just before you reach the top you will hit a short gravel section just before the car park.  This is easy to get across on a Road bike.

If you’re planning on riding the Aqueduct trail, you can do so on a Road bike.  However you will want to be running at least 28 mm tires.  It a great ride to out to the Mount Donna Buang Tourist Road from here.

Views from the Aqueduct car park

Milners Gap

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The Yarra Valley is world famous for its Wineries. It’s relatively cool climate makes it suited to produce high-quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Sparkling Wine.  The Yarra Valley is the perfect spot to ride through rolling hills strung with vines, secluded natural valleys set against blue mountain backdrops and lush greenery and pastures, past towering trees and pristine rivers to verdant villages like Marysville and Warburton. The Yarra Valley has riding which appeals to riders of all abilities such as the Lilydale Warburton Trail & O’Shannassy trail which offers great scenic rides.

If you’re willing to go off the beaten track, the Yarra Valley has some amazing hidden wonders.  If you’re travelling through Yarra Junction consider a detour to the south of town and visit Milners Gap which offers two incredibly challenging climbs.  Both have a real bite to them and are short, sharp and nasty. Their steep gradients made them a popular feature in the 2015 edition of the Warburton Dirty Dozen ride.

 

Milners Gap East

Distance: 1.3 km
Average Gradient: 9%
Maximum Gradient: 14%
Elevation gain: 119 metres
Traffic: Light traffic
Terrain: Forest
Category: 4
Road Surface: Good

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Milners Gap West

Distance: 900 metres
Average Gradient: 9%
Maximum Gradient: 20%
Elevation gain: 89 metres
Traffic: Light traffic
Terrain: Forest
Category: 4
Road Surface: Good

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Milners Gap is well shaded and a great climb to do on a hot day.  Both sides of this climb offers a fairly consistent gradient.  Given that the climb is off the beaten track its one of those roads that you’re not likely to see much traffic.  Whilst neither side is overly long, you’ll be guaranteed a decent workout.

Head to my Yarra Valley page for further information on other climbs around the area:

Link to page here:

 

Yuonga Road (Warburton)

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Yuonga Road
Location: Warburton
Distance:  1.6 km
Average Gradient: 11%
Maximum Gradient: 24%
Category: 3
Elevation gain: 133 metres
Terrain: Resedential
Road Surface: Paved/Gravel

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Mount Donna Buang is a Mountain in the southern part of the Great Dividing Range. It is located in Warburton and is one of Victoria’s most popular Mountain climbs to ride. The drive is only around 90 minutes from Melbourne.  This takes you through the beautiful Yarra Valley.

On the lower slopes of Mount Donna Buang is a road which runs parallel to the popular tourist road climb called Yuonga Road.  This road is quite steep and takes you to one of the entrances to the O’Shannassy’s Aqueduct Trail.  Which offers magnificent views of Mount Bride.

Turn left

Yuonga Road climb

The climb begins at the start of the Mount Donna Buang Tourist Road.  There is a short climb until you reach the turnoff at Yuonga Road where you turn left (see image above).

There are some stunning views of Mount Donna Buang which may help to distract you from the pain.  This is one steep sucka!

The gravel bit

The sealed section of the climb finishes near the Aqueduct trail 1.3 km into the climb.  Just getting to this point is incredibly difficult.  The road then turns to gravel and gets steeper.  Continuing on for a further 300 meters roads up the lower slopes of Mount Donna Buang.  It is incredibly steep with sections peaking at well in excess of 20%.  The surface is loose gravel & is more suitable to climb on a CX or MTB bike.

This is a dead end road, and with luck you finish the climb before it finishes you.

How to get there

Directions:                                           Warburton is approximately 72 km east of Melbourne

                                                                 on the Warburton Highway

Accomodation Options:                  Visit Warburton Info Website

Cycling the Yarra Valley

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The Yarra Valley is most renowned for its Wineries. It’s relatively cool climate makes it particularly suited to the production of high-quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Sparkling Wine.  Travel through rolling hills strung with vines, secluded natural valleys set against blue mountain backdrops and lush greenery and pastures.  Past towering trees and pristine rivers to verdant villages like Marysville and Warburton. The Yarra Valley has some great riding which appeals to riders of all abilities such as the Lilydale Warburton Trail & O’Shannassy trail .  Both of these trails offer great scenic rides.

Image courtesy of Flickr; Domain Chandon

The Yarra Valley is also home to some very hard & diverse climbing.  This includes some of the State’s best dirt climbs including Mt St Leanord’s & Mt Donna Buang (via Panton Gap, Don Valley or the Acheron Way).  I have included a selection of my favorite climbs in the Yarra Valley.

Click on the link below to be directed to the climb write-ups:

Link to climb write-up Location Distance Gradient % Category
Chum Creek Road Chum Creek 8 km 4 3
Mt St Leanord’s (via Chum Creek Road) Healesville 21.1 km 4 HC
Mt St Leanord’s (via Meyers Creek Road) Healesville 12.5 km 7 HC
Myers Creek Road Healesville 7 3
Lilydale Warburton Trail Lilydale 40 km one way N/A N/A
Steavensons Falls Marysville 2.8 km 4 4
Dee Road Millgrove 1.5 km 10 3
Upper Yarra Reservoir Reefton 2.4 km 6 4
Mount Tanglefoot Toolangi 8.6 km 4 2
Brett Road Warburton 600 metres 12 4
Brisbane Hill Road Warburton 400 metres 13 4
Cog Cafe climb Warburton 500 metres 16 4
The Demon’s Double Warburton 176 km N/A N/A
Little Joe Warburton 4.3 km 5 3
Martyr Road Warburton 300 metres 19 4
Mount Donna Buang Warburton 16.8 km 6 HC
Story Road Warburton 700 metres 14.2 4
Yuonga Road Warburton 1.3 km 10 3
Mount Donna Buang (via Don Valley) Woori Yallock 27.1 km 4.2 HC
O’Shannassy’s Aqueduct Trail Woori Yallock 30 km N/A N/A
Milners Gap Yarra Glen Various 9 4
Skyline Road Yarra Glen 3.3 km 6 3

Story Road (Warburton)

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Distance: 700 metres
Average Gradient: 14.2%
Maximum Gradient: 30%
Category: 4
Elevation gain: 92 metres
Terrain: Residential/Forest
Road Surface: Part sealed/Gravel

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Tell me a story of a time when you came upon a hill so hard that you had to get off and walk….

Let me introduce you climb which begins on Leila Road on the lower slopes of Mount Little Joe.  A backstreet located just behind the Cog Cafe.  The road is quite narrow and its steep.  Very, very steep!  The first part is paved and in good shape, and don’t let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security.  Once you pass the residential part you will enter the forest, & the road turns to gravel and just got harder

You’ll find loose gravel all over the road and will have to pick the right riding line.  It probably doesn’t help that the gradient is in excess of 10% but appreciate that whilst it lasts as its just going to get steeper.

You’ll turn right onto Story Road and no one would blame you for crapping your pants and turning right around.  There’s steep & then there’s this.  With only 100 metres left of climbing you may wonder what all the fuss is about.  The 23% average gradient is hard by itself, but the fact that there is loose gravel everywhere & a non-existent riding line getting traction to get up this sucker is going to be a battle.  One which most who have tried climbing it failed, and if you’re doing over 6kmph then you’re doing well

If you are interested in the sequel, then go back and do Story Road over and over again. Take care on the gravel descent but make sure you enjoy the views of Mount Donna Buang on the way down.