Cycling and Mountain Biking in the Alpine Valleys
Whether you’re in search of relaxed rail trails that you can explore with the kids, challenging road climbs or high-octane mountain biking, Victoria’s High Country is the ultimate pedal-power destination. There are sealed family-friendly trails as well as off-road routes for adrenaline junkies, so we’ve rounded up the best of both in this cycling and mountain biking guide to the Alpine Valleys. Saddle up and prepare to explore the region’s most stunning landscapes and must-visit country towns.
Cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
This relatively flat trail has a sealed surface for its entire length, so it’s ideal not only for leisurely cyclists, but also for daytrippers on foot following its scenic path through Victoria’s back country. The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail consists of three smaller, interconnected trails that weave through charming Gold Rush-era towns offering plenty of great places to rest, refuel and stay along the way. Starting at Wangaratta, the ride is 84 kilometres. Alternatively, you can shave off about 12 kilometres by starting at Beechworth. We’ve broken down the stages of the trail below, with options to start at either Wangaratta or Beechworth.
- Wangaratta to Everton Station (27 kilometres)
Before you set off, fuel up at favourite local cafe Bertsy & Co with an epic pancake stack or creamy scrambled eggs before you hit the trail. When it’s time to ride, start at Apex Park, which has day parking, toilets and shower facilities. From the bustling regional centre of Wangaratta to Everton Station, you’ll cycle through iconic Aussie farmland, with spinning windmills, fields of wheat blowing in the breeze and masticating cows greeting you as you pedal past. This flat ride will take you to Everton, where you can either branch off to Beechworth or head towards Myrtleford and Bright.
- Beechworth to Everton Station (16 kilometres)
If you’re starting from the beautiful historic mining town of Beechworth instead of Wangaratta, the first leg of your trip is a smooth cruise downhill – a great alternative for little legs. After exploring Beechworth, grab a coffee and jaffle from Tiny, the town’s cult caffeine and toastie haunt. If you’re after hearty, seasonal fare with a healthy, global twist, head to Amandhis, another local hotspot. Freshly refuelled, jump on your bike and freewheel down to Everton Station. From here, you’ll pedal towards Bright by way of Myrtleford.
- Everton Station to Myrtleford (27 kilometres)
Following the line of the Great Alpine Road, this section of the trail is mostly flat and straight, with a little bit of a push at Taylors Gap. But your efforts reward you with beautiful views over the valley. You’ll soon roll into Myrtleford, the ideal place for a lunchbreak or even an overnight stay. Pop in to our Billy Button Myrtleford cellar door to say hello and stock up on cheese and charcuterie for the ultimate alpine picnic.
If you do stay overnight in Myrtleford, read our handy guide on where to stay, where to eat and other things to do in Myrtleford.
- Myrtleford to Porepunkah (24 kilometres)
Leaving Myrtleford, you’ll pass the historic tobacco kilns, which cast their silhouettes over the Alpine Valleys. They hark back to when the region featured tobacco plantations instead of vineyards. The trail rises at a gentle, continuous grade as it follows the Ovens Valley up to Bright. Mighty Mount Buffalo looms on the right, with the High Country approaching. Farms growing berries and grapes may tempt you to make a detour, where you’ll pass through the picturesque town of Porepunkah. Here, you can take a dip in the Ovens River and sample the delicious fare of local producers. Grab a delicious homemade pie and local produce at Punkah Pantry, then rest your weary legs in Riverside Park.
- Porepunkah to Bright (6 kilometres)
Congratulations! You’re on the final stretch, with only a gentle 6 kilometres before you reach your destination! What better place to end your trip than in the beautiful riverside town of Bright, where dining and accommodation options abound? No matter the season, there are plenty of things to do in Bright, from shopping to exploring the great outdoors and seeing the colourful leaves change in autumn. Read our guide on what to see and do in Bright for inspiration when planning your stay.
Hungry? You’re spoilt for dining options in Bright. It’s home to our Billy Button Bright cellar door, your one-stop shop for award-winning local wines, cheese and deli staples. Plus, if you visit during truffle season, which runs all winter and through September, we offer farm-fresh truffles from local producer Alpine Truffles. What could be a more decadent reward after a day of cycling?
Bright also has a wealth of cafes, restaurants, bakeries, pubs and distilleries. Read our guide on where to eat in Bright. Then we’ve also got you covered when it’s time to rest your head here. From camping and caravan parks to comfortable family stays and cosy alpine cottages, our round-up of where to stay in Bright has something for everyone.
