This Page is devoted to information about some highly enjoyable Australian Cycling tours I have helped organise and undertaken with friends (Greg Malcher, Steve Carey, John McDonald, Bruce Schmidt and Chris Brennan) in recent years. We collectively call our group ‘The Erratics’. The information is provided to give other people ideas for their own tours of approx 6-9 days duration (300-720k total).
The main photo that frames this page was taken on our magnificent bike ride in Romania in 2017. This one of the colourful food and churches is taken in the north or the country in the Maramures area close to the Ukrainian border.
Several of our now annual one week rides are based loosely on similar rides suggested in the Lonely Planet Cycling Australia (2009). We have chosen the (relatively) easy way: not carrying a tent and staying in pre-booked accommodation along the way. For interstate trips (using Melbourne as a starting point) we have typically flown, packing our bikes and panniers in a cardboard bike box which becomes our standard airline baggage. The distances shown below include side trips to interesting places along the way. All trips have been out of the busiest times (typically November) and wherever possible on relatively quiet, rural Australian back roads, or roads with a decent shoulder.
The itinerary for a recent 2 week September 2017 Romanian Bike ride is included that included Barry Golding and five other Australian guys.
My favourite bicycle rides, all starting at Kingston
105km loop to Newstead: via Kooroocheang, Werona, Sandton, Yandoit, Limestone Road to Guildford, Strangways, coffee at Dig Cafe Newstead, returning same way but via Clydesdale (An alternative return to Kingston from Newsteadis through Joyces Creek, Strathlea, Campbelltown & Smeaton).
100km Majorca Loop: via Smeaton, Campbelltown, Tullaroop Reservoir, Majorca, Red Lion, Mount Cameron, Clunes (Coffee), then back via Ullina, Lawrence & Allendale.
95km Guildford Loop: Kooroocheang, Werona, Sandon, Yandoit, Limestone Road to Guildford (coffee & cake), Strangways and return via Yandoit.
85km loop via Smeaton, Campbelltown, Tullaroop Reservoir, Cotswold, coffee at Clunes, then back via Ullina, Lawrence & Allendale.
85km Newstead via Sandon & Strathlea: Kingston, Werona, Sandon, Newstead (coffee), Joyces Creek, Strathlea, Campbelltown and return via Midland Highway via Smeaton
75km Erratic Loop: Kingston, Kooroocheang, Werona, past the ‘glacial erratic’, back via Campbelltown, Clunes (coffee), Ullina, Smeaton
65km loop: via Smeaton, Campbelltown, Clunes (coffee) then back via Ullina, Lawrence & Allendale.
25km easy loop: Kingston, Newlyn, Newlyn Reservoir Road, Blampied, Kangaroo Hills, Kingston
ANNUAL ERRATIC MULTI-DAY RIDES
Planned ’11th Annual’ Erratic 2022 Ride, South Australia, commencing Adelaide including the Barossa Valley (6 participants, organised by Bruce Schmidt) Plan A, mid-October 2022
- Day 1: Overland Train, Ararat to Adelaide.
- Days 2 & 3: Adelaide to Tanunda, 77km 2nights in Tanunda & local rides.
- Day 4: Tanunda to Eudunda 51km.
- Days 5 & 6: Eudunda to Burra, 2 nights in Burra & local rides.
- Days 7 & 8: Burra to Mintaro , 34km direct, but perhaps via Spalding 90km, 2 nights in Mintaro with local rides.
- Day 9: Mintaro to Lochiel 62km then Stateliner but to Adelaide
- Day 10: Train Adelaide to Ararat and home.
2021 Nhill to Warrnambool: ‘TENTH ERRATIC RIDE’
Again we were prevented from going interstate as originally planned. This 2021 route (550km cycling) completed with 5 (without Bruce) was therefore all within Western Victoria Victoria, with one day canoeing on the lower Glenelg River, and ‘non-transit days’ in both Portland & Warrnambool. Once the 2021 ride is completed, The 10 Erratic rides will total 6,400km!
- Day 1: Original plan Train Ballarat to Ararat then Overland train Ararat to Nhill. [But with The Overland still not running in Nov 2021 due to COVID, we hired a minibus from Ballarat to Horsham, then rode 30km to Natimuk for overnight (with side trip, 26km up Tooan / Mount Arapiles)
- Day 2: 90km, Natimuk to Edenhope overnight.
