Robert Munro
/ Rob Munro

Great Divide Trail

I had a few days spare visiting Australia in December 2010, so I decided to cycle the 'Goldfields' section of the Great Divide Trail: a few hundred kms of mostly single-track through the mountains, forests and old mining towns north of Melbourne.

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Starting out in Bendigo - from the very beginning it was a dedicated trail separate from traffic.

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Ceswick Forest - the trail was perched on a small embankment for long sections..

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Recent rains had flooded a lot of the trail - this part was washed away and I had to hop between loose rocks with the bike in one hand.

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All that was left of ... not sure - even the plaque had been reclaimed by nature.

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I didn´t make it to camp in Wombat Forest until almost 10 on the first day. I was so tired I didn´t even notice this log I was sleeping on until the next morning.

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Reclaimed land. The top left was an old tramway, abandoned more than a century ago with full trees now growing out. The top right was a lake built for processing gold. The bottom pics are all that remains of Wombat Station - once a town at the end of a railway line. Any signs of people are long gone.

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When hippies learn graffiti - some tips on life along the old railway line.

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A descent to natural springs and Sailor falls

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On a clear day, from the top of Jackson Hill you can see into the canopy of the neighboring gum trees.

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It might just look like a fallen tree, but when you have to stop suddenly and lift your bike and gear over it, then repeat 20 times.

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A short gap in the forest, for some funky/scary letter boxes, and of all things a chocolate factory (no complaints)

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A burnt-out forest had hundreds of small branches growing from the tree trunks and a carpet of blue flowers.

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Contenders for the hardest-to-even-notice trail award. You wouldn´t have known that this was meant to be the most famous hiking/biking trail in the region.

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Crossing one of the many creeks. The very old logs and small sandstone retaining walls said that this was once an important place, but who knows what or when.

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A pyramid that once supported a giant water wheel for crushing gold. This was the only place I ran into other people on the entire trail (hence the only photo of me).

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Kids, don´t play in abandoned mines. (Unless they look fun)

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Mt Alexander. It looked easy from a distance. Up close, it wasn´t suited for bikes at all. It took me 4 hours to bush my bike up the 4 kms up through mud, long grass, fallen trees and fences (I could have talked up in 1 hr or ridden down in 20 mins). Good thing I´m stubborn.

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The view from on top.

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And even more amazing (and unexpected) than the view was the huge open plateau of wildflowers and butterflies (and dozens of kangaroos that I was too slow to photograph.

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An Echidna - one of my top-ten favorite monotremes. The storms lifeted as I cycled down the mountain to the high plains, where I followed an old aquaduct to Bendigo, my final destination.