Monday 28 January 2013

Mt Donna Buang pea souper - Australia Day 2013

What better way to spend the public holiday that is Australia Day than to wake up, eat brekky, go for a big ride up a mountain, hang out with some wildlife, and devour a Vietnamese BBQ pork roll on the way home?

(Almost as good as seeing the Aboriginal flag raised with our official flag on Sydney Harbour Bridge this Australia Day for the first time).

Australia Day is a great chance to do something fun - like riding singlespeed MTBs up Mt Donna Buang.  Donna Buang apparently means "the body of the mountain" in the Wurundjeri language.  About halfway up our ascent we veered off northwest to Badger Creek to check out some new territory.  We were curious to find out whether the dirt surface of Don Road would continue down to Healesville.

Unfortunately the dirt ends at the T-intersection.  Don Road from the intersection to Healesville is all bitumen, but makes for nice and fast descending.  This is all good when gravity is your friend, but climbing back up is a tad painful when you've only got one gear and the Garmin is saying its 10-13%.  5% became the new perception of "flat" here.

While it was a warm 20 or so degrees down in the lower altitudes of Don Rd, the temperature quickly dropped and it became misty once we reached the top third of Donna Buang Rd.  I couldn't see much in my favourite rainforest section on Donna - usually I take in the sights of moss-covered myrtles, tall tree-ferns and birds flitting through the shrubs.  But today, it was pea soup.  Visibility dropped to about 10 m at the summit.  Given that we've had 40degC days recently, riding in 7 deg felt like a trip to Antarctica.  Glad I brought a wind jacket!

There was plenty of wildlife around though - you could see and hear it.  Kookaburras, lyrebirds, wrens, and a fat black wallaby who hopped across the road as it heard us crunching along the gravel through the fog.

Donna Buang rd - wallabies in the mist!

Yes, it is summer in 'Straya
So after a chilling descent which numbed our hands and feet, we got back in the Fun-Baru (Subaru), feeling pretty used up but pleased with our little adventure.  Having well and truly burnt up a bit of energy, we had to stop at the world's best take-away: Bun Bun bakery in Springvale.

2, 4, 6, 8, bog in don't wait!

Mmmm, juicy BBQ pork roll. Bun Bun we salute you!
And a home-made coffee made by Champion Hubby when we arrived home


  1. Hi Ann,

    I just found your blog by accident looking to find if it's possible to ride up Mt Donna Buang in June! I'm planning on taking a week off work and doing a multi-day ride into Victoria - at this stage Warburton, Marysville and then maybe up to Mansfield and back again. It seems like there are a few good rides out of Warburton - this one you've written about included! Thanks for taking the time to write about it - I'm just checking out your other posts now.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Nick
      Sounds like a great week you've got planned. The good thing about this ride in winter is the national park gate is closed to vehicular traffic so you get almost half the distance car-free. You might even get snow. It's a great escape back to nature. Have fun!

  2. yeah I was really interested to read that the road is closed over winter! :) snow would be awesome!

    I assume a 29er mountain bike fitted with 35mm cyclocross tyres will be suitable to ride? I'll be taking a few spare tubes and a spare tyre in case of punctures.

    Am just showing my fiancée the photos of your sourdough too - looks delicious.

    1. That bike setup would be ideal. There's no need for suspension but some grip on the part dirt descent is handy. I've seen others descend on road bikes/tyres who look like they're not having much fun. If you want to carry less you could "insure" yourself using tyre sealant like Caffelatex

  3. cool thanks for that. I have set of wheels with stan's no tubes sealant but they are wide and slow riding on bitumen! I may end up taking my road bike but fitting 28mm tyres instead... so many choices :)

    thanks for writing your blog - it's been an informative and interesting read!