O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail - Fast Facts

Trail number

Not applicable

Trail length

32 kilometres each way but can be divided into smaller sections readily. At the Western end (near Parrot Road), there is meant to be some single trail that heads back to Woori Yallock along the edge of Timberline Road and then alongside the Yarra River but I haven't ridden that at this stage.

Elevation variance

230 metres

Trail type

Gravel maintenance trail for most of the way.

Trail surface

Smooth dirt, rocks and rock outcrops

Weather affected

All weather

Trail condition sources


Trail features

Historic remnants of aqueduct and associated infrastructure, beautiful creek crossings and rain forest

Trail obstacles


Trail Rating

Trail rating

Easy, Intermediate (due to distance mainly)

Rating basis


Night riding


Family Friendly

Younger MTBers can readily ride this course. The smooth maintenance track around Dee Road makes for easy riding.

Trail Map and GPX File

Click Image For Trail Map


No GPX download

Trail Description

The O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail is administered by Parks Victoria and runs along the former alignment of the aqueduct. The aqueduct, although largely overgrown in a number of places, is readily visible along the route as are many of the associated buildings, weir gates, bridges, siphons and the like so you can get a real feel for the history and operation of the aqueduct. Having said that, the bush in this area is absolutely spectacular particularly if you take the side walks down the creeks and the like which typically take you into huge fern tree glades. Additionally, there are regular spectacular views down into the valley which make the ride well worth while.

The ride itself is fairly straightforward as it rises very gradually with the aqueduct - approximately 200 metres over 20 plus kilometres - so its not a tough climb and can be readily undertaken by families and beginners. The section east of Dee Road is very good for beginners being hard packed gravel and a constant gradient. East of Yuonga Road has a few short hills and was a bit muddy when I went through but beginners can readily walk any sections they are uncomfortable with. I haven't done the section from Don Road but the Warby Ghostriders video indicates it is quite steep at the start.

This ride can be hooked into the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail which is a mix of bitumen and gravel surfaces heading into Warburton from Lilydale (40 kms all up).

Dee Road Section

Below are some of the views across the valley from the Dee Road entry station which is located just north of Millgrove on the Warburton Highway. The parking area has picnic facilities and an information board and so is a great spot for a break on the ride to start or end a ride with a picnic.

Nice views out over the Yarra Valley

Trail is well maintained for this section and follows aqueduct so is quite flat.

Beautiful rainforest off to both sides of the trail.

You can just see the aqueduct in the left of the left photo and this section got a two thumbs up. Good family ride.

One of the old penstocks along the route. There are quite a few little creeks crossing which are worth an explore.

Below is the underside of the trestle bridge shown above. There was a land slide in this section during the days of the Aqueduct's operation. The bridge allowed vehicles continued access whilst the aqueduct had a metal bridging section inserted. Again take the time to go for a wander and have a look. I have included some details on the history of the landslide below which is quite interesting and affected a large portion of Melbourne with the water supply reduced to only a days worth of water at one stage.

Yuonga Road Section

The pictures below are of the section heading out east from the Yuonga Road entry point. As for the Dee Road car park, this has great views and some limited picnic facilities. The trail is much the same as before but with some steeper sections where the aqueduct traverses around a spur. For beginners, this can be walked but are generally short in nature. The trail passes through tree ferns and large mountain ash country.

Note that this section was a bit mushy when I went through but there had been a substantial amount of rain in the preceding days and there had been vehicles accessing the trail to do some trail works so it may have been abnormal. It wasn't a major issue and if you stuck to the grassed sections rather than the vehicle tracks, it was easy to ride.

Above is one of the old maintenance workshops and a typical section of trail.

Some creek photos.

The trail continues on up to the O'Shannassy Reservoir but I haven't quite got all of the way yet.

The Great Wombat Landslide

The trestle bridge section is located where a wombat dug under the aqueduct causing it to fail. This quickly limited supplies to Melbourne as detailed in the newspaper article link below.

Refer to this Trove link for full article on collapse. A picture of the repair work is shown in this Trove link.

Trail Videos

This video is from Dennis Dawson's YouTube Channel which shows the full length of the trail.

Parking and Facilities
Parking is available at trailheads.
No toilet facilities are available.
No drinking water is available.
Food and drinks are available in Warburton.
No local information facilities are available.