updated Jan 2017
IMBA estimated rating: Green (Easy)
23.3k, 1h 40m ride time, avg 14 k/h, 2h elapsed, 50+ years reasonably fit.
Uphill in this direction but seems much more gradual than profile suggests.
One way and circular options available.
Vic Roads maps: Guildford on the Midland Highway between Daylesford and Castlemaine 59 D4, Glenlyon on the Daylesford – Malmsbury road 59 E6.
VL = veer left, 1R = 1st right, SA = straight ahead. GDT = Great Dividing Trail
Guildford has its Big Tree and old Guildford General Store while Glenlyon has the incipient Loddon River and historic Glenlyon General Store cum cafe (photo). Both stores have great food and coffee/tea with very friendly service and prices. You’ll have to tear yourself away from your starting store but can bask in accomplishment at the terminus store.
Dirt roads, one 4WD track and tarmac each end. A very pleasant ride when you haven’t got a lot of time. Suits being dropped off in Guildford (or Glenlyon). Take careful note of navigation notes along Rusconis Rd.
I was staggered when I generated the elevation profile below as during the ride I never staggered. There are three climbs on the route but only one is steep and then only for a very short distance.
I enjoyed a really good coffee with an Anzac biscuit at the old Guildford Store. They have excellent store baked cakes, biscuits and the very best pies we can recall. Sitting outside I noted that each corner of this tiny town had a ‘public’ building – the store, the family pub (which is also pleasant to visit on a hot day), the hall and the sports ground. And just down the side road from the store is a famous big! red gum.
Fortified I mounted up and headed down the tarmac Vaughan Springs Rd into farm land and less than 1km out of town R onto gravel Shicers Gully Rd. Shortly on L is unusual old excavations of a hillside, presumably gold digging. Nearing the forest entrance and with a good following wind, the dogs at the boarding kennels got wind of me well before I heard them barking their welcome. Into the forest and dirt road. Stay on Shicers Gully Rd/Rusconis Rd until Limestone Track.
Pleasant to be in the forest and soon whipped off my inner layer as getting very warm on this lovely autumn day. You could optionally take Cox Track to the right as it eventually comes back onto Rusconis Rd. There are a few houses dotted along the road with goat farming and other lifestyle pursuits. The road is undulating but nothing serious.
At 7k, stay SA on Rusconis Rd as the L track appears to be the main one. 9.2k veer L onto Limestone Track. Here I met a couple in a ute. He had just finished clearing a fallen tree by axe. The cuts were so clean I thought he had a chain saw. Turns out he used to be a wood cutter back in the 60s. Retired now but they love the bush.
Steepish down to the creek. If it is lunch time, L across the creek up a 4WD track takes you to a very pleasant spot. Otherwise follow the track right then twist up a rise. At the ridge, (10.2k) ignore Lancaster Track on L but just 25m on, take a 4WD track R. This track cruises down then veers L to head up a main gully that has a distinctly eroded water channel. At 11.3k you turn R onto Porcupine Ridge Rd. Today there is the smell of stale smoke as the forest undergrowth on the E side of the road has been burnt off.
Shortly you might see a cluster of cars and at 12k that will be the Dry Diggings Track crossing the road, If you are taking one of the options described above, this is your departure point from this ride. Do give way to walkers on that track. I more often encounter mountain bikers.
Onwards past Loop Track until at 13k VL onto Green Gully Track. A great swoop down for start but do
sit well back as there is jutting rock along the way. Then you should blat up the other side for measly metres. For a very pleasant break spot you could diverge on either of two tracks off to the L into the stream valley. And if the main stream is running then you might see my basking crocodile per the photo.
Otherwise continue on the track to ford a splash of water before the start of a gradual rise to a bridge on a sharp L bend. Then the only steep climb of the day 50m up an interesting rocky section. Take a glance if you can at the creek bed on the R and the view into the valley at L. Round the bend past the farm gate it eases but does continue for some way to the ridge where a short flat ride leads to a screaming drop to a T at Green Gully Rd. Brake well and carefully beforehand as this road does have some traffic.
R at the road and a shallow climb with beautiful small flowers on the bank in spring.
Then undulate past farms and consider dropping into Butlers Lane or Ellender wineries. Ellender serves meals also. At 18.7 k cross Kangaroo Creek, usually piddling along on its tortuous journey, to hit the tarmac and the foot of the last of the 3 climbs. This 2.4 k climb has plenty of false crests to excite then disappoint but it does relieve with a few flattish sections. You will soon see on your right the Canadian vista and then the hobby farms each side keep your interest. Eventually a sweeping L followed by R takes you up to a T at Back Glenlyon Rd, 21.2k.
L here and cruise down to The Old Glenlyon Store at 22.3k for excellent coffee, cold drinks, ice creams and other treats. Of note are the reasonably priced meals mainly based on local produce including, Istra ham, free range eggs. Seating inside (3 log fires in winter) and out. MTbers and motor cyclists welcome.
If you have to bike back to Daylesford, head back up Back Glenlyon Rd to enjoy the plunge down the tarmac to yet another bridge across the ubiquitous Kangaroo Creek.
Circular route from Guildford
When you meet the GDT Dry Diggings Track crossing Porcupine Ridge Rd (12km) L onto the GDT to Vaughan Springs (11.5k). When you leave Italian Track R onto Porcupine Ridge Rd again you can shortly choose to swing L to Tarilta and wend your way to Guildford on mainly dirt roads. Else if you prefer tarmac or want to visit Vaughan Springs, continue on down the hill and after crossing the old road bridge at Vaughan Springs, you can swing R uphill and R into the reserve for a bathe, mineral water or just to relax. Else off the bridge and L onto the tarmac to follow the signs to Guildford (6km).
One way to Hepburn Springs, Daylesford
At GDT Dry Diggings crossing (see above), R on Dry Diggings Track. Follow the trail to Hepburn Springs. From Hepburn Springs the trail is closed to mountain bikers so use the cycle track along main road to Daylesford. Side trip to the Chocolate Mill? Then R when you hit Midland Highway.