The Best Bike Tours in Victoria
Finding the best bike tours in Victoria can be a challenge. There a literally hundreds of options for cyclists of all varieties on offer. Victoria has developed a wonderful network of recreational cycling trails, mountain bike parks and world class road riding routes so suit all types of riders.
In this blog post we are going to attempt to highlight the most popular bike tours in Victoria. This may assist you in deciding where and when to ride and we hope gets you out cycling soon.
Tour#1: Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
The paved Murray to Mountains Rail Trail has to be the best bike tour in Victoria. It has everything for the recreational cyclist. The trail starts in Wangaratta but has a section that splinters to Beechworth. Beechworth is on top of a big hill, coupled with the fact it has 2 breweries, a chef hatted restaurant, some of the best coffee in regional Victoria as well as Beechworth Honey and Beechworth Bakery, we recommend starting your cycling in this historic and very cute town. From Beechworth you have the choice of going all the way to Bright (cycling a touch over 75kms) perhaps in a day, or we prefer to stop along the way.
Here is our recommended itinerary for cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
Day 1: Get to Beechworth, enjoy the food and wine and stay the night
Day 2: Breakfast and superb coffee at Project49, and roll down the rail trail to Everton, and then backroads to Milawa. You can visit a couple of Beechworth wineries then hit the Milawa Cheese Factory for a cheese tasting and Milawa Providore for their amazing gourmet platter lunches (and Redbank wines). It would be remiss to not visit Brown Brothers cellar door just up the road for a tasting, and to not stay at the gorgeous Lindenwarrah Resort across the road (how convenient). There’s even a gin distillery a short gravel ride away if keen! Cycling distance 35kms.
Day 3: After some quiet back country roads, jump back on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, up over the gradual Taylors Gap hill (the only uphill on this itinerary) then down to Gapsted Wines for lunch (a must must do). Myrtleford is only a short 5kms from lunch so perhaps that extra glass of Tempranillo is OK. The gourmet treats and views here are worth lingering for. Myrtleford is a charming town with a variety of accommodation and meal options. We love the wood fired pizza at Bastoni Pizzeria and prefer to stay at the Motel on Alpine or the wonderful Panoramia Villas.
Day 4: For some this is the highlight, as the trail glides along under the view of the majestic Mount Buffalo. A number of superb cellar doors are literally on the rail trail, or the unique Pumpkin Seed outlet, or even a side trip to a stag farm and restaurant. Following the Ovens River into Bright the rail trail is lined with poplars and is an ideal way to finish your cycling. But the fun hasn’t ended, with Bright having a huge variety of food, wine and beer options for tastings and visits. Accommodation options are also plenty from luxury, B&B, hotel or camping all readily available and close to town.
Autumn and Spring are the best times to enjoy this bike ride. Summers in January and February can be very hot, and whilst plenty of places to swim and cool off, there are short sections that are exposed and will require some weather tolerance. The autumn colours come alight in late April and May and whilst the temperatures drop, it’s an ideal time for cycling. All up we think the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is the best bike tour in Victoria. Find out more about the cycling tour of north east Victoria described in the cycling above.
Tour #2: Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail
You wouldn’t realise you are only 1 hour from the centre of bustling Melbourne when riding this rail trail. The scenery changes from old forest, semi rural to open farmland with expansive views to the Yarra Ranges over the course of this 40-50km ride. With a new extension to Yering, this makes for a great day of cycling even for those looking for something more challenging. Tackled from the Warburton side it’s a gradual climb to Lilydale ideal for those wanting a workout, or coming from Yering a delightful downhill roll much of the way. Of course, a visit to the Yarra Valley isn’t complete without a nibble and a tipple. There are so many wineries here so you can take your pick, but we aim for the more boutique style cellar doors where we enjoy more personal tastings and a real sense of wine making. If cheese or chocolate are more your thing, those venues aren’t far away either.
The Lilydale to Warburton rail trail is largely shaded, so can be enjoyed even in the warmer months of summer, and there are plenty of water fountains and nearby towns for sustenance. Crisp winter rides are stunning, with mist falling across the distant ranges and an abundance of green, but be prepared with warm clothing.
Getting to Lilydale is relatively easy from Melbourne, a train with your bike will work. Or of course you can drive and ride out and back to your vehicle. There are bike hire and transfer services available if wanting to self organise. Or you can Check out our Yarra Valley day tour that takes the hassle out of exploring the riding on this fantastic cycling rail trail.
We rate this as one of our best bike tours in Victoria as it’s close to Melbourne, it’s an easy and fun day out without committing to a multi day trip, the scenery is just divine and the food and wine treats nearby are world famous.
Tour #3: Great Victoria Bike Ride
An annual bike riding event hosted by Bicycle Network Victoria, these rides are brilliant. The annual ‘Great Vic’ as it’s known, covers a different route each year so is interesting even for repeat riders. And there are plenty of them. Whilst the basic package is a camp style event, there are upgrades available. There are sometimes over 1,000 riders on these events, depending on the location, so it can be busy especially at the camp site areas. But if that doesn’t deter you, the bike riding itself is brilliant. Routes are selected for scenery, and it delivers that in spades.
Previous years have ridden on the Great Ocean Road, through the north east Victoria using the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail (see above), and across Gippsland to name a few. In 2021 the Great Vic rides across the ‘Silo Art Trail’ and the Grampians in central west Victoria.
The cycling is normally on the intermediate to sometimes challenging level, with the occasional 100km+ day and serious incline included. The rides are fully supported, so if you can’t make the journey, collection is at hand. There is also the option to take a day off the bike ride and explore the nearby region. The itineraries also include a rest day from the bike, so the cycling is achievable for most riders.
Whilst this cycling tour isn’t hosted by Tour de Vines, we rate it as one of the best bike tours in Victoria for adventure and for those keen to challenge themselves on a longer style cycling tour.
So there’s our top 3 best bike tours in Victoria list. A little bit of something for everyone, from easy day tours close to the city, to a challenging multi day camping ride with some challenging hills. We hope this list of bike rides gets you and your friends out cycling and exploring your local region by bike.
Tour de Vines offers a range of small group guided bike tours as well as self guided tours across Victoria. We are also able to offer private bike tours in any region across Victoria and Australia, so please contact us for any bike tour or cycling holiday plans you might have.
Happy bike riding!