Great Ocean Road & Victorian High Country 2021

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Amy's Great Ocean Road Gran Fondo & Victorian High Country

21 October - 2 November 2021 (13 Days / 12 Nights)

The Great Ocean Road is a heritage-listed road that stretches 243 kilometres along the south-eastern coast of Australia. Tick off some of the most picturesque towns along this majestic coastline - Apollo Bay, Wye River, Lorne, Anglesea, Torquay to name but a few. The road was built by returning soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to fallen WW1 soldiers. Making it the world's largest war memorial. Our destination is the 12 Apostles, a natural wonder of the world.

Overview of the Tour

Additionally, for each tour, we like to have some sort of event focus. On this tour, we will participate in Amy's Great Ocean Road Gran Fondo. This amazing event began in 2011, in support of The Amy Gillett Foundation. The AGF was established in 2005 in memory of Amy Gillett after the Australian Women's Cycling Team were involved in a tragic accident while training in Germany. This Fondo was created to remember Amy and raise awareness for cyclist safety.

Then we leave the surf coast and head for the hills. Not just any ordinary hills, but the Victorian High Country. With a ride to suit every cyclist, Victoria's High Country is recognised as one of Australia's premium cycling destination. For the next 3 days, we plan to cycle 4 of the 7 Peaks Challenge.

Normal Ride Holidays standards apply - the perfect mix of cycling, sightseeing, cafés, wineries and restaurants.

If that's not enough of an epic adventure, we've positioned this tour around Australia's most famous annual horse race The Melbourne Cup. With a long tradition dating back to 1861, the first Tuesday in November has become more than just a horse race. With over 100 thousand people descending on the Flemington each year, there's something for everyone from fashions on the field, iconic Flemington rose garden, and not to mention the majestic animals racing for that ultimate prize.

Great Ocean Road | Tour Details

Tour Inclusions


  • 4-star quality hotels where possible
  • 2 nights Melbourne CBD
  • 3 nights Lorne
  • 2 nights Apollo Bay
  • 1 night Mansfield
  • 4 nights Bright

Amazing Cycling

  • Ride up to 200km of the Great Ocean Road
  • Choice of two guided rides daily - 50 kms to 110kms plus
  • Local Melbourne guides who know every nook and cranny
  • Climb 5 iconic Victorian Alpine summits

General Cycling Tour Details

  • Hand-picked cafes and restaurants
  • All Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 9 Dinners and some cycling snacks
  • Amy's Great Ocean Road Gran Fondo entry
  • Separate itinerary, vehicle and guide for Team Macchiato (non-riders)
  • Support vehicles and bike trailers
  • Airport transfers for those arriving 21OCT & departing 02 FEB
  • 10-week training program
  • Souvenir 40 page booklet included
  • RIDE Holidays cycle jersey
  • GPS routes available for upload to personal devices

    The Tour Price Excludes

    • Airfares and extra accommodation
    • Cycling drinks & bars, additional meals, alcohol.
    • Travel Insurance - including cover for your bikes.

    The Tour Cost

    • NZD5800.00 // AUD 5400.00 (Twin Share)

    Want your own room? Single supplement $NZD1250.00 // AUD1150.00


      Bike Hire - Please contact Dean for more details.

      Extra Melbourne accommodation & Breakfast $NZD170.00pp // $AUD160pp twin share.

      The cost for non-riders is the same as for cyclists. We pay for a lot of your winery lunches, entry fees etc etc.

      In lieu of COVID-19, all future bookings do not require a deposit. Full balance required 60days prior to departure. ** This may change later on in the year if the situation improves. We only see that as a good thing.

        Click on the map to view a larger version

        Great Ocean Road Tour Itinerary

        Day 1, Thursday 21 October

        Explore Melbourne's CBD and the Yarra River bike paths

        Welcome to Melbourne. Ideally, you would arrive before midday. Our hotel is in central Melbourne on Southbank. A short 1.5km walk to the sporting precinct. You are within minutes of city shopping, the Yarra River along with numerous cafes and restaurants.

        This afternoon we'll help you assemble the bikes and then pop out for a short ride along the River bike path. Just to make sure there are no mechanical issues.

