Strezleckis, Grand Ridge Rd/Brisbane Ranges

Strezleckis, Grand Ridge Rd/Brisbane Ranges

Postby Tim » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:03 pm

Anybody ridden sections of or the entire length of the Grand Ridge Rd.
I'm planning a fully loaded tour from the Bairnsdale area, through South Gippsland, down to the Prom and Waratah Bay, over to Phillip Island and maybe French Island, across to the Peninsula then Queenscliff and on to Melbourne.
I am also interested in the Brisbane Ranges and the town of Anakie, I've never been their before. That area is a complete mystery to me.
I am familiar with the type of terrain in the Strezleckis having ridden up to Mt.Tassy from Traralgon before but beyond that I know nothing, from a cycling perspective.
Advise and/or experience of the above two locations would be much appreciated, thanks.
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by BNA » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:51 pm

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Re: Strezleckis, Grand Ridge Rd/Brisbane Ranges

Postby Cul » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:51 pm

I quite often ride in the Brisbane Rangers as they are close to home, there is some nice riding to be had however the roads are pretty crap and the town of Anakie is very much a ghost town and probably not really worth a visit unless you are into wine (IMO).
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Re: Strezleckis, Grand Ridge Rd/Brisbane Ranges

Postby il padrone » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:48 pm

Cul wrote:I quite often ride in the Brisbane Rangers as they are close to home, there is some nice riding to be had however the roads are pretty crap and the town of Anakie is very much a ghost town and probably not really worth a visit unless you are into wine (IMO).

You think Anakie is a ghost town - you should try Stieglitz :P


Yes, I've ridden the full length of the Grand Ridge Rd several times over the years. It's a great ride, but can be harsh in wet conditions, especially the section between the Tarra Valley Rd junction and Mirboo East - still nearly all rough gravel through deep forest. It is feasible to ride from Balook to Mirboo North in the one day. The only problem is that Mirboo North no longer has any campsite or caravan park nearby. There is a very good prospect of camping at the Allambee South Hall, about 12-15kms west of Mirboo North. The locals have set it all up and welcome visitors to see the hall used and keep it running. All the riding west of Mirboo North is sealed except for a section of about 5kms after Trida. Near Mt Eccles, off the Grand Ridge Rd to the south a km or two there is a nice cafe. Further west Seaview Hall is a possible spot to camp or make a lunch stop. After Seaview make sure you ride the Old Grand Ridge Rd (unsealed turn-off to the left) It is a delightful ride along a really nicely contoured road with grand views - possible the closest you'll get in Victoria to the Strada Bianca of Tuscany.

The rest of your plans sound pretty straightforward - although taking in the Prom will involve quite a backtrack if done after riding the whole Grand Ridge. I think you'd have to make a choice - either the Prom or the Grand Ridge Rd. Too time-consuming to do both. I guess you could just ride west on the Grand Riidge Rd, from Balook to near Mt Fatigue then head south to Foster for the Prom, but this misses out the section of the Grand Ridge west of Mirboo North which has perhaps the best of the views. I must say that I have never ridden to the Prom - it's a long ride in there and then another long day out, and not much opportunity for riding when you're there.

The Wonthaggi Railtrail and the South Gippsland Railtrail are great to ride (if a bit demoralising with their incessant locomotive grades), and the Bunerong Coast route from Inverloch to Wonthaggi is very worthwhile.

Roads out to the west of Port Philip tend to be very flat and open - good if the wind is light or behind you; not so good with a NW wind. Anakie is a small hamlet with a store and school I recall, then to the west you climb into the hills. Brisbane Ranges are low hills with fairly open bushland including lots of grasstrees and some areas of gold mining remnants. The minor roads are generally fairly good gravel roads. Stieglitz is a tiny old gold-mining hamlet with about 10-15 residents. It once had something like 1500 people with multiple hotels, shops, courthouse etc. during the height of the rush. The courthouse is still there as a historic museum, and the town still has a very nice little bush cafe that will be open on weekends - not sure about weekdays. Be wary of going off-track too much as the park has a big problem with Cinnamon Fungs, a soil-born disease that kills the grasstrees. Bike tyres, shoes, and car tyres will all spread the spores. There are a couple of nice campsites in the ranges and Anakie Gorge is worth a walk through. There is a gravel road that runs roughly north-south and will bring you out near Bacchus Marsh, or the main tarmac will take you north to Ballan.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Strezleckis, Grand Ridge Rd/Brisbane Ranges

Postby Tim » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:58 am

You certainly are a well traveled cyclist ilPadrone. Thanks heaps for the info.
I'm still in the early stages of route planning and on closer inspection of my road maps I now realise the Grand Ridge Rd. extends pretty well all the way to Warragul, not quite where I want to go.
I'm now thinking I may travel North of the Princes Hwy. from Stratford through Maffra, Heyfield and Toongabbie (or thereabouts) to Traralgon and then cross the Strezleckis to visit friends in Yarram, via Balook and the Tarra Valley.
From there I will probably follow the coast (similar to my last Sth. Gippy tour) down to Yanakie, rather than the Prom itself, then Waratah Bay, Inverlock, Cape Patterson etc.
I love that section of coast and it is excellent cycling country. It's not very imaginative following a similar course to earlier this year but I have very fond memories of the last trip through that region. This time I will camp at different locations.
I agree with you regarding the demoralising grade of some of the rail trails. I recall a long, very very hot ascent from Foster almost all the way to Fish Creek.
Looking forward to exploring unfamiliar territory to the West of Melbourne. Thanks.
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Re: Strezleckis, Grand Ridge Rd/Brisbane Ranges

Postby il padrone » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:40 pm

Yarram, Yanakie, Waaratah Bay, Inverloch..... lots of nice coastal beaches and small towns, but very flat, open and less-interesting riding.

I can recommend the Grand Ridge Road full-length tour to you for choice scenery. Do it some day.
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