Leanganook Track - Fast Facts

Trail number

Not applicable

Trail length

58 kilometres

Elevation variance

200 metres

Trail type

Management trails, gravel roads and bitumen roads

Trail surface

Smooth dirt, fine gravel, coarse gravel, loose rocks and rock outcrops.

Weather affected

All weather

Trail condition sources

Trail features

Pinch climbs, quite a few historical aqueduct features, nice views in places.

Trail obstacles

Nothing major - some loose rocky sections of trails.

Trail Rating

Trail rating

Easy (for some portions particularly where it follows aqueduct), Intermediate (for full trail due to distance and some steep climbs / descents with loose rock surfaces)

Rating basis

Estimated

Night riding

Yes - but better as a day trip.

Family Friendly

Younger MTBers could readily ride portions of the trail where the trail follows the aqueduct as elevation changes are minimal. There are a number of sections where the map shows the trail following the aqueduct but the aqueduct tunnels through the mountain whereas the trail goes up and over and these can be quite steep sections. Check using a topograhical map (or terrain feature on Google maps).

Trail Map and GPX File

Refer to the GDT Leanganook Track web page for details of the track and specific details on which portions closed at any time due to storm damage. Refer to the GDT MTB page for details on which portions of the GDT are not open to bikes. At the time of writing, the section in the Mount Alexander Regional park was off limits to mountain bikes.

Good quality maps with reference information on ride features are available (for $7.50 at time of writing) here.

Click Image For Trail Map

 

Click here for GPX download

Shuttle Options

Due to the length of this trail, it is likely that you may want to shuttle cars to undertake this trip. My advice is not to as the trail begins and ends at the Bendigo and Castlemaine train stations.

When I travelled, the fare between the Bendigo and Castlemaine (with bike) was a massive $4.00. You now need to use Myki for this trip so don't forget to bring it along. Note that you can also catch the train from Kangaroo Flat which is just south of Bendigo if you want to pull out a bit earlier.

Note that the trains have certain carriages (usually in middle of train) where bikes can be carried so check before boarding. Another bonus with using the train is that the train station is a good place to park as there are plenty of parking bays available and room to set up the bike.

The Bendigo - Castlemaine train timetable can be found here.

Trail Description

The Leanganook Track is part of the Great Dividing Trail (GDT) or the Goldfields Trail which stretches from Ballarat to Bendigo with a branch from Daylesford back to Bacchus Marsh. The GDT was originally started in 1999 as a walking trail but has gradually been upgraded for a large portion of it into a shared mountain bike and walking trail.

The Goldfields trail in Castlemaine can be picked up from the Visitor Centre or the VLine train station (shown below). The latter is best as you can park there and the return trip by train from Bendigo brings you right back to the car.

Trail head is located at Castlemaine station (above)

Below are two maps of the Leanganook Track. It should be noted that the route is well signposted with blue street signs on main routes or the Goldfields Track / GDT signs when off road as shown below.

Overview Maps

The first map below gives you a birds eye view of the southern half of the ride. The light blue trail is the Heritage Park Walk which is open to walkers and riders and passes a number of goldfield related sites. About three quarters of the way through, MTBers head off on the dark blue trail which follows a mix of bitumen and gravel roads and walkers continue on the light blue section to the Calder Highway.

For masochists that like a good climb and want to head over the summit of Mount Alexander, there is a bitumen road called Joseph Young Drive which takes you up and over the summit and brings you out near the start of the (red) Coliban section. This section is shown by the dark grey route below. The walking only trail is shown in pink and should not be ridden.

The black route on the left is your return shuttle via Vline train from Bendigo to Castlemaine - 160 km/h and just $4.00! Forget about car shuttles.

Click on map for larger image

The northern part of the ride is open to riders and walkers. The Coliban Water Walk is shown in red and the section in purple into Bendigo is the Bendigo Goldfields Walk. Again the black route is the Vline train route back.

Click on map for larger image

I haven't ridden the full trail yet. On the day I rode part of it, it was close to the winter solstice so I took the bitumen from Castlemaine to Harcourt (9 kilometres) to shorten the ride a bit. This bypassed the Heritage Park Walk section and picked up the alternative MTB (dark blue route) in Harcourt. Harcourt has only limited facilities with a service station and general store / take away. For those interested in taking the highway, there is a good bike lane all of the way to Harcourt.

MTB Route (Mount Alexander Summit Walking Track Bypass)

 

Mount Alexander (Leanganook) Summit

This section is well signposted from Harcourt onwards and follows the bitumen on Market Street, Reservoir Road and then veers right onto a gravel section before hitting the bitumen of the Harcourt - Sutton Grange Road. Mount Alexander (Leanganook) and its granite outcrops (similar to the You Yangs) are in view along the route as are a number of orchard areas along the way. The ride through this section is straightforward and well signposted.

Coliban Water Walk

This follows the Coliban Main Channel which is an aqueduct which carries water to Bendigo. It was constructed during the 1870s and there is a good history of the aqueduct on the Coliban Water website here. The trail follows the aqueduct for 20 km to the Sandhurst Reservoir. The trail is generally alongside the aqueduct and, hence, follows a gradual slope down to the reservoir. There are three pinch climbs along the way which typically have loose rock surfaces so take care if not experienced in handling these.

Below are some of the pictures along this route.

Views of the aqueduct and across adjacent farmland.

 

Aqueduct and granite outcrop country.

Aqueduct features and mullock heap from aqueduct tunnelling operation

Farmland views

Some of the engineering work assoicated with the water energy dissipators.

Bendigo Goldfields Walk

This part of the ride follows single track around the Sandhurst Reservoir before following fire trails down into Bendigo through ironbark forest and goldfield areas. I accidentally lost the trail at Kangaroo Gully Road and ended up down in Kangaroo Flat so the video of the trail only shows down to this point in the trail. Note you can catch the train at Kangaroo Flat as well as Bendigo though all trains do not stop there.

Trail Videos

Refer to the MTB Channel for further Victorian trail videos

Parking and Facilities
Parking is available at Castlemaine and Bendigo stations or at various road entry points along the trail.
Toilet facilities are available at Castlemaine, Harcourt and Bendigo.
No drinking water is available on trail.
Harcourt is the only intermediate town where food and drinks can be obtained.
Local area information can be obtained at Bendigo and Castlemaine stations.