This ride combines a mix of magnificent scenery, brilliant roads and a historical site that ought to keep you thoroughly entertained.
It is probably a ride to lunch, being just over 260 km from Melbourne to Kilmore, via Kyneton, Mia Mia, Heathcote and Lancefield.
Points 1 to 2 – Melbourne to Wallan
Let’s get the boring bits of the ride out of the way first. Whether you travel via the Ring Road or via City Link, the purpose of this part of the ride is to get you out of the urban crush as quickly as possible. Head along the Hume Freeway until you take the Northern Highway exit to Wallan.
Point 3 to 5 – Wallan to Carlsruhe
At last, the road becomes interesting! Turn left to Romsey at Wallan and follow the road through hill and dale. It is a mix of sweepers, climbs and descents, with the odd straight section thrown in for good measure. The road surface is generally good, especially from Darraweit Guim onwards. The first 5 or so km of road can be narrow in places, so keep an eye out for oncoming traffic. Also, as it travels through a small forested area, keep a look out for banzai oriented wildlife!
As you get towards waypoint 3 at Chintin, the road climbs up the escarpment and continues on through forested land. Waypoint 4 sees you in the thriving village of Romsey, with its newly installed central roundabout. Go straight through the roundabout towards Woodend.
A highlight, this section of road is fabulous! Sweeping bend after sweeping bend deposits you at the right hand turn off to Hanging Rock, so take the right hander here, and make your way to Anderson Rd, where you turn left.
Follow Anderson Rd along, and it takes you along the outskirts of Woodend. It then becomes Cobb and Co. Rd, which is the old Calder Highway. Stay on this Road, and you will soon pass the BP service station at Carlsruhe. Continue on Cobb and Co. Rd – looking out for the tight right hand corner just after the Mill building, cross above the freeway riding straight into central Kyneton.
Points 6 to 9 – Kyneton to Heathcote.
A very worthy place to stop for a coffee, cake and pie is the Country Cob Bakery, which is located in Mollison St., Kyneton.
So, after being replenished, head east along Mollison St, crossing over the freeway. At the end of the street, turn right at the T-junction, and make your way to Baynton Road.
Bayton Rd is a little used road which winds it way over the hills through farming land. Its surface may be rough in places, but both the scenery and the corners are worth being on the road for. Head through Pastoria (waypoint 7) until you come to the end of the sealed road, which is the intersection with the Burke and Wills Track, where we turn left onto it.
The Burke and Wills Track can live up to its name and be a bit of a goat track! It is a rather lonely road, and many is the time when I have not passed another vehicle on this road.
At waypoint 8, which is about 5km from the end of the Burke and Wills Track at Mia Mia, you will see a memorial with an aircraft propeller on it. Rather strange, as it is in the middle of absolutely nowhere!
Pulling over and spending a few minutes reading about the memorial is worth it, as commemorates the occasion of the first flight of an Australian built powered aircraft.
Continue north along the Burke and Wills Track until we come to the T-junction with the Heathcote-Kyneton Road. If you turn left here, it is a short ride to Redesdale, which has an excellent pub otherwise we will turn right and head towards Heathcote. This part of the road is a delight and this may be proven by the rumour(?) that it is used to train police type persons in high speed driving.
Enjoy this road, until you come to Heathcote, where you turn right onto the Main St. There is ample parking alongside the Football Oval and Visitor Centre.
Heathcote is well supplied with places to eat of which below are a few:
Points 10 to 12 – Heathcote to Kilmore.
From Heathcote, head southeast down the Northern Hwy.
Note: This road can come to the attention of the friendly Highway Patrol, both in mobile and traffic camera form, so a degree of judicious discretion may be required.
After 15 km, the village of Tooborac comes along. The Tooborac Hotel is also a great place to stop for lunch and their attached pie shop supplies a very superior pie, in quite some exotic flavours. It also has a very pleasant beer garden and there are times when one could quite easily just spend the rest of the day there!
From here, turn right onto the Lancefield-Tooborac Road. This road is typical of the roads in the area. The road twists and turns through valleys and hills. Some great sweepers, coupled with a some slower corners make this part of the ride a delight. The area is littered with huge volcanic boulders which are impressive to look at, and the road surface can be variable. It can also be slippery when cold and rainy.
All too soon, you arrive at Lancefield. There is fuel available at the Shell service station, and the coffee at both the Lancefield bakery and the Aspy Cafe is quite good. The Lancefield pub is another good stop for a meal.
Turn onto the Lancefield-Kilmore Road and head to Kilmore, which is the end of the ride. This road crosses a few hills, but the countryside is also gentler, so it is more settled, and less curvaceous.
As you enter the outskirts of Kilmore you can see the remains of a railway embankment where during the wild 1890’s, a railway between here and Lancefield was built. Due to the paucity of paying customers and freight as well as the upkeep of a railway that travelled along some rather steep hills, it rather quickly became unviable and was closed after just a few years.
THE JOURNEY BACK
From Kilmore, you can head back to Melbourne via the Hume Freeway, or via the Northern Highway to Wallan. Given that it is 260 km in length, it is a good lunch ride, over a range of road types that will give you an interesting and enjoyable ride through towns that offer a range of culinary choices.