For our Christmas holiday break our very own Andrew Hopper headed for Victoria with his trusty Riese & Muller Delite ebike and camping trailer to explore the Victoria High Country. Read his diary of his 8-Day trip taking in some historic scenery and two of Australia's most famous rail trails.
Trip Overview: Perfect for EBikes
- Start & End Point: Porepunkah, Victoria (day by day maps posted below)
- Time of year: January (dry warmer weather, highlighted by historically high dam and river levels)
- Total kms ridden: Approx 550km (excl Mt Buffalo side trip)
- Day 1 – Porepunkah to Mongans Bridge (56km)
- Day 2 – Mongans Bridge to Tallangatta (57km)
- Day 3 – Tallangatta to Corryong (100km)
- Day 4 – Corryong to Jingellic (68km)
- Day 5 – Jingellic to Talgarno (82km)
- Day 6 – Talgarno to Yackandandah (72km)
- Day 7 – Yackandandah to Everton (51km)
- Day 8 - Everton to Porepunkah (55km)
- Touring ebike of choice: Riese & Muller Delite (dual battery, dual suspension, heavy duty touring bike).
- EBike bikepacking gear: Ortlieb bags and pannier bags, Tout Terrain Mule trailer
- Rail Trails travelled on: Murray to Mountains Rail Trail (M2M), High Country Rail Trail
Day 1: Porepunkah to Mongans Bridge (56km)
Day 1 of my New Years Victorian High Country ride. I parked my car in the town of Porepunkah around 11am, set up my mighty Riese and Muller Delite and trailer and then followed the Murray to Mountains rail trail a short distance to the beautiful (and popular) town of Bright.
Bright is the gateway to the high country and at this time of the year it is packed with cyclists. In recent years another trail has been created from Bright to Harrietville and it’s this trail I followed along the Ovens River until I reached the turn off to the town of Tawonga.
From here I was on a fairly quiet road that climbed some 500m over the next 16km.
The reward for effort was the absolutely spectacular view over the Kiewa Valley from Tawonga Gap (895m).
The weather up until then had been mild and dry, but thunder was rumbling in the distance and it wasn’t too long before the first drops of rain started falling.The descent down the other side was much steeper so I waited out the rain and allowed time for the road to dry. Another great lookout greeted me shortly after heading off, with this one giving a great view to Mt Bogong (Victoria’s highest peak) and down to the town of Mt Beauty.
By the time I reached Tawonga another storm was moving in, though this one was much more severe so I had to seek shelter, which ultimately turned into a two hour delay.
By this stage it was getting on to 6pm and I still had 12kms to get to my destination for the night.
So in gloomy conditions and with moody mountains and screeching galahs for companions I set off, reaching the tiny Mongans Bridge Caravan Park on the banks of a swollen Kiewa River shortly after 7pm.
Though only a relatively short 55km’s for the day, it was 56 of the best km’s I’ve ever ridden.
Day 2: Mongans Bridge to Tallangatta (57km)
After a night of storms, the day awoke clear and cool which meant great riding conditions. I did a brief tour around Mongans Bridge and managed to dip my toes in the fast flowing Kiewa River. Very refreshing!
The river was to be my companion for the first few k’s as I headed north through the Kiewa Valley for Tallangatta.
The quiet backroad I followed took me through the small village of Gundowring where I was able to have lunch under the shade of the local tennis club.
After lunch I continued heading north and spent a short time on the Murray Valley Highway which wasn’t too busy before turning on to the amazing High Country Rail Trail.
Very soon I was crossing the enormous Lake Hume which is now at 100% capacity for the first time in many years, and what a sight it is. The impressive Sandy Creek Rail Bridge is your pathway across the lake and the gateway to Tallangatta.
I arrived at my destination, the local Showgrounds around 4pm, set up my camp and then headed into town for a well deserved pub feed.
Though it was New Years Eve I was sound asleep by 9.30 LOL!
Day 3: Tallangatta to Corryong (100km)
I thought Days 1 and 2 were great, but Day 3 absolutely trumped both of them.
With 100km to ride, the day had to start early. Heading out along the High Country Rail Trail from Tallangatta, Lake Hume was my constant companion for the first stretch.
The old township is now submerged under the lake. While taking in the view the wind stopped and the sun came out revealing the most majestic reflection on the lake.
From here the rail trail commenced a long and arduous climb of some 400 metres over 30km’s. With the rocky surface and numerous gates this was a tough slog, but the rewards were amazing views, lots of old trestle bridges, stunning alpine forests and cooler temperatures.
At the highest point was the deserted rail town of Shelley, which is Victoria’s highest railway station at 780 metres. A long lunch ensued in order to refuel as I was only at the halfway point to Corryong.
Fortunately what goes up must come down and from Shelley it was one long 40km downhill on quiet bitumen roads. A refreshing dip in the Cudgewa River was very welcome as the temperature climbed again to over 30 degrees.
I arrived at Corryong and set up camp at the local caravan park before heading to the pub for a beautiful meal of salmon. After 100k’s I definitely slept well!
