BLACK TOUR - 5~6 DAYS
Our Black 5 day tour follows the traditional Warrnambool to Melbourne coastal ride.
The tour includes Port Campbell and the iconic 12 Apostle’s which are situated along the shipwreck coast, and takes in the entire Great Ocean Road finishing with a ferry crossing to Sorrento and the ride back to Melbourne along the coast of Port Phillip Bay.
If you choose the vehicle supported option, we can offer activities for non-riders including a visit to Loch Ard Gorge or perhaps a helicopter tour of the shipwreck coast. There are Rainforest and Tree canopy adventures, Aschcomb Maze, Arthur’s Seat Chair lift, wine tasting, the Point Nepean history walk, or perhaps time to relax on the beach or shopping for local produce or souvenirs.
Stage 1. Warrnambool to Port Campbell
We start by catching a V-line train from Southern Cross station through Geelong, Colac and onto Warrnambool which runs inland from the coast. You need to pre-book for your bike, as if the train is full, they may not be able to accommodate you. In the case you choose a vehicle supported tour, you have the option of taking a bus from your hotel.
Rail Cost: Approx $35-50AUD
Time: 3.5 hours Direct Train
How to book your ticket: https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets
After arriving at the station, collecting your bike and having some lunch, you will have a 75km ride to Port Campbell. For vehicle supported tours we always make this a transit day, the day before the tour as it is a big day and people tend to feel rushed if being transported and then riding in the same day. If you add a day, and you have vehicle support, we can make time to visit Tower Hill which is a rare double Caldera volcano crater. This area is known to have been the most active volcanic area on earth a long time ago. Tower Hill also offers a great nature reserve for Koala Bears (not actually a bear).
You will have a bit of time to also explore Warrnambool, this coastal town has a relaxed feel and lots of interesting history dating back to the original settlers of Australia.
The road to Peterborough just before Port Campbell is really nothing special but, as we get closer to Port Campbell we start to glimpse views of the sandstone structures that have made the shipwreck coast famous. Even though the ride is flat and nothing much to look at, it is a great warm-up for the first day on the bike and the countryside is picturesque. If you want a punchier experience, you may consider the Red ride.
The option for non-riding participants (designed for vehicle-supported rides): Include a visit to Tower Hill double caldera nature reserve before we shuttle ahead to Port Campbell at the centre of the shipwreck coast, you can relax in town or on the beach, take a heli tour of the coast and/or visit Loch Ard Gorge and discover its amazing history.
Stage 2 Port Campbell to Apollo Bay
The first 15km along the coast from Port Campbell includes a view of the stunning 12 Apostle’s and Loch Ard Gorge before you head inland toward Lavers Hill. Although the riding is beautiful, the next 16 km includes narrow roads for cyclists and if you leave your start too late, the traffic builds especially on weekends. It is ideal to make this journey on weekdays and try to finish this section of road as early as possible.
Lavers hill is the largest climb on the journey, it rises for 11km (but only 350 vertical metres). The road has a shoulder for cyclists for most of the way and is very safe. There is a variety of flat sections and a few steeper sections. A tough climb, but you are rewarded with a few nice places to stop for lunch at the top.
After lunch on Lavers Hill you will be at the highest point of the Otway Ranges, from here you can ride toward the coast to Apollo Bay on a beautiful road with more traffic or you may choose our black ride which stays high along the ridge with rolling hills through rainforest on a little seasonal road called Turton’s track before you roll down Skenes Creek with magnificent coastal views into Apollo Bay.
The option for non-riding participants (designed for vehicle-supported rides):
We visit small villages where you can try or purchase local produce and conserves, but the main attraction is a visit to one of the Treetop Adventures in the Otway rainforest. There are various different activities for all ages and abilities.
