Location: Woori Yallock – O’Shannassy Weir
Distance: 30km one way
Surface: Mainly patches of grass and dirt (some sections of gravel track)
Access: Car Parks available at McMahon Road, Dee Road, Ewarts Road, Yuonga Road or O’Shannassy Weir
O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail
The O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail is one of the best ways to can experiencye the beauty of the Yarra valley. The Trail follows the historical old maintenance road of the O’Shannassy Aqueduct. This was built between 1911 and 1914 to carry water from a weir on the O’Shannassy River. Which would be used to supply clean, fresh drinking water to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The Trail is home to many native animals and is surrounded by tall Mountain Ash. Fern gullies and offers some spectacular views of the Yarra Valley. The O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail gives you a chance to experience the natural beauty of the flora and fauna in the area.
Where to start?
If you wanted to ride the entire O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail. The trail starts north of Woori Yallock off McMahons Road. For those wanting to do a shorter portion of the trail. There are quite a few access points along the way where you can start or finish your ride.
Over the first 10 kilometers there are some extremely steep ascents. Some well in excess of 20% in gradient. No matter how good a climber you are. Be prepared to walk your bike up some of these sections.
A high level of fitness is required if you want to start from McMahons Road.
If extreme climbing isn’t part of your diet then are several access points along the way where the track is a lot flatter. A number of riders prefer to start at either the Ewart’s Road carpark or the Dee Road carpark.
The O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail stretches 30 kilometres in its entirety. The scenery is simply stunning. Particularly the section alongside Warburton. Here you will be treated with incredible views of Mount Bride.
The trail crosses over the famous Mount Donna Buang Tourist Road. One of Victoria’s most popular climbs. Before descending down to the O’Shannassy Weir. Which takes you through quite a beautiful valley to the O’Shannassy Weir waterfall. This offers stunning photo opportunities to set your bike up for a great looking shot.
At a glance
- Most of the O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail is on a gentle grade. However getting onto it from the valley floor can be more challenging. There are car parks provided at key access points which can be used to avoid steep asceents
- No toilet facilities available along the trail
- Picnic tables available at the Dee Road carpark (Millgrove) and the Yuonga Road Carpark (Warburton)
- Car Parks available at McMahon Road, Dee Road, Ewarts Road, Yuonga Road or O’Shannassy Weir
- The trail goes through National Parks; No dogs allowed
- There can be an encroachment of vegetation, fallen trees, branches, and weeds in sections of the Aqueduct trail. Caution is advised
- Sections of the trail don’t get much light. The trail can receive trail damage due to heavy rainfalls. These can take quite a while to dry out
Trail Notes, and detailed maps, may be downloaded from the Parks Victoria Website:
The O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail trail is more suited to a CX or Mountain Bike. The trail is quite isolated, so make sure that you bring adequate supplies as there are no shops along the trail. As an option you can return through Warburton & return back to your car via the Lilydale Warburton Trail. Just be mindful that there are some steep ascents to get to all of the access carparks.
This isn’t a bike track. It’s an adventure!
With stunning views, beautiful forests, riding this trail feels like you’re moving back in time.
History of the Aqueduct Trail
The O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail was designed to have a constant gradient and to operate completely by gravity, without the need for any pumps or other mechanical devices. Construction began in 1911 with a total cost of $853,780. Much of the aqueduct was dug by hand and took a little over 3 years to build and completed in October 1914. Just in time to help Melbourne avert a major drought which affected most of Australia at the time.
Click here for further information on the history of the Aqueduct Trail.
Cardinia Aqueduct Trail
Location: Upper Beaconsfield – Pakenham
Distance: 5km one way
Surface: Generally smooth dirt or gravel track
Access: Parking access from Officer Road or Thewlis Road
The Cardinia Aqueduct Trail is set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. It is an excellent recreational trail suitable for bike riders, walkers, horse riders and joggers. Feel the serenity and tranquility as you make your way through grassy woodlands. Wet gully forests and tall Eucalyptus trees. The trail begins in Pakenham, and follows a disused section of the Bunyip main race Aqueduct and maintenance track. This is a trail which is steeped with history. Playing a major role in the rural and urban development of providing water to the Mornington Peninsula.
The trail ends near Dickie Road in Officer.
The Cardinia Aqueduct Trail
The Aqueduct trail is 5 kilometers in length. You will find the surface is generally smooth dirt with some gravel. Overall the trail is fairly flat throughout with one steep section to the west of Officer Road. The trail has a pretty good surface and is suitable to ride a road bike on. And is a popular trail for walkers, horse riders, bike riders and joggers and even suitable to push a pram along. If you’re travelling by car you can’t access the start or end points of this trail. You will need to backtrack to complete a full lap of the trail. Many people will just come along to do a small section of the trail instead.
At a glance
- Easy walking on level trail
- Suitable for prams
- Dogs allowed (on leash)
- No toileting facilities
- Parking available on Officer Road & Thewlis Road
- Located 57km south east of Melbourne (easy access from the M1)
- Road crossings at Officer & Thewlis Road (take care when crossing the road)
The trail is quite isolated, so make sure that you bring adequate supplies as there are no shops along the trail. The trail is a 10km return trip, and if you are doing the Aqueduct trail by bike. I can offer some additional climbs around the area which are great to bike/hike. Click on the links below to read about some of the great local gravel roads:
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can find some steep hiking trails to the north of the Aqueduct Trail.