CYCLE WARBURTON FOR CLIMBS AND VIEWS THAT WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY
|Trail||O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail East Out and Back|
|Activity||Touring, Town, Mountain or E-Bike|
|Type||Out and Back|
|Grade (if available)||Moderate|
|Start||Warburton Main Street|
|Finish||Warburton Main Street|
|Distance||21.4 km (or 37.9km)|
|Ascent||902 m (or 1089m)|
|Descent||902 m (or 1089m)|
|Max Elevation||348 m|
|Features||Unique redwood stand, ferns, hard-packed aqueduct trail, native bushland, historic water race, moderate hill climb, views of the Yarra Valley, optional extension to O’Shannassy Weir|
|Facilities||Toilets: There are no toilet facilities along the trail, toilets located in Warburton township
Car parking: Warburton township
|Notes||Can be undertaken all year though in winter be prepared for muddy, slippery sections and cold temperatures|
Carved into the mountainside above the Upper Yarra Valley, the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail makes for a wonderful ride and heading east from Warburton has some real hidden and not-so-hidden gems.
The trail follows an historic, now-disused open water race, built between 1911 and 1914 to channel fresh water from a weir on the O’Shannassy River to Silvan Dam, where it served the then burgeoning population of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Now decommissioned, the trail cuts through some the prettiest forest in the Valley, courtesy of the surrounding land having been protected water catchment for a hundred years.
On their way out to the waterfalls at O’Shannassy Weir, riders cruise past peaceful and tranquil forests of stoic mountain ash and walls of tree ferns, but the real surprise comes with a rare stand of California redwoods – sequoia sempervirens – silent, symmetrical giants that have an almost mystical feel when you stand amongst them. Planted by the Board of Works as part of an experiment in 1930 they are now heritage listed.
Take your time on the trail and you will be rewarded with stunning flora and fascinating fauna, including wallabies, eastern rosellas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and lyrebirds. Remember that the Aqueduct Trail is shared-use, be aware that you may come across walkers, runners and horse-riders in addition to other cyclists.
The out-and-back ride is within the abilities of an intermediate cyclist, with the majority being on a mixture of flat, open trail and sealed road though, whilst for the most part the Aqueduct Trail has only a gentle gradient, this eastern section is slightly more challenging than the western section. Riders will encounter some steeper slopes and more variable surface conditions. Its commanding position above the valley means access is little challenging via steep roads that will definitely get your heart rate up.
- The best spot to begin the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail East Out and Back is from the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail at the Cog Bike Café.
- From town ride east with care along the Warburton Hwy until you turn left onto and up Donna Buang Rd.
- After 500m turn left into Yuonga Rd and climb steeply for 800m until you reach the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail. Turn east (right) here.
- Cross over Dona Buang Rd and cycle 7km out to Cement Creek Rd. There are some impressive walls of ferns on this section.
- Turn right onto Cement Creek ride and head down for 650m until you can take an entrance to the redwoods through a break in the fence line.
- Explore, marvel, breathe and take in the silence and majesty of these 1476 trees ranging from 20m to 55m. Planted in a grid, the farther you penetrate the stand the more hypnotic the experience becomes and there is an evolving, community art project of woven branches that you can add to. The pretty Cement Creek and the native vegetation it supports runs to the east of the redwoods, adding to the area’s appeal.
- When you’re done, hop on your bike and retrace your path back to town and a welcome reward at one of the cafes or restaurants.
ALTERNATIVE: If you want to push your ride out farther, turning it from 21km to 38km, follow the Ride It guide out to the Redwoods then continue heading east along the Aqueduct for another 9km until you reach O’Shannassy Weir, which makes a nice a place for some reflection and a calf stretch. When you’re done, mount up and ride back to town the same way you came. Don’t forget to make time to experience the Redwood Forest.
For a slightly easier option riders can join the Aqueduct Trail at Yuonga Rd and skip the climb up from the valley floor. Another option to make the ride a bit easier is to hire an E-Bike, otherwise known as a (Pedal Assist bike), it will take the sting out of the hills but you’ll still get all the fun of biking
Download the zip file and then upload to use on your GPS or KML-enabled device or Google Maps.