Cycling Tours in Victoria - Australia

Victoria’s compact nature and the State’s ongoing investment in bicycle tourism makes it one of the most developed cycling states in Australia. It is also a leader in rail trail development with in excess of 1050km of trails along the State’s abandoned rail corridors.

There are four bike touring hotspots - Gippsland, the Great Ocean Road, the Goldfields and the High Country, all of which have a network of trails and rail trails to complement the on road touring options.

The High Country has the two longest rail trails in Victoria, the 134 km Great Victorian Rail Trail and the 116km Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail. It is also home to the very popular 7 Peaks, a self-paced road cycling challenge up spectacular mountain roads to the top of seven Victorian alpine resorts. Mulga Tours runs 8-day bike tours along the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail each Spring and Autumn.

The High Country rivers feed into the Murray River, Australia’s longest river and an important water source for Australia’s food bowl. A very popular unsupported cycling tour is from the ‘Mountains to the Sea’ along the Murray River finishing at the river mouth in South Australia.

The Great Ocean Road in the south of the state is one of the world’s most scenic drives and rides. The coastal scenery is breathtaking and includes one of Australia’s iconic natural attractions - The Twelve Apostles.

And … when you have had enough pedalling there is plenty to keep you occupied including a rich indigenous culture, historic colonial towns, natural attractions, and a vibrant food scene, complete with local wineries, breweries and distilleries.

About Victoria

Two loaded touring bicycles next to a blue and white road side sign that reads Welcome to Victoria – Casterton 45km. The sign is next to a bitumen road with eucalypt trees bordering each side of the road.

Welcome to Victoria

Often referred to as the “Garden State”, Victoria (abbreviated VIC) is the second most populous (6.0Million) and the sixth largest of the 8 Australian States and Territories accounting for 3% of Australia’s landmass. It borders New South Wales in the north, Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south and South Australia to the west.

70% of the population live in Victoria’s capital city Melbourne.

Victoria is divided into 12 tourism regions all of which embrace bicycle tourism.

Melbourne Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges
Mornington Peninsula Philip Island Geelong & The Bellarine
Great Ocean Road Goldfields Grampians
High Country Gippsland The Murray

The Victorian High Country hosts two premium bicycle challenges -  the 7 Peaks and Falls Creek Peaks Challenge.

The Great Ocean Road is host the Cadel Evan’s Great Ocean Road Race.

The Road National Championships are held in the Goldfields towns of Ballarat and Buninyong each January.

What is the best season to visit Victoria?

Victoria experiences four distinct seasons with hot summers (December to February), cold winters (June to August), mild autumns or fall (March to May) and spring (September to November).

Australia's seasons are the opposite to the northern hemisphere, it is summer in Australia when its winter in the northern hemisphere.

A very useful tool for working out the best time to go bicycle touring in the different regions of Victoria is the climate zone model defined by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). Using climate data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology the ABCB has divided Australia into 8 climate zones of differing climatic characteristics.

The different climate zone boundaries are aligned to the Victorian local government boundaries. The planning authorities use the zones to determine the heating, cooling and insulation requirements for new buildings.

Victoria’s tourism regions are also defined by local government boundaries so the climate zone model can easily be used to inform your decisions about the best time for your cycling tour in Victoria.

To assist with the planning for your bike ride we have matched the climate zones with each of Victoria’s tourism regions.

Two coloured maps of Victoria, one above the other. The top map shows the four climate zones experienced in Victoria. Each zone is represented by a different colour – Arid, Mild Temperate, Cool Temperate and Alpine. The bottom map shows the 12 tourism regions of Victoria. Each region is represented by a different colour, the regions are - Melbourne, Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges, Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Philip Island, Geelong & The Bellarine, Great Ocean Road, Goldfields, Grampians, High Country, Gippsland and The Murray.

Climate Zone map of Victoria and Tourism Region map of Victoria

Zone 4 – Arid: Distinct seasons with low humidity all year round. Extremely hot dry summers, cool winters. Summers commonly have hot, dry winds; winters have cold dry winds. Extreme heat in summer can exceed human comfort range. Low rainfall. 

