Snowy River Adventure Cycle
Snowy River Adventure Cycle Tour
This five day/four night cycle tour encircles the little known Victorian reach of the Snowy River as it carves through the high country before spilling onto it's floodplain and out to sea. If you are up for an adventurous and moderately challenging ride through the most spectacular scenery in Victoria that no one has heard of, read on!
Starting and finishing in Orbost on the rivers' floodplain just kilometres from the sea, this cycle tour takes in the limestone cave country around Buchan, high country cattle stations, the awe inspiring 1000 metre deep Snowy River Valley, it's remote river crossing at McKillops Bridge, the craggy remote Deddick River valley and the deep green forests bordering the Errinundra Plateau.
Cycling touring in this remote location means you need to be self sufficient - or have great support. We offer tour packages with three different levels of support to make it easy for you to get out and enjoy this fabulous landscape. Join one of our scheduled self guide trips, or organise a bunch of friends and let us organise a trip at a time to suit you.
Your questions are answered below:
Sneak preview: Snowy River Adventure Cycle
The Itinerary - Snowy River Adventure Cycle
See map adjacent: overnight stop locations are circled in purple, the Main Route is the blue line/black arrows, the optional offroad alternate route is thee dashed orange line.
Day 1: Orbost - Buchan
Main route: 60 km sealed road. Offroad option: 52 km, unsealed four wheel drive trails.
Accommodation: Cottages(two bedroom, one bathroom).
Day 2: Buchan - Gelantipy.
Main route: 40 km sealed road.Offroad option: 60 km dry weather two wheel drive forest road.
Accommodation: bunkhouse farmstay accommodation, twin and double rooms available.
Day 3: Gelantipy - Deddick
Main Route: 55 km, approx 1/3 sealed and 2/3 unsealed Offroad option: Not available.
Accommodation: One three bedroom cottage.
Day 4: Deddick - Goongerah
Main route: 70 kilometres. 50 km unsealed/ 20 km sealed. Offroad option: 20 km Alternate route replacing first 13 km only, gravel road.
Accommodation: One three bedroom cottage.
Day 5: Goongerah to Orbost
Main Route: 69 km sealed road. Offroad option: Last 35 km, four wheel drive road.
The Roads - Snowy River Adventure Cycle
The Snowy River Adventure Cycle uses a mix of sealed and unsealed roads which have light traffic levels. As well as the 'Main Route', most days there is also an optional alternate 'offroad' route.
The Main Route uses either sealed or all weather two wheel drive gravel roads. Conditions on these roads can vary with major weather events so you need to be prepared for the unpredictable!
By "light traffic" we mean that on a typical day you can expect between 5 and 20 vehicles to pass you in total for the whole day.
Where available, the alternate 'off road' gravel route uses forestry roads which vary from dry weather two wheel drive roads to four wheel drive only. These are usually longer, hillier and being entirely on unsealed roads and tracks are significantly more challenging than the main route.
The mix of gravel and sealed surfaces on the main route make it well suited to bikes with a minimum tyre width of 35 mm and gears low enough for some sustained climbing: gravel grinders, hybrids and off road touring type bikes.
The optional offroad routes are generally significantly rougher and steeper than the main route, and mostly require a four wheel drive vehicle to traverse. Best suited to robust gravel grinders and mountain bikes.
Depending on which tour package you choose, you may be carrying at least your day's lunch, snacks and water, or possibly all your kit with you so you may need to consider what means you will use to do so. Backpacks are awful except for small light things: as well as the traditional rack and panniers ( that's me!) there is a wide range of bikepacking luggage options to look into.
The Hills - Snowy River Adventure Cycle
This is a hilly route! If you don't like hills, you should consider an Ebike (hire one from us) or a different cycle tour (such as our East Gippsland Rail Trail rides. From a starting elevation just above sea level, the route climbs to 1000 m, dropping to 200 m before climbing again to 800 metres above sea level. In between there are numerous climbs and drops. The descent into the Snowy River Valley is about 10 km of very narrow, winding gravel with a steep drop off, so you need to know you are comfortable riding this kind of terrain.
