Yarrowee River Trail
You would never know you are near a city while travelling along this green strip. Ballarat's Yarrowee River Trail takes you alongside the Yarrowee River between the Gong Gong Reservoir Park and the hamlet of Magpie; there's a change through the city centre, where the river is in a bluestone channel and goes underground for a while.
In 1982 work started to clean up and revegetate the river banks, including the planting of around 200,000 trees and shrubs. The resulting flora reserves, wetlands and general ambience are a great achievement. The trail is intended for walkers and cyclists, linking several bushland reserves and areas of ecological significance. Along the way you'll encounter forest, wetlands, horse paddocks and native plantings. It's fascinating to watch the character of the river change. You can ride the whole length of the trail in one go or split it into sections. In the centre of Ballarat the trail is on city streets.
Northern Trail Highlights
1. Black Hill Reserve
The trail skirts Black Hill with a pleasant introductory bushland section. There are other trails in the vicinity for exploration.
2. Nerrina Wetlands
This whole area features abundant bird life, and the wetlands are home to many species of frog.
3. Monte Christo
Bushland Reserve. More pleasant bush along here and again there are more trails to explore.
4. Patrick O'Day Flora Reserve
The trail is deep within the forest and this is the loveliest part of the entire route, although it can get very muddy and is rough going in parts. At one point the Yarrowee Trail crosses the river and several other trails branch off, some of which are suitable for riding.
5. Gong Gong Reservoir Park
This is a great bushland escape from Ballarat, with native vegetation, picnic areas and walkways. You can ride a short loop within the reserve on a gravel road and do short walks to the reservoir bank.
Southern Trail Highlights
1. Yarrowee Flora Reserve
This is a pleasant stretch of bush-lined pathway. The whole area has been revegetated in the past twenty years.
2. Redan Wetlands
You ride through an extensive area of swamplands along the river and then along Redan Creek. In contrast with the northern part of the trail this southern section is generally much more open, rather than being flanked by bush.
3. Yuille Station Reserve
Ride through a mixture of native bush and planted pines, with wetlands nearby. The river has tiny rapids and it is very picturesque around Whitehorse Road, where you can turn off to ride to Buninyong.
The trail ends at Magpie, a settlement which once had 12,000 inhabitants. Pulpit Rock on the river bank was a popular place for nineteenth century gold miners to hold open air church services.
Yarrowee River Trail Ride - Fast Facts
Ballarat Rail Station
Teh Yarowee River Trail is 16 kilometres one way from the Gong Gong Reservoir Park to Magpie. The route guide here is divided in to two sections each starting from the Ballarat Railway Station. If you plan to ride the whole trail from end to end you would remain on Peel Street as you come through the CDB.
Mostly unsealed except in the CBD. A mountain bike is recommended especially for the northern section.
A moderate grade ride with several short sharp ascents and descents. The trail crosses numerous roads.