Zone 6 – Mild Temperate: Four distinct seasons, mild to cool winters with low humidity, hot to very hot summers with moderate humidity. Spring and autumn are ideal for human comfort. Heat in summer and cold in winter can exceed human comfort range. 

Zone 7 – Cool Temperate: Four distinct seasons, cold to very cold winters with majority of rainfall, hot dry summers. Comfortable spring and autumn conditions. Low humidity. High summer temperatures may exceed human comfort range. Winter can fall short of human comfort range.

Zone 8 – Alpine: Four distinct seasons, cold to very cold winters with majority of rainfall and some snowfall. Winter can fall short of human comfort range. Warm to hot, dry summers. Variable spring and autumn conditions. Low humidity. 

The key is to time your cycling tour so that you are taking full advantage of the seasonal variations across the state. For example:

  • April to May is the time to enjoy the autumn colour in the High Country towns of Beechworth and Bright. Although the peaks may be covered in snow the sealed rails trails are fully accessible. 
  • North East Victoria 8-Day Spring Bicycle Tour

    Wrap yourself in the incredible natural beauty and history of North East Victoria’s mountains, valleys and rivers. On this bike tour you will enjoy gastronomic delights, visit wineries, distilleries and breweries and explore the alpine townships of Beechworth, Stanley, Myrtleford, Bright, Milawa and Whitfield.

    More about this tour

  • North East Victoria 8-Day Autumn Bike Tour

    Immerse yourself in the autumn colours of North East Victoria on this eight-day bicycle tour. Enjoy gastronomic delights, explore alpine townships from Beechworth to Bright, and take in some fascinating history along the way.

    More about this tour

  • Summer is the best time to visit Gippsland when rainfall is at its lowest. Time your visit to avoid the peak school holiday season.
  • February to March and October to November are the best time to organise a bike ride along the Great Ocean Road.
  • Winter is generally mild and dry in the Goldfields and Grampians making cycling possible most of the year. Our favourite time is March to November.
  • The Mornington Peninsula is best either side of summer but being so close to Melbourne it can be busy on weekends so time your visit for Monday to Friday.

The only time we avoid Victoria as a bicycle touring destination is mid summer when the risk of bush fires is at its highest. The state has a catastrophic history of deadly fires and a bicycle would offer no protection if one was to start in your cycling locality. If you are travelling during bush fire season be sure to take a look at - When is the Bush Fire Danger period?

What is the best time to visit Victoria?

High season or peak holiday times in NSW are linked to the state’s school and public holidays. Mostly these are the same, with some slight variations, as the other Australian states and territories. More information about high and low seasons, including dates, can be found in our answer to the question - “What is the best time to visit Australia?

A triptych of 3 photos. Left – Two cyclists on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Middle – Gin tasting at the Hurdle Creek. Right - Four guests relax at the Whitty Café after a bike tour through the King Valley.

Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, Hurdle Creek Gin Distillery, The Whitty Café in Whitfield.

How to stay safe in the sun?

The Australian sun can be extremely intense, which means if you do not take appropriate precautions prolonged sun exposure can be bad for your health. In fact, Australia has the highest level of skin cancer in the world. To avoid getting burnt by the sun, follow the 5 SunSmart rules – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

What are Summer Heatwaves?

Summer brings an increased likelihood of extreme heat waves where very hot days are followed by hot nights making it hard for your body to cool down. Even fit and healthy people can become very ill during these periods, therefore, if you are on a cycling tour you should avoid strenuous activity during times of extreme heat. If untreated, heat illness can lead to the more serious and potentially life-threatening condition of heat stroke. Heatwaves should not be underestimated as they cause more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard.

All sporting organisations in Australia have hot weather guidelines that they use to determine if a sporting activity needs to be modified or cancelled during periods of hot weather.

It is not uncommon for the Tour Down Under to shorten its competitive stages and cancel the community rides during heatwave conditions.

