North East Victoria 8-Day Bicycle Tour
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North East Victoria is known for its incredible natural beauty, fantastic produce, and rich history. Each of the four seasons provides its own distinctive mix of visual delights but it is for Spring and Autumn (Fall) that North East Victoria is especially noted.
For more than 160 years the valuable natural resources of the region, particularly gold, timber and agriculture, have attracted waves of immigrants all of whom have contributed to making the region so fascinating to explore today.
Due to the early settlers’ extensive plantings of exotic trees, Beechworth and Bright are now well known for the striking hues of autumn leaves - red, gold, russet, ochre and crimson – an important visual reminder of the legacy played by immigrants in the development of the North East. In more recent times the vineyards, apple, chestnut and hazelnut orchards have spread and painted this autumn colour throughout the valleys.
In spring these same urban forests and orchards come to life with large displays of blossom and fresh hues of green, with tulips, daffodils and other exotic bulbs on display in many of the gardens.
When you mix in the region's vibrant food and wine culture, our Spring and Autumn tours provide the perfect balance of gourmet indulgence and the great outdoors.
Starting at Milawa we’ll set out for Tarrawingee where we will join the famous Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail before turning onto the branch line to Beechworth. In 1875 when this section of railway was built it was considered a very impressive engineering feat with the steepest grades and most extensive earthworks on any line yet constructed in Victoria. Today the old line provides a pleasant uphill climb to Beechworth. En route we’ll pass through serene natural bush, surrounded by tall gums and abundant birdlife. Tonight and tomorrow night we will stay in the historic Mayday Hills Village where you’ll have time for a relaxing walk around the extensive, established gardens. Once the grounds of the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, the gardens are steeped in history, as is the hotel itself: a refurbished art deco building that was once the hospital’s nurses’ quarters.
Relax for the day, soaking in the fascinating local history and natural beauty of Beechworth. We’ll start the day with a walking tour of Beechworth’s historic town, and you’ll have the entire afternoon to explore on your own, relax, or have a coffee in one of Beechworth’s many cafés and eateries, visit the home of Beechworth Honey, or relax over a local pale ale at one of the brewery’s. Alternatively you may wish to join us for a wine tasting at the bio-dynamic certified Pennyweight Winery.
Today’s route takes us through a mix of settled land and impressive areas of natural beauty with striking views. We begin with a short climb to Stanley through magnificent countryside dotted with eucalypt forest, apple and chestnut orchards and the occasional berry farm, before the long scenic downhill run through Mount Stanley Scenic Reserve. Turning right at the bottom the road hugs Barwidgee Creek all the way into Myrtleford.
After lunch and within view of several alpine peaks, particularly Mt Buffalo on our right, we’ll cycle up the Ovens Valley, close to the Ovens River, on the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail. This rail trail undulates gently on its way to Bright, is steeped in history, and passes through gourmet farming territory. We’ll stop at the Australian Pumpkin Seed Company to learn about a thriving family business selling locally-grown, fresh produce. Rejoining the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail we will pause at Everton and Porepunkah before arriving at Bright, one of Victoria’s most charming and bike-friendly villages.
Bright has so much to offer that we’ll be spending the day here, giving you the chance to wander through town, take in the local café and food culture, visit the boutique brewery, or immerse yourself in the town’s fascinating mining history. If the group is feeling energetic, we’ll be on hand to offer support for a cycle either to the top of Mt Buffalo, one of Australia’s most satisfying alpine climbs, or an easier ride along the gorgeous Buckland Valley. From Mt Buffalo you can take in the magnificent Gorge, views over the Ovens Valley, and incredible rock formations near the top. If you’re participating in the 7 Peaks Challenge you’ll be able to include Mt Buffalo as one of your seven ascents if the 7 Peaks season is open when we visit.
This morning we return to the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail to enjoy the mostly down hill run into Myrtleford for morning tea. Continuing on the rail trail we will pass through Gapsted before turning onto peaceful country back roads at Everton, which will take us to the Milawa Gourmet Region and our home for the next two nights.
Today is a “rest” day with plenty of time available to delve into tasting and exploring the farm and cellar doors, local produce, and gourmet eateries that populate the area. On the menu is a wine-tasting and tour of Brown Brothers Epicurean Centre, the fascinating Milawa Mustards, the Milawa Cheese Factory and a short ride down the road to the Hurdle Creek Still.
This morning we leave the Milawa Gourmet Region behind and head along the King Valley to Whitfield and the famed “Prosecco Road”. Maintaining our link to railways in the north-east the road closely follows Victoria’s first narrow gauge railway the Wangaratta to Whitfield line, nicknamed “The Whitty”, so the grade is very even. Opened in 1899 it was closed in 1953 before being totally dismantled three years later, “The Whitty” played an important part in opening up the King Valley. Today little remains except for the occasional mile post and station sign that are dotted along the road to Whitfield. After a short break in Mohyu we will arrive in Whitfield for a late lunch. Our menu for the afternoon includes an introduction to prosecco with Dal Zotto Wines and a late afternoon walk to Powers Lookout, the hideout of Ned Kelly’s mentor Harry Power.
Our final day will be another day steeped in the food and wine culture of Victoria’s stunning north east. We’ll begin with a ride alongside the King River to Lake William Hovell, a reservoir which supplies water for the surrounding farmland, where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. From here, we’ll cycle back to Whitfield and Pizzini Wines, where we’ll take part in a short cooking class with Katrina Pizzini, wine tasting at the cellar door, and a delicious afternoon tea of our fresh strudel served with tea or coffee.
At checkout we will drive you back to our starting point at Milawa where the tour concludes.
- Your booking fee is not refundable, but is transferrable with at least 61 days’ notice.
- Guests are responsible for choosing a trip that suits their abilities, fitness level, and state of health. See How Mulga Bicycle Tours Grades Its Tours for more information.
- Guests are also responsible for ensuring they are adequately and appropriately prepared both physically and mentally for the tour. If you have any health issues or doubts prior to the tour, you should seek appropriate medical advice and contact us.
- We make every effort to stick to our plans, but tour details, such as accommodation, menus, and sometimes routes, are subject to change.
- Guests must read all correspondence and information provided by Mulga Bicycle Tours before and during their tour.
- You may choose to hire a bicycle from us. The price of hire will be added to the tour price.