Woodend Mountain Biking – Ride Guide
Exhausted, covered head to toe in mud and a feeling of contentment. That is what my first experience was of riding the Wombat Track in Woodend, way back in 2006. At the time, the Wombat Track was one of the more challenging mountain bike trail loops, both from a distance and technical skill level view, and while there have been a number of changes to Melbourne mountain bike trail favourites such as the You Yangs and Lysterfield since 2006, this trail is still one the my favourites.
So when you have exhausted the mountain bike trails in Melbourne or just want to mix it up, the options for quality singletrack still abound within a short drive of the Melbourne CBD. One such place is Woodend.
Recently increasing in popularity as a ‘tree change’ destination for urban weary residents, Woodend is located 45 min drive from Melbourne and is well connected via train. The town is nestled at the base of Mt Macedon and the Woodend mountain biking trails on offer are a combination of the work of the local bike shop and the wombat mountain bike club, in advocating sustainable trails and highlighting the benefits of increased visitor numbers to the town.
With the running of a number of annual mtb events and the welcomed change from the trails on offer near Melbourne, Woodend will continue to attract riders, looking for a quality alternative. With a mirco brewery and plenty of good food and coffee options and quality accommodation choices, the town is well positioned to capitilise on increased mountain bike visitors. An additional longer loop – similar in difficulty and length to the Wombat track would only enhance the attractiveness for day trippers and weekend riders to the area.
Wombat Mountain Bike Track
The wombat mountain bike track is one of the country’s better XC/trail loops, close to the town. The trail is 23Km in length, with the majority being purpose built singletrack. Recent signage has made navigation all that much easier, especially for visiting riders. Expect to find plenty of logs, roots, rocks and tight singletrack. The riding is technical in nature, however there are a number of fast and flowing sections to keep you entertained. Climbs are generally short and sharp, with a longer gradual climb along a fire road, approximately two thirds into the ride and a final push back to the trail head.
The trail is best avoided after rain as even the smallest amount rain can turn this track into a mud pit and have you and your bike covered. To get to the trail look for the Old Calder Road turnoff (heading from Woodend towards the freeway) of which Finger Post Road is off this. Drive down Finger Post Road for about 6Km and you will see a small dam and sign for the trail head on your left. See this map for more details.
Canning Park Pines – MTB Trails
A collection of rough cut singletrack through the pine plantation, the Caning Park Pine trails offer twisty and technical trails that are reasonably flat with a couple of drop offs thrown in. Not a bad wind down for the afternoon after hitting the Wombat track. The Canning Park Pines are near the junction of Black Forest Drive and Sawyers Road. For better directions the guys at Woodend Cycles will be your best starting point.
The wombat track at Woodend is standout mountain bike trail for Melbourne and Victorian riders – definitely worth a day trip and who knows, you may even consider a tree change yourself!
Food & Drink:
The Chamber – New cafe with exceptional espresso using 5 Senses beans
Holgate Brewery – Micro brewery magic with good pub food
Bourkies Bakery – Killer vanilla slice
From Melbourne follow the signs to Bendigo along the Calder Freeway. Take the exit to Woodend – approx. 45min from Melbourne. The Wombat Track is located on Finger Post Road, a dirt forestry road. Check map for details.
Local Bike Shop:
Run by local mountain bike legend Russell, the Woodend cycles can cater to all your mtb needs and provide information and updates on track & trail status. Note that the shop is closed Sundays.
Marathon mountain bike event with 100Km / 50km / 18km ride options – held in April.
6 hour pairs enduro ride