Kinglake & Toolangi National Park, VIC, Australia
90 km / 2100 m
Gravel, rocky trails and sealed
Jesse and I are lucky to have some fantastic gravel options not too far from home. For example, Kinglake National Park and its surroundings are about an 80 min drive from Melbourne, or you can get the train to Hurtsbridge nearby, which isn’t too far from the excellent gravel. We parked our car at St Andrews Town Hall (near the pub) and started our ride, heading towards the first climb. Bowden Spur is a popular gravel climb in the Kinglake area, and it offers extensive views as you work hard up the exposed switchbacks. It’s a tough climb, with gradients around the 10% mark most of the way. The surface is relatively good; however, traction on the loose gravel will be challenging for many.
Luckily the roads to the start of the climb have plenty of rollers to warm your legs up in time. Once over the top, it’s a long descent back down again, this time on Captain Creeks Road. This road can change surface regularly, a combination of easy gravel to chunky rock and washouts. Nevertheless, it’s a quiet road and well sheltered on a hot day. Once at the bottom, you’ll meet up with Melba Highway, a busy main road. The shoulder is good here, but you’ll still need to be careful of traffic.
Thankfully this main road stretch is short, and it’s onto Marginal Road. Another lovely winding gravel road, and you’ll need to keep a lookout for dirt bikes here; it’s a popular spot. Marginal Road then becomes Spraggs Road, taking you towards Toolangi and into the big tree forests. It’s a gradual climb broken into three parts, then a short descent into Toolangi. Toolangi has a pub and general store, but you’ll need to ride into town if you need supplies or water.
A short stint on another main road again, and you’ll turn off onto Old Toolangi-Dixons Creek Road. This road is lovely no matter what direction you ride. This time, however, you’ll be descending for 10 kms. It winds through the forest, offering up glimpses of the Kinglake Region and wineries in the distance.
Back on Melba Highway again, there is a cafe where you can get water if needed before heading up Hunts Lane. This short 1.4 km climb is gradual at first, however, the last few hundred metres will see gradients hitting a not so pleasant 22%. Next is Old Kinglake Road, and back into the Kinglake National Park. This road is closed to traffic, so you’ll not need to worry about much more than walkers here. This 6 km climb is all gravel and has a reasonably easy gradient. The surface can get covered in debris from time to time due to wild weather, and you’ll have a handful of water bars to keep you working a little harder.
The climb then meets Everard Track at the top. Everard Track is a climb; no matter what side you start, each side serves up difficulty levels and is 8 kms in length. You’ll have three fairly steep ramps to reach the top of Everard. Take care as the surface here is rough, rutted in areas with water bars, and has recently fallen trees from wild weather. Over the top, you’ll be treated to views of the ranges once again. Look out for hikers too. Next, you’ll ride a short section through Warrandyte-Kinglake Conservation Park, and onto Black Cameron Road, with just enough steep pinches to make you uncomfortable as you near the finish line back at St Andrews.
Allow 6 -7 hours to enjoy this ride if stopping for a drink, photos, etc. Pack snacks and carry two bottles of water.
Happy riding! - Sarah Hammond
You can find the GPX file - HERE