- Day 3: 78km, Edenhope to Casterton via Dergholm.
- Day 4: 88km, Casterton to Nelson via Dartmoor. 2 Nights in Dartmoor including 15.5km paddling on Day 5, Sandy Waterholes to Nelson.
- Day 6: 65km Nelson to Portland, Day 7 also in Portland.
- Day 8: 109km, Portland to Warrnambool, on some backroads via Bessiebelle, Tarrone & Koroit. Day 9 also in Warrnambool.
- Day 10: Train Warrnambool to Southern Cross & train back to Ballarat.
2020 Western Victoria Bike Ride: 8 days 7 overnights, 28 Nov- 5 Dec. . 750km, 5 participants (without Bruce); with panniers, 4,000 metres total climbing): Kingston to Pyrenees, Grampians, Great Ocean Road & The Bellarine.
This route, all within Victoria, was undertaken as the COVID-19 pandemic stopped us from going interstate in 2020.
- Kingston to Moonambel (89km), Overnight Summerfield Winery.
- Moonambel to Halls Gap (104km) Overnight, Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park.
- Halls Gap up Mount William, then down to Dunkeld (88km) Overnight Southern Grampians Cottages.
- Dunkeld to Port Fairy via Penshurst & Hawksdale (92km) Overnight, Belfast Cottages, Dunkel
- Port Fairy to Port Campbell (109km) via Port Fairy to Warrnambool Cycle Trai). Overnight, Seaview Villa, Rayville Boat Houses.
- Port Campbell to Apollo Bay via Lavers Hill (94km).
- Apollo Bay to Torquay (91km)
- Torquay to Portarlington via Queensliff 61 km), then ferry to Docklands, Melbourne and VLine train to Ballarat.
Completed Nov 2019 Ride (total 634km riding over 8 days, including 5851 metres of climbing; 4 participants).
- Train to Tallarook via Southern Cross, ride on Rail Trail, to Yarck overnight ‘Yarck Cottage’ (68km)
- Yarck to Merrijig via Mansfield on the Rail Trail (86km) Overnight ‘Moonlight Ridge Chalet’.
- Merrijig to Edi in the King Valley (via Tolmie and Whitfiled, 87km, including 1237m of climbing), overnight King River Retreat, Edi.
- Edit to Bright via Everton, ‘Murray to Mountains Rail Trail’ & Myrtleford (107km) Overnight Mystic View Cottage, Wandiligong.
- Wandiligong to Falls Creek via Tawonga Gap & Mount Beauty (66km, including 1833m of climbing).
- Falls Creek to Omeo, down the back of Falls via Anglers Rest (79km including 1354 metres descending) Overnight Omeo Caravan Park.
- to Bruthen via Swifts Creek (97km, including 657 metres climbing). Overnight ‘Bruthen Cottage’.
- Eeast Gippsland Rail Trail. Bruthen to Bairnsdale (34km), train return to Ballarat via Southern Cross.
The last few days of this 2019 ride between Bright and Omeo coincided with an extreme heat wave. Lightning from the storms that accompanied the following cool change stated fires both sides of the Great Ocean Road north of Bruthen. We rode south from Ensay into more. As we retreated home on the train from Bairnsdale the huge columns of smoke began to billow on the eastern horizon. These were several of the many fires that coalesced and blazed through much of East Gippsland for the next two months.
The route itself was inspiring though parts of the country we pedalled through were severely burnt by the 2019 summer fires that raged into 2020. The steep and remote descent down onto the Mitta Mitta River is simply beautiful. Overnight options and services beyond Falls Creek are pretty limited aside from in Omeo.
November 2018 Ride: Beechworth to Canberra (Victoria, NSW & ACT), 8 days in total 600km total, 5,500 metres total climbing. Six participants.
- Ballarat to Melbourne then Wangaratta by train, then ride 44 km via the Alpine Rail Trail to Beechworth
- 87km, Beechworth to Tallangatta (overnight Tallangatta Hotel) via Tangambalanga
- 80km, Tallangatta to Corryong (overnight Colac Colac Caravan Park, 6km out of Corryong)
- 94km, Corryong across the Murray into NSW to Tumbarumba, overnight Caravan Park.
- 86km Tumbarumba to Tumut via Batlow, overnight Ribbonwood Cottages.