When is the Bush Fire Danger period? 

In New South Wales summer also brings an increased risk of bush fires. If you are planning a bike ride during the bush fire season it is important that you monitor the Fire Danger Rating each day. This will help you assess your level of bush fire risk so you can plan what to do if a fire was to start near you. It is important to understand that the Fire Danger Rating IS NOT a predictor of how likely a bush fire is to occur but an indicator of how dangerous a bush fire may be if it does occur.

A cyclist’s guide to road rules in Victoria

Australians ride and drive on the LEFT SIDE of two-way roads.

Under the Australian Road Rules a bicycle is considered a vehicle and as such cyclists have the same responsibilities and rights as other road users. Some road rules are specific to bicycles and these vary between the states.

For more information about how to ride safely and how the road rules apply to cyclists in Victoria please go here ...

Panoramic view of the undulating farmland  around Red Rock Lookout.

The Red Rock lookout, 12 km from Colac, is one of Australia’s youngest volcanoes. From the lookout, the magnificent 360 degree views include the topography of the volcanic plain and the 25,000 hectare Lake Corangamite.

Supported cycling tours in Victoria

Mulga has a full calendar of supported Australian cycling tours that fit with the seasons and optimum touring times. Tours vary in length from 3 to 12 days with daily distances averaging 70km.

Every Mulga tour is achievable by the average cyclist with the focus on enjoying each day, not stacking up the kilometres or racing the clock. Our goal is to soak in the scenery, marvel at fascinating stories, then recharge the batteries with a good feed and a good rest.

To see our calendar of guided Australian cycling tours please go here.

Mulga Tours offers the following supported cycling tours in Victoria.

If none of these bicycle tours suit, or a tour in which you are interested is not currently scheduled, feel free to Contact Us and we’ll work with you to provide a customised or private alternative.

  • North East Victoria 8-Day Spring Bicycle Tour

    Wrap yourself in the incredible natural beauty and history of North East Victoria’s mountains, valleys and rivers. On this bike tour you will enjoy gastronomic delights, visit wineries, distilleries and breweries and explore the alpine townships of Beechworth, Stanley, Myrtleford, Bright, Milawa and Whitfield.

    More about this tour

  • North East Victoria 8-Day Autumn Bike Tour

    Immerse yourself in the autumn colours of North East Victoria on this eight-day bicycle tour. Enjoy gastronomic delights, explore alpine townships from Beechworth to Bright, and take in some fascinating history along the way.

    More about this tour

  • Murray to Mountains 5-Day Autumn Bike Tour

    Enjoy the autumn colours of Victoria's High Country on this five-day bicycle tour along the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Learn about the regions history and explore the alpine townships of Beechworth, Bright, Milawa and Whitfield.

    More about this tour

  • Three Rivers

    Experience the beauty of the Kiewa, Ovens and King rivers and valleys. Appreciate the delicious food, local wineries and breweries, and learn about the region’s intriguing history on this 8-day biking tour.

    More about this tour

  • Three Rivers and a Waterfall

    This is a special version of our Three Rivers tour, offering two-night stays in each of four unique locations. Enjoy delicious food and wine, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of North-East Victoria.

    More about this tour

Supported cycling tours in NSW

  • Country NSW Canberra To Dubbo 11-Day Cycling Tour

    NEW Tour in 2019. Enjoy the best of inland NSW on this easy-does-it cycling tour from Canberra to Dubbo. Ride past fields of golden canola. Visit charming historic villages, enjoy delicious local produce and take in some fascinating attractions.

    More about this tour

  • Sarah Maddock Sydney to Melbourne 125 Year Commemorative Cycling Tour

    Celebrate the achievements of Sarah Maddock the first woman to ride from Sydney to Melbourne in 1894. Our route is a modern day version of Sarah’s 1894 Sydney to Melbourne achievement taking in some new towns and the Murray to Mountains and Great Victorian rail trails.

