Mt Donna Buang east of Melbourne

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
Here's a bit of Australiana for you :thumbsup:.
Determined to start my 3 weeks holidays in good style, I rode from home to Mt Donna Buang, roughly 60km east of where I live (by road/track, not straight line), up the mountain, had lunch, then rode home again. The minimum temperature was about 10°C when I left, about 20° in Warburton, about 10°C at the top of the mountain, then it reached about 32°C during the last 15km or so home.
Here are the Vitalstatistix, as presented by SportTracks:

A few more facts: Mt Donna Buang peaks at 1260m, and Warburton, the town just next to it, is at 160m, so the climb is 1100m, with approximate average grade of 6.5%, so a pretty good workout :heat:. The rest of the 1700m climbing I did (although the Garmin said 2100m, which I think is actually more accurate for this ride) was on the route there and back, which is pretty hilly in parts. The route is thus:

To help you put things in perspective, Melbourne is about 20km (straight line) west of where I live, which is at the western end of the above route. The green shading on the map indicates hills, so it's obvious where Mt Donna Buang has to be, right? :laugh:

I used my commuter/tourer bike, because it has 700*28C tyres, compared to the road bike's 700*25C, plus the former has done just over 80,000km, compared to only about 6,000km for the latter, so the tourer will take a few more scratches in its stride. The first 17km of the ride there is from Ringwood North to Lilydale along a major highway, with several rolling hills (some moderately steep). Then the next 40km is the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail, a popular cycling/walking trail. It's unsurfaced, but with a good quality track, so the tourer's better for tracks like these. Then the last 17km is the climb from Warburton up to the summit of Mt Donna Buang, on sealed road, with average grade about 6.5%, and varying between about 6% and a bit over 10% (there is one point with a brief 13% grade).

This of course means I'm using the heavier bike: the tourer weighs about 7kg more than the road bike, which of course means more calories consumed :sweat:. Speaking of which: I've weighed 85kg for most of the year, then noticed a few weeks ago that it had mysteriously dropped to 81kg. I suspect a combination of warmer temperatures and a change in my commuting route caused this. Then, when I weighed myself after getting home from this fairly strenuous ride, it read 79kg :wahhey:. It's been many years since I weighed below 80kg. Hopefully this trend will continue, because although I've been reasonably fit for years now, I could afford to lose a few kg of fat, particularly with the Audax Alpine Classic coming up (I signed up for the 200km with 4000m climbing version of it, so need some hill-climbing practice).

Enough boring chat, bring on the happy-snaps! :hyper: Here's a few samples, plus I've put the links for the remaining ones I uploaded below these. The timestamps are too low by 1 hour, because I forgot to set the camera for Daylight Savings Time.
Enjoy, CC people :smile:.

The Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail in the early morning:

The Long Bumpy Bridge (well, that's my official name for it, anyway), about halfway along the trail. The wooden planks are very badly placed, and my top speed along here is little over walking pace. Not that this really matters, because I can enjoy the spectacular scenery while my bones rattle :laugh:.

About 2/3 up the Warburton to Mt Donna Buang climb, with a good view of a valley below.

At the summit, with the 30m lookout tower in front of me. I've walked up it before, but didn't today. The view from the top is pretty spectacular, with towns and mountains a fairly long way away visible on a good day.

Once back down in Warburton, I had already ridden 90km with about 1600m climbing already, which deserved a reward :hungry:, so it was chow-time :mrpig:. Bring on the parmigiana and chips!

Here's the links to all the photos. I didn't insert all of them, as I would have exceeded the image limit per post (about 12 or so, I think?).

Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail in the early morning.

Some more shots of the trail.

The Carriage Cafe Seville, named after one of the railway stations that used to be on the rail line, back when it had trains, instead of cyclists, walkers, horses, etc. It's popular with the trail users.

One of my favourite mini-landmarks on the trail, a lily pond.

My bike next to the Upper Yarra River, in Warburton.

A few more pics of the Upper Yarra River.

Some pics of the halfway point of the time, where Mt Donna Buang Rd meets The Acheron Way (Google Map it, if you want details, and StreetView will also show it).

At the halfway point of the climb at the abovementioned intersection, there's a lovely rainforest gallery, with numerous walking platforms suspended above the rainforest, so it's one of my favourite places to stop and have a short break, before resuming the ride up the mountain.

Some pics of the lookout points part way up the climb to the summit, with views of the valleys below, and distant mountains.

The summit, with its 30m lookout tower.

The River View Cafe in Warburton seems quite nice. I was using another one, but it unfortunately closed, so I started using this one. There's a convenient place to park the bike, and a nice outdoor verandah area to have lunch and coffee.
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Legendary Member
Behind bars
Looks to be a beautiful ride. Is there anything else up there other than the tower? Does the road go over the mountain or is it a dead end?
I noticed that the word 'Finish' is painted on the road near the tower. Are there regular races up there?
Shut Up Legs

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
Looks to be a beautiful ride. Is there anything else up there other than the tower? Does the road go over the mountain or is it a dead end?
I noticed that the word 'Finish' is painted on the road near the tower. Are there regular races up there?
Thanks for your interest, @jongooligan :smile:.
The "finish" is just to tell weary cyclists they've made it, because for most of us it's about 80-90 minutes climbing. There have been markers every 1km on the ascent, although I had trouble spotting them on that day: I think they're starting to wear out. There are a few buildings up there apart from the tower: a toilet block, and another building which I think is for Parks Victoria staff. About 1.5km before the summit, the road forks, and another part of it (unsealed) heads west down the other side of the mountain. I've ridden up that bit in Winter (easier then, because it's closed to motor traffic), and it's quite pleasant.


Kilometre nibbler
The Long Bumpy Bridge (well, that's my official name for it, anyway), about halfway along the trail.
Given that Australia boasts such unoriginal place names as "the Great Sandy Desert" and snakes with wacky names like "the Brown Snake" this may well be THE official name.

Great report and pics.
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