Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mt Donna Buang summit by bike - the quiet, pretty route

Only a handful of MTBers/road cyclists know about this route, and I came to hear about it from a lovely competitor at a Chase the Sun race a couple of years ago. She told me about this dirt road you can ride to the top of Mt Donna Buang. While I could keep my lips sealed about this little known gem, more people should get out there and see how pretty it is. It is so peaceful you'll forget your heart rate is in the red zone.

This route rises up through the hills, passes several springs and creeks, goes through a rainforest and pops you out at the top of Donna.

The top half of the route is closed to cars in winter. Great for cyclists and bushwalkers! It's all yours so what are you waiting for?

The only thing it needs are more corners. It's a bit of a straight road. Maybe one day, I'll have time to advocate for MTB trails to be built. There is so much forest and elevation (by Australian standards) out there.

This is what you get:
  • 25 km of climbing (and descent, if going out and back)
  • 1.2 km elevation (~3600 ft)
  • clean mountain air
  • cool animals and birds - you'll often see/hear lyrebirds and wombats
  • snow (if you're lucky in winter!)
  • dirt, unsealed and bitumen road
  1. Start from Launching Place (car park available)
  2. Ride up Don Road, C506 (opposite the Home Hotel)
  3. Reach 3-way intersection, turn right onto Donna Buang Rd, C505
  4. Follow signs to Donna summit
An alternative loop is starting from Warburton, ride west along the Aquaduct trail for 10 km to Launching Place, ride up Don Road to the summit, then descend on the bitumen road down to Warburton. Personally, I'm not a fan of the Aquaduct trail. It's 10km of flat, butt-numbing riding on a dirt track. Great for a trail run though.

Which bike do I ride?

Choices, choices! Options include:
  • XC mountain bike with gears, no suspension needed
  • singlespeed MTB (32:18 works for me)
  • cyclocross bike (I don't have one, but have always thought this CX would be ideal)
  • road bike (I have seen others on them, but personally, I wouldn't want mine to get dirty. It's really wet in winter)


Here's what it looks like on Strava:


This is what you get in winter (Aug 2012):

This is where Don Rd meets Donna Buang Rd

Don Rd/Donna Buang Rd intersection (on a particularly wet winter day)
En route to the summit via the "soup kitchen" - today's special, pea soup

Summit. Showing excitement (with facial muscles partially frozen) about our rare Australian smattering of snow!!
For winter riding, everything waterproof is recommended! We were a little underdressed. I have since bought rain pants as it was wet going back down. The wind chill is freezing. Make sure your gloves are warm enough to keep your hands working. It's nice to be able to use brakes.

Summer (aka, winter 2011)

This is what you (effectively) get in summer, or on a nice winter day!

Don Rd

Don Rd

Donna Buang Rd - closed in winter to vehicular traffic, meaning it's all yours by bike!

My fave section - the rainforest

Rainforest section

Summit on a dry day in winter

Happy riding!

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