The two longest climbing days are days 2 and 4. Day 2 from Buchan to Gelantipy has a cumulative total of 926 metres, over 40 km of riding. Day 4 includes a cumulative climb of 586 metres over 38 km for the first half of the day - the second half really is nearly all flat to downhill. Both of these translate to three to four hours steady plugging away uphill.
The alternate off road routes where available will have more climbing than this, on steeper and rougher roads.
The Location - Snowy River Adventure Cycle
This is a remote ride through forest and remote farming country, most of whose human inhabitants need to drive over an hour to buy a loaf of bread. About half the route has mobile phone coverage, so for all our packages we include an emergency satellite communication device for areas not covered by mobile phones. Cycling through this area requires you to be self sufficient, or well supported. Buchan at the end of the first day's ride is the only town along the route ( and has just a small general store and a pub): other than basic supplies at the end of day 2 at Gelantipy there are NO other shops or supplies along the entire route.
The Accommodation and Food
Accommodation and Food - Snowy River Adventure Cycle
Due to the remoteness of this tour and very low visitor numbers, there are extremely limited accommodation options along the way. Night 1 is in cabin accommodation in Buchan. Night 2 is farmstay accommodation at Gelantipy, with a mix of bunkhouse and individual rooms available. Nights 3 and 4 are spent in houses, each of which has just 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Extra beds if required, depending on the group size and configuration consists of sofa beds and mattresses on the floor.
All of our support packages include three meals a day, except where it is possible for you to purchase your own meal (ie Buchan and Orbost). You may need to do some preparation of your own meals from food that we deliver for you, depending on the support package you choose.
The Highlights - Snowy River Adventure Cycle
Day 1 The Main Route: Rich farmland and the historic Snowy Rail Bridge near Orbost; winding roads through forest; views over and the descent into the Buchan River valley.
Offroad option: For hardcore gravel and hill climbing enthusiasts only, this route goes right over the Tarra Range, and includes a 2 km climb of 10% on a loose gravel surface. The route takes in a rare stand of spotted gums on Mottle Range, the only place growing naturally in Victoria.
Day 2 The Main Route: Sweeping views of the Buchan Valley and it's limestone, cave riddled landscape. This day features a long climb up to the high country with a bit over 920 m cumulative climbing ( as well as nearly 400 metres descent). Satisfaction rating at end of day: Very High.
Offroad option: This route climbs up Tulloch Ard road into the forest. If you have time, a 2 km side trip takes you to the 40 minute walk to a spectacular viewing platform up the Snowy River Valley. The last 8 km is some of the best riding in Australia, through open pasture with a clear view right across the adjacent river valley to the mountains. Satisfaction rating at end of day: Very High Indeed.
Day 3 The only route today is absolutely spectacular: big sky cattle station High Country gives way to the stunning descent into the Snowy River Valley and the 200 m long 50 m high timber McKillops Bridge. Must see on the way is Little River Falls, and the Little River Gorge Lookout.
Day 4 Climbing up on a modest gradient from the rocky river valley past the tiny hamlet of Tubbut to the lush forest on the edge of Errinundra, with a short optional side trip to the Old Growth Walk to visit some forest giants. Fifteen kilometres downhill to put a smile on your dial for the end of the day.
Offroad option: an alternate route replacing the first 13 km of the day on the slightly longer Ambyne Settlement Road, with great views up the Deddick Valley and Mt Tingaringy.
Day 5 The Main Route: Leaving the settlement of Goongerah the 'main road' winds and dips through forest nearly all the way to Orbost, with just the last 4 kilometres breaking out of the forest into the open farmland.
Offroad Option: For the second half of the ride, take the 'Old Bonang Road' up to the ridge line: more up, and more down! Mostly decent gravel road, this route is four wheel drive only on account of a few potentially boggy sections, and a couple of short sharp gullies. It offers great views from the top of the ridgeline, and the work of climbing is rewarded by a fabulous last 15 kilometres of mostly downhill winding trail.