Stage 3 Apollo Bay - Torquay
Today we enjoy the most spectacular coastal scenery as we ride along the rugged coastline that has made the Great Ocean Road Famous. You will have time to regularly stop for refreshments at coastal towns along the route and to take photos as you get to fully appreciate the stunning scenery and learn the history not only of the construction of the road after WW11 but the ill-fated journey of some of the 200+ shipwrecks along the coast during the settlement of Australia. Traffic is generally slow as drivers appreciate the stunning views along the winding Great Ocean Road, and most of the road has a wide shoulder for cycling safely. Please excuse the occasional idiot who wants to test the maximum speed of his motorbike though!
After a challenging little climb out of Anglesea en-route to Torquay you have an option to bypass the highway to visit Bells Beach. As a local, we have to be clear why it is not a standard location on our itinerary. The road to access Bells Beach is narrow and hilly. During our Australian Autumn, Bells Beach takes centre stage on the international surf scene with a perfect surf break with the possibility of huge waves, most of the time it is an anti-climax and is also nothing like the movie ‘Point Break’.
On our guided tours we give you an option to finish riding at Anglesea for a group Kangaroo tour then a shuttle to Torquay via Bells Beach. The road from Anglesea to Torquay is an inland highway and has very little to offer except a bike lane.
Tonight, we stay at Torquay which is the home to famous global surf brand including Ripcurl, Piping Hot, Quicksilver and Billabong, they all started here, and they all have factory outlets in case you want to do a little souvenir shopping.
The option for non-riding participants (designed for vehicle-supported rides):
We make time for Beach play, exploring coastal villages and the Anglesea Kangaroo Tour. On arrival at Anglesea there are ample places to play in the warmer water of the shallows of the inlet or partake in various activities with the local boat hire companies before we take the opportunity to visit the local golf course tour - not for the fairways but to get up close to the 200+ Kangaroo population that live within the grounds.
Anglesea Kangaroo experience
Stages 4, 5 and 6 Torquay – Melbourne
The ride is planned for more advanced riders and as we are 136km away from Melbourne and the ride is virtually flat, it is an achievable journey to at least Frankston where you can catch the metro train for the last 50km if required (shuttle for supported rides). If you want to take your time, you can look at the blue tour which has a stop in Sorrento. After leaving Torquay you continue to Barwon Heads for morning tea/lunch and then onto the beautiful port village of Queenscliff which is at the entry of the narrow heads to Port Phillip Bay. The distance to the other side is only 1.8km to Point Nepean. Queenscliff is a great place for a snack and a look around, it has a relaxed feel and loads of history. The 10km - 45 minute trip across the heads to Sorrento by ferry to Melbourne’s favourite summer holiday spot, Sorrento is a welcome relief for the legs as we prepare for the ride back to Melbourne.
After Sorrento, the first 50 km to Frankston along the coast has constant bay views as we come closer to suburbia it is our normal format to stop at Mornington for a snack before we arrive at Frankston.
From Frankston, you have the option of catching the train but if you still have the legs, the last 50 km to Melbourne is flat and usually has tailwinds in the afternoon (especially the last 30km from Mordialloc to Melbourne) and is well worth it.
The ride back to Melbourne is a very popular bike route with over 8000 cyclists riding on the road each morning before 10 am and it is part of the famous ‘Round the Bay in a Day’ event hugging the coastline most of the way with regular views of Port Phillip Bay.
There are a bike lane and path much of the way and although as you ride into suburbia, there will be much more traffic, the route is very safe as everybody is well accustomed to cyclists on these roads.
No riding options: After your stay in Sorrento, it is a great walk out to Point Nepean which has been protected from development and remains a pristine spot for enjoying nature and for keen photographers. The rugged ocean beach with its rock pools and sandstone cliffs are a standout.
The Mornington Peninsula is famous for its shopping, wine and food and the beaches are some of the best in Melbourne. Depending on your interests, Arthurs seat chairlift and Ashcombe Maze are both great options for family fun.
Bellarine Peninsular Railway
Queenscliff – Sorrento Ferry
There is no need to book
Cost is about $8
A ferry leaves every 30 mins