- 72km Tumut to Wee Jasper overnight Wee Jasper Station Garden Cottage (via Billanpaloola)
- 99km Wee Jasper to Canberra via Urialla Crossing and Lake Burley Griffin Bike Path, overnight Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport, bike boxes courtesy Trek Bicycles Madura Park.
- Explore Canberra by bike, fly Canberra to Melbourne and Shuttle Bus back to Ballarat.
This was a stunning and at times challenging route. There are lots of steep hills including 170km of beautiful but remote country between Tumut and Canberra with no services whatever. Riding into Canberran suburbia after this section is very, very weird.
November 2017 Tasmanian ride
Launceston to Hobart & Launceston via West Coast, Tasmania: 760 km total. Five participants.
- Fly to Melbourne to Devonport, ride 36km to Sheffield
- 55km Sheffield to Cradle Mountain (in time for a bush walk around Dove Lake)
- 95km Cradle Mountain to Zeehan
- 86km, Zeehan to Queenstown via Strahan
- 93km, Queenstown to Derwent Bridge
- 107km, Derwent Bridge to Ouse and Ellendale
- 87km Ellendale to Richmond, via suburban Hobart
- 93km Richmond to Ross
- 90km Ross to Launceston Airport via Nile & Evandale
- Fly Launceston to Melbourne.
This is a hard, challenging but beautiful ride. Services are often some distance apart, some areas around the southwest coast are very remote and bike spares including tubes and tyres are pretty much non existent between the start and end. We were forced to ride into the outskirts of Hobart on the way to Richmond for repairs at an outer suburban bike shop. it was thankfully a mostly fine week. The road was melting in heat on the decent into Queenstown and we pedalled into Launceston Airport into persistent drizzle. Full point to the bike friendly Launceston Airport!
2016 Karri Forest and Coast, South Western Australia (640km)
Karri tree below, between Nannup and Pemberton
- Fly to Perth, bus to Bunbury
- 119km Bunbury to Wyadup Brook (just past Dunsborough picking up supplies for overnight)
- 103km Wyadup Brook to Augusta via Margaret River
- 88km Augusta to Nannup
- 77km Nannup to Pemberton
- 123km Pemberton to Walpole
- 73km Walpole to Denmark via the Tree Top Walk.
- 57km Denmark to Albany
- Bus back to Perth and airport.
Highly recommended and very diverse route with minimal services between several overnight stops. My highlights were the coastal bikeway between Bunbury & Dunsborough and the section of Karri forest between Margaret River and Denmark.
2015 Border Loop, Queensland-NSW Border area via Gold Coast (500km plus lots of walking):
- Fly to the Gold Coast
- 114km Ride to Mt Warning (overnight at Mt Warning Tourist Retreat).
- Morning ride, then walk up Mt Warning (9km), then 41km to Nimbin (overnight Black Sheep Farm)
- Ride 130km Nimbin to Mt Barney Lodge via Kyogle, Border Gate and Rathdowney
- Ride 70km Mt Barney to Beaudesert
- Ride 67km to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Lamington National Park, plus a rest day to walk and explore
- Ride 72km back to Gold Coast airport.
It was weird pedalling out of the dreadful dystopia of the Gold Coast into the stunning rainforests of the hinterland. The ride to Mount Barney is very long and involves a solid climb. Our advice would be to overnight half way somewhere near Grady’s Creek (no accommodation was open there in 2013) as there are no services or roadside water. The climb up to O’Reilly’s and the stay overnight at Black Sheep Farm after pedalling through Nimbin were my personal highlights.
2014 West Coast of Tasmania via Devonport (584km)
Road signs between Queenstown and Lake St Clair
- Overnight ferry from Melbourne to Devonport
- 85km Devonport to Cradle Mountain
- 141km Cradle Mountain to Strahan via Rosebury & Zeehan
- Lower Gordon Boat trip next morning, then ride 41km up to Queenstown
- 93km Queenstown to Lake St Clair
- 120km Lake St Clair to Deloraine via the Marlborough Highway (not recommended when wet … ) Great Lake and Miena.
- Rest day with local rides, then Deloraine to Devonport and ferry to Melbourne.
This was a two person ride as two of our regular riders were overseas, and it’s not for the feint hearted. Don’t take the Marlborough Highway unless it’s fine and dry. We copped log truck, slush, sleet and rain. But so incredibly satisfying to undertake and complete.