High Country Mountain Biking
With the proximity of the trail destinations and the variety of terrain, Victoria’s High Country is one of Australia’s premier mountain biking destinations. It boasts a host of mountain bike areas, back-country riding, plenty of town facilities and a keen community of locals and trail builders who keep establishing new trails. So, whether you’re a novice mountain biker, elite athlete, cross-country rider or downhill thrillseeker, there’s something for everyone. It’s a biker’s paradise! Read on to learn more about these Alpine Valleys pedal-friendly paths.
The town of Bright is mad for cycling and offers great support services, bike hire and a trail network with a mix that caters to all skill levels. The original Bright trails – mostly established by locals – still hold their own against the more recent pro-built trails Hero and Shred Kelly’s Last Stand, one of the country’s best flow trails. Bright Mystic Mountain Bike Park has a large network of local-built cross-country trails alongside pro-built gravity trails. Warm up on the flatter riverside trails before gaining altitude on the up tracks, then head back down as fast as you dare. Kids and beginners will love the riverside cross-country trails. Also, if you’re not a fan of the uphill pedalling, you can always hire an electric mountain bike or take advantage of available shuttles.
When it’s time to take a break from biking, Bright spoils you for choice, with pubs, cafes, and restaurants for a bite to eat as well as accommodation options. See out the day with a beer at the Bright brewery and dinner in town, and be sure to grab a bottle or two of Billy Button wine from our cellar door to round out your Alpine Valleys experience (or to take home with you).
Just 15 minutes from the scenic ski fields of Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain Mountain Bike Park is yet another fun-filled area within an all-season alpine village. The flowy trails start right in the village, so you don’t need a car or shuttle before you can ride. With Alpine National Park as your backdrop, expect stunning scenery, from groves of gums to open grazing plains. Make a pit stop at Blizzard Brewing Company, which sits at an altitude of 1550 metres, halfway between the two drop-in points for the Kenny’s, Ferg’s, Moby’s and High Mile Descent trails.
Brewery founder Mark Hubbard hails from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where there is a proud craft beer tradition and a history of breweries within ski resorts. As a passionate skier, hiker and cyclist, Mark was drawn to this part of Victoria, noting that it just needed a brewery above the snowline to make the Alpine experience complete. Thus, Blizzard Brewing was born!
Beechworth Mountain Bike Park may be smaller than other parks in the area, but it combines a nice range of short pinch climbs, tight switchbacks and sections offering some truly technically challenging terrain. The natural bushland and signature granite landscape provide a wealth of rock climbs, boulders and, if you’re feeling brave, drop-offs. To give your rubber a rest, refuel with woodfired pizza and local craft beer at Bridge Road Brewers, a favourite watering hole within a historic coach house in the heart of town.
Only a 15-minute drive from Beechworth, Yackandandah is one of the region’s new kids on the block. Yack Tracks Inc, a committee of local riders, has established Yackandandah, set among the lush ferns that carpet Stanley State Forest. The committee has a vision for the area of well-mapped and well-managed cross-country trails that highlight its goldmining heritage. The Ground Effect and Carcass Canyon trails are both set among 160-year-old goldmine remnants. Once you’ve explored and worked up an appetite, head to Gum Tree Pies in town for hearty country fare, including sausage rolls, cakes and, yes, pies – in fact, these have a reputation as some of Victoria’s best. They do a mean flat white, too. (And they also have a location in Bright.)
Thirty kilometres west of Bright and close to Falls Creek, Mt Beauty Big Hill Mountain Bike Park is a beautiful place to ride. Like Falls Creek, it also offers 40 kilometres of cross-country and downhill trails to suit beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The town of Mt Beauty sits at the base of Victoria’s highest mountain: Mount Bogong. An ideal base for the family or a group of friends, Mt Beauty offers plenty of accommodation options, eateries and a brewery to celebrate the end of a great day biking.
Set in the all-season Falls Creek Resort, Falls Creek Mountain Bike Park boasts more than 40 kilometres of high-octane gravity trails winding through postcard-perfect alpine terrain. The trails sit at the peak of Victoria’s Alpine National Park and are 25% green (beginner), 65% blue (intermediate) and 10% black (advanced). Accommodation is available on the mountain or nearby at Bogong Village and Mt Beauty. Treat yourself to some great coffee, local craft beer and restaurant meals of fresh seasonal produce.
Exhausted after a long day out and about? Stop back in to one of our cellar doors to re-hydrate. We’d love to see you and take you through our range of award-winning wines.