This Flashpacking trip is probably one of the tougher weekends we have placed together. Sure they all have generous doses of climbing, however most of the sandy trails and gravel roads in the Otways can be littered with short sharp power climbs. This route can get pretty rough in areas, the trails get washed out in the wetter season, leaving large ruts and exposed roots as an extra obstacle. You'll want to have some experience managing sandy surfaces, and of course lengthy climbs on gravel. Alternatively you could break this into a three to four day bikepacking ride if looking for a cruise schedule. All that aside, the Otways is such a wonderful place to ride. It's lush rainforest, full of big tree forests, and has endless trails and gravel roads on offer. It sits inland off the Great Ocean Road, and is only a 90 minute drive from Melbourne CBD.
Anglesea is a great place to kick off this route, plenty of accommodation options nearby if not wanting to do the early morning drive to the startline.
From Anglesea the climbing begins instantly as you immediately head inland. Surrounded by the coastal saltbush, you’ll follow some dirt tracks, including some single track into the heart of the Otways. There are some tough short climbs in the first 30 kilometres of this route, and some very sandy rollers. Hang in there, it will ease off a little after this distance. Onto Gentle Annie track and riders get to enjoy the lovely shady forest surrounds that makes the Otways so wonderful. Soon enough it's a descent into Lorne, and a quick sampling of the Great Ocean Road that Victoria is so well known for. This section is sealed, and a busy tourist road for drivers, so take care. Grab some food and resupply in Wye River. From there it’s plenty of exercise on a big climb back inland on Wye River Road, back into the tall trees of the Otways. The climb is around 14 kilometres long, with a moderate gradient and is all gravel. You’ll continue on plenty of lovely forest trails, with more climbs until another descent down one of the best sealed roads in Victoria, Turtons Track. Not far from here you’ll have a peek at a beautiful misplaced redwood forest before finishing the day on the Old Beechy rail trail into Gellibrand.
We stayed the night at Gellibrand (Otways) Holiday Park. Plenty of shared cabin options, and dinner is also available here at the on site bistro.
There is a small general store in town for snacks, but that is it. So if you do venture out this way, make sure you carry adequate food for the trip.
You can grab breakfast in Gellibrand at the general store, and then be back onto the road headed towards Forrest. If you ever have time to stay in Forrest there is some wonderful single track on offer and a great brewery in town. Plenty of accommodation options if you want to make a weekend of it.
Back on course and it’s a tough climb further up into Otways, this time on Thompson Track. This 10 kilometre track will offer some steep gradients around the 15% mark, made worse if you stopped at the brewery in town prior. Visually rewarding though. After some time in the temperate rainforest, it's back onto a small stretch of sealed road as you’ll descend into farmland and into Deans Marsh. Deans Marsh has a wonderful place to eat called The Martian Cafe, make sure you stop by here for a meal, and to just check out the interior design. After lunch it's more rolling farmland roads, pine plantations and then back into the Anglesea scrub. The last stretch into Anglesea is back on the open sandy roads similar to the start of day one. It can get a little rough at times with corrugations, but timed right near sunset it's a wonderful place to be.
Jesse rode a titanium prototype of the Curve GMX+ on alloy rims, all his bikepacking bags were Apidura. Ryan rode the titanium Curve Kevin (GXR) with the Grav Al. 700c wheelset. Ryan's bikepacking bags were by Revelate and Skin Grows Back. We advise taking a Gravel Bike or adventure bike on this route. A MTB could work too.
Ride this yourself, and let us know what your adventure was like!