2013 Goolwa, South Australia
Based in a house on nearby Hindmarsh Island, our week was spent riding parts of the stunning coast, small towns, historic ports, wineries and hinterland of Fleurieu Peninsula. Rides to Normanville, Victor Harbour, Langhorne Creek, Mclaren Vale including up the iconic Willunga Hill. This was an enjoyable departure from our usual epic point A to point B rides. it’s a stunning area to explore but some of the roads have a pretty limited shoulder for cyclists.
2012 Victorian Alps (384km)
- Train to Wangaratta for overnight
- 41km Wangaratta to Beechworth on Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
- 89km Beechworth to Bright
- 65km Bright to Dinner Plain
- 85km Dinner Plan to Swifts Creek with Omeo side trip
- 104km Swifts Creek to Bairnsdale via the East Gippsland Rail Trail
- Train back to Melbourne from Bairnsdale.
This is a really beautiful route tapping into two rail trails at the start and end. We copped overnight snow in Dinner Plan so the cool descent into Omeo to get supplies for our overnight stay in Swifts Creek (and the beautiful descent between cassilis and Swifts Creek) was my highlight.
Other extended trips I have done in the past decade have included:
- Hobart to Port Arthur return, & Hobart to Adventure Bay, Bruny Island return (Tasmania).
- Wangaratta to Canberra (on back roads via Beechworth, Yackandandah, Tangambalanga, Jingellic, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Wee Jasper)
- Fly to Hobart, then to Richmond, Ross, St Helens, Orford to Sorell and return to Hobart.
- Bairnsdale to Wangaratta via the Victorian Alps (as for 2012 trip, but in reverse direction), with train connections at the start and end.
2 weeks in September 2017: Romania
The Wine Hills of Dealu Mare, Romania with Cycling Romania:
It was a pleasure to ride with six Australian guys, five Scotsmen, plus our guides Mircea and Alina, to discover the hidden beauties of this wonderful region, as well as some of the best Romanian wine (and țuică).
Thanks to Mircea for the detailed itinerary:
Route / Distance (km)
Urlati – Varbila – Valea Crangului – Urlati / 40km
Urlati – Rotari – Ceptura – Urlati / 45km
Chitorani – Galmeia – Seciu – Pleasa – Chitorani / 36km
Chitorani – Urlati – Sangeru – Mierea / 80km
Mierea – Sarata Monteoru – Pietroasele / 55km
Pietroasele – Naeni – Gura Vadului – Urlati / 40km
These are the wineries we visited in Week 1:
1. Crama Urlățeanu – http://www.halewood.com.ro/ when tasting wine straight from the barrel.
2. Crama Vitis Metamorfosis – http://www.vitis-metamorfosis.com/en/ with the most amazing food & wine combined.
3. Crama Adrian – the unique wine barrel maker.
4. Crama Diac – http://www.cramadiac.ro, with the special digestive pekin wine.
5. Crama Basilescu – http://cramabasilescu.ro/ – the “angel” wine.
6. Crama La Butoaie Pietroasele – http://www.labutoaie.ro/ – where you can sleep in the barrel after emptying it
7. Crama Lacerta – http://www.lacertawinery.ro/ – the most impressive location with wine & view
8. Crama Budureasca – http://www.budureasca.ro/ – with the special blind tasting
Week 2 Maramures, Romania
Day 1 Breb – Barsana – Petrova – Viseul de Sus, 67km
Day 2 Viseul de Sus – Bogdan Voda – Botiza, 41km
Day 3 Botiza – Grosii Tiblesului – Tg Lapus – Strambu Baiut – Cavnic – Breb, 115km
Route for first 3 days – https://www.bikemap.net/en/route/3880697-breb-viseu-breb/#/z10/47.5774521,24.0332794/terrain
Day 4 Breb – Vadu Izei – Sighetul Marmatiei – Vadu Izei, 39km https://www.bikemap.net/en/route/3880689-breb-sighet-vadu-izei/
Day5 Vadu Izei – Sapanta – Breb, 76km https://www.bikemap.net/en/route/4211051-vadu-izei-sapanta-breb/?created=1
Day 6 Breb – Cavnic – Baia Sprie – Mara – Breb, 85km https://www.bikemap.net/en/route/4207560-tour-breb-baia-sprie/
Below: ‘Cyclists in Paradise’ (NW Victoria south of St Arnaud ( L to R: John McDonald, Greg Malcher & Stephen Carey)