    More about this tour

  • Bicycle tour of NSW and Canberra's Enlighten Festival

    This bike tour of Canberra and surrounding New South Wales is extra special. Why? Because it coincides with the renowned Enlighten Festival. You'll see Canberra in a whole new light. Ride, Eat, See and Explore.

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  • Capital Country ANZAC Day

    Our special ANZAC cycle tour combines an exhilarating autumn ride through the spectacular Capital Country with the chance to take part in a beautiful ANZAC Day ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

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  • Capital Country Floriade

    This glorious spring experience combines the delights of Canberra, including a visit to the world-class Floriade festival, with an invigorating cycle tour through the spectacular scenery and historic townships of South East NSW.

    More about this tour

Supported cycling tours in the Australian Capital Territory

  • Canberra's Enlighten 3 Day Bicycle Tour

    Enjoy the scenery and tranquillity as you cycle from Canberra to Goulburn. Rest in charming country towns each night, then put your feet up for the transfer back to Canberra.

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  • Capital Country, Truffles & Bettongs

    Rug up for a wonderful winter cycling experience. Take in all the delights of Canberra, take part in a thrilling truffle hunt, then ride through the spectacular scenery of the majestic Capital Region.

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  • Capital Country 3 Day Floriade

    Join us for the last three days of our Floriade 2018 tour and enjoy the scenery and tranquillity as you cycle from Canberra to Goulburn. Rest in charming country towns each night, then put your feet up for the transfer back to Canberra.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Spring Tour

    A spring bike tour of Canberra’s most spectacular cycle routes. Be enchanted by Canberra’s delights and immerse yourself in the cultural, historical and natural highlights of the wider region.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Spring Tour - 5 Days

    Spring into the new season with this 5-day 4-night bike tour through SE NSW. Take in breathtaking views and all the highlights of Capital Country. Enjoy overnight stays in Gunning, Crookwell, Goulburn and Bungendore.

    More about this tour

Cycling day tours of Canberra and the ACT

  • Private Guided Bicycle Tours of Canberra

    You tell us what you want to see and how far you would like to ride and we will curate a private guided bicycle tour that is personalised and tailored to fit your schedule, ability, interests, and budget. 

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  • Capital Highlights Tour

    Explore the historical, political and cultural sites of Canberra on a bicycle. This tour provides an excellent orientation for all visitors to Canberra. Price includes a light lunch, guide, bike, helmet and a small bike mounted bag to carry your gear.

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  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Tour

    Cycle through Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on its 35kph 16 kilometre sealed loop road and experience Australian fauna and flora first-hand. Price includes a picnic lunch, guide, bike, helmet and a small bike mounted bag to carry your gear.

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  • Capital Twilight Tour

    This bike tour is a shorter version of our Capital Highlights Tour with a special side trip to the Australian War Memorial to attend The Last Post Ceremony. Price includes guide, bike, helmet and a small bike mounted bag to carry your gear.

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Supported cycling tours in Queensland

  • Cairns To Karumba Across Cape York Bike Ride

    A Queensland cycling adventure like no other. A 10-day bike tour from Cairns to Karumba, complete with plenty of spectacular scenery, intriguing wildlife & plenty of fascinating stories to keep you company.

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  • Cairns to Karumba across Cape York

    The outback experience of a lifetime. Start near the sea and traverse rainforest, mountains and savannah as we cross Cape York, arriving in the Gulf of Carpentaria to watch the sunset over the sea.

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  • Carnarvon Gorge & The Great Inland Way Cycling Tour

    A bicycle tour from St George to Emerald through the many changing landscapes of Queensland's Great Inland Way. Includes two days exploring the magnificent Carnarvon Gorge National Park.

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Supported cycling tours in South Australia

  • Spirit of Eyre Peninsula 12-Day Cycling Tour

    NEW Tour in 2019. Mulga Tours will show you the best places to visit on Eyre Peninsula. You will ride, explore, relax and dine and if you wish we can ramp up the excitement and take you cage diving with Great White Sharks. What more could you want from a bike tour?

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