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Nomads Outdoors Group – Cycling: Bendigo to Heathcote to Bendigo – overnight in Heathcote

May 4 - May 5

Cycle through box ironbark and yellow gum woodland, and grazing farmland, across the Campaspe River and past Lake Eppalock. Start with a two hour morning train ride from Melbourne to Bendigo, ride 25 km to The Axedale Tavern for a country pub lunch then ride a further 25 km to Heathcote to stay overnight at The Commercial Hotel. Back to Bendigo the same way the next day for the train back to Melbourne. It will be good exercise and good fun!

GRADE | LENGTH | TYPE: Medium grade cycling of 50 km in each direction on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. This is a well established easy, gravel, rail trail of 50 km each way between Bendigo and Heathcote.

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION: The official ride will start at Bendigo Station at 11am, timed to connect with the train departing from Southern Cross at 9:05am. Due to the limited number of bikes that can be carried on the trains however, some people may wish to: catch an earlier train (departing at 7:40am); or drive to Bendigo; or travel to Bendigo the night before – these options can be selected once the accommodation bookings have been finalised.

From Bendigo Station, we’ll take Railway Place, then Mollison and Williamson Streets to get to Rosalind Park. From there we follow the Bendigo Creek Trail to just past Weeroona Oval, where the O’Keefe Trail starts. We follow the rail trail for 21 km to get to Axedale, where we’ll stop for lunch at the Axedale Tavern. After lunch we rejoin the rail trail to cross the Campaspe River and make our way to Heathcote via Knowsley Forest, the Moorabbee Hill Rest Stop (with views to the Great Dividing Range), Lake Eppalock and Derrinal. A purpose-built causeway and the 90m Mt Ida Creek Bridge allow the trail to stay on the original railway alignment (hence easy riding)! In Heathcote we will stay overnight at the Commercial Hotel.

On Sunday, after breakfast at one of the bakeries on the main street, we’ll retrace our steps, with lunch once again at the Axedale Tavern, then onward to Bendigo, where we expect to catch the 4:26pm train, arriving back in Melbourne at 6:24pm. There are regular train services departing from Bendigo for Southern Cross. We hope to catch the 4:26pm service but other options depart at 3:26pm, 5:26pm, 7:02pm or 9:00pm.