Day 4: Corryong to Jingellic (68km)
This undulating ride largely followed the course of the mighty Murray River, the borderline between Victoria and NSW. In the shadows of the Snowy Mountains, the ride took me through the little towns of Tintaldra and Walwa.
I arrived at Jingellic showground around mid afternoon under threatening skies.
Fortunately it cleared and a beautiful evening followed, with a lovely meal at the historic pub down by the river.
Day 5: Jingellic to Talgarno (82km)
Day 5 of my New Years Victorian High Country ride featured a 76km journey along the Murray River Rd (or what is also known as the Great River Rd) from Jingellic to the tiny village of Talgarno.
This is one of the great roads to ride anywhere with minimal traffic,
sensational views and plenty of opportunity to take a dip, with the Murray River and then Lake Hume an ever present companion along the way.
With the temperature hovering over 30 for most of the day a swim was a must. With the Murray in full flow and the lake at full capacity it has been a privilege to be able to see and experience this region.
Home for the night was the tiny town of Talgarno, population not many. With no accommodation options available a tent site was found between the CFA station and the Community Hall. Not ideal but it was quiet and off the road.
Day 6: Talgarno to Yackandandah (72km)
Day 6 of my New Years Victorian High Country ride saw more of this glorious weather. The first part of the ride continued along the Murray River Rd, concluding in the gorgeous lakeside town of Bellbridge.
Breakfast was had by the water with expansive views of the surrounding hills and the distinctive iron bridge that crosses over the lake.
After brekky I crossed the bridge and headed to the impressive dam wall a few km’s further on.
For the past 3 months 12 of the 29 gates of the dam have been open, releasing phenomenal amounts of water from the rains that fell in this part of the world in October. The gates were ultimately closed just prior to New Year.
From here the journey headed back to the High Country rail trail where it was good to get off the road for the first time in a couple of days.
The trail continued to skirt the lake, and with the temperature again nudging 30 a full dunking at Ebden Reserve was just what the doctor ordered.
I hit the road again a few km’s further on where a turn to the west took me to the towns of Tangambalanga (try saying that 3 times quickly) and Kiewa before the climb to my destination for the night, the beautiful town of Yackandandah.
A highlight of the night there was the acoustic jam session at the Star Hotel, where local musos sit in and jam away, playing wonderful folk, bluegrass and country music.
What a treat.
Day 7: Yackandandah to Everton (51km)
Day 7 and the penultimate day of my Victorian High Country ride saw a very early wake up and departure from the Yackandandah Holiday Park.
The aim was to arrive at Beechworth before lunch to allow enough time to explore this very historic town.
Since my last visit to these parts, the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail has been extended to Yackandandah, allowing for a safe off-road ride to Beechworth.
The trail takes the rider through farm land and typical Aussie bush land. The new section is approx 25km long and is largely an uphill climb. You know you’re in Beechworth when you arrive on the shores of the popular Lake Sambell. There were plenty of locals and tourists here enjoying the summer sunshine.
A short ride into town and you’d be excused if you thought you were in New York City. Beechworth was pumping with tourists.
A pie and shake at the famous Beechworth Bakery fueled me for the afternoon of sightseeing in the town. If you love bushranger history especially Ned Kelly, you’ll really love Beechworth.
My accommodation for the night was the campground at Everton, approx 17k’s down the rail trail, and I mean down. A long luscious downhill awaits those heading to Everton and beyond, and it got me to the pub in time for a plate of grilled Barra.
Day 8: Everton to Porepunkah (55km)
The final day of my Victorian High Country ride took me along the Murray to Mountains rail trail from Everton to Porepunkah.
This is one of the best rail trails in the whole country with a beautiful sealed surface, magnificent scenery, wineries and lovely towns to visit.
Mt Buffalo towers over the M2M at over 1700 metres and provides a spectacular sight as you get closer to Porepunkah and Bright.
Morning tea at Myrtleford was the perfect way to break up the 55km ride.
The perfect way to soothe sore legs and reflect on the fantastic time I had over the previous 8 days.
Best Touring EBikes
Most electric bikes can take on sections of the trails we’ve highlighted. However the best touring ebikes are all-rounders which can take on all kinds of terrain that presents itself, have plenty of range and are comfortable and reliable for remote riding.
We have an excellent selection of Adventure and Touring bikes to choose from, and some of the best specialist electric adventure ebikes on offer.
You may also check out the EBB Owners Club for upcoming rides and connect with people who share the same passion for electric bike touring.
Touring Ideas For Adventure Bikes Australia
For more ride ideas and inspiration see our articles on:
- Rail Trail Rides Close to Brisbane
- Colours of Orange - The Orange 360
- Rail Trails and Cycling Trails in NSW
Day 1 - Porepunkah to Mongans Bridge (56km)
Day Two – Mongans Bridge to Tallangatta (57km)
Day Three - Tallangatta to Corryong (100km)
Day Four - Corryong to Jingellic (68km)
Day Five - Jingellic to Talgarno (82km)
Day Six - Talgarno to Yackandandah (72km)
Day Seven - Yackandandah to Everton (51km)
Day Eight - Everton to Porepunkah (55km)