        Team Mac - While your partners are building bikes, you're in for a real treat. We have a short walk planned to visit the Eureka Skydeck. This is the highest public observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere. They offer unparalleled views of Melbourne.

        Tonight, we have booked an amazing restaurant along the South Bank restaurant/ café strip to welcome and introduce the team. Tomorrow is a big day.

        What a start to what will be an epic 13 days!

        / Accommodation: CBD Mantra Southbank
        / Meals Included: Dinner

        Day 2, Friday 22 October

        Cycling, Ferries, Great White Shark spotting and the Great Ocean Road

        This morning, we'll have to be logistically smart as the ferry waits for no one. After breakfast, we will load all the luggage into the vans and head out (on bike) to Melbourne's Docklands to catch our 9:30 am Ferry. It takes just over 1 hour to cross Port Phillip Bay to the historical coastal township of Portarlington. From there, we will have multiple ride options in place.

        If you don't want to ride the whole 100km distance to Lorne, the vans will meet us in Portarlington to drive you up the road to Torquay. "The gateway to The Great Ocean Road".

        Team Mac - This morning, you will head to Barwon. Made famous for the TV series "Seachange" this small seaside village offers many sights to see. I'm sure Diver Dan is still hanging around the beach somewhere or possibly working at the Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary.

        / Today's Ride: 50km or 100km cycling (500m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Mantra Lorne
        / Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

        Day 3, Saturday 23 October

        Exploring Lorne

        Cyclist, today is designed to soak up the atmosphere and explore the area. The roads will become increasingly busier with Fondo participants arriving today so we will aim to be off the roads from midday.

        Option 1 - Check out the climb for tomorrows GF start then onto Aireys Inlet for coffee

        Option 2 - Ride and coffee at Aireys Inlet 40km return

        Option 3 - Join Team Mac

        Team Mac - The Otway Ranges are infamous for their high rainfall and that's good news for us, it means amazing waterfalls and there happens to be one of the best in the area only 15 minutes away. There's an easy walk to the first lookout or a more strenuous but rewarding climbing down 230 steps to the second lookout where you see the waterfalls in all their glory. Comfy walking shoes are a must today. If you're really keen, why not continue the 7.5km walk along the Erskine River back to Lorne.

        This afternoon let's head into town, pick up our Fondo packs and soak up the party atmosphere. Tonight, we'll have an early dinner at the hotel to discuss tomorrow's event details.

        / Today's Ride: 50km - 70km cycling (400m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Mantra Lorne
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 4, Sunday 24 October

        Amy's Gran Fondo

        You will need your climbing legs today as it's an 11.2km and 450meter climb out of Lorne up to Deans Marsh (Benwerrin Peak). We then traverse across the Otway Ranges before descending into Skenes Creek. From there it's the final 43km winding back along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne. Don't worry about the photo's today, as we will have plenty of opportunities tomorrow when we ride the same stretch of road to Apollo Bay.

        The complete course is 130km and 1903meters of climbing on fully closed roads with a shorter option of 45km Apollo Bay to Lorne.

        Team Mac - After you wave off your partner at the start/ finish line, let's get a coffee at the Lorne Sea Baths before heading to the Great Ocean Road Chocolate & Ice Creamery in Anglesea. Once there, you will be welcomed with a spectacular showroom filled with thousands of chocolates and pastries. You deserve it after that walk yesterday. On the way back, let's drop into Aireys Inlet for lunch and then onto the famous Great Ocean Road Gin Tasting room. Chocolate & Gin, what more can you ask for in a day?

        Tonight is your choice for dinner.

        / Today's Ride: 45km or 130km cycling (1900m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Mantra Lorne
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner own arrangements)

        Day 5, Monday 25 October

        Lorne to Apollo Bay recovery ride

        Yesterday was tough on the legs, so today is all about recovery and plenty of cake & coffee. You'll have earnt it.

        The beautiful thing about this trip is that you bike hotel to hotel with very little van time. We'll take care of all the logistics. The actual distance for today isn't great which means that there's plenty of time for photos, coffee and simply stopping to take everything in. If you're keen on more riding, let us know, we can always add a few false flats and loops of the local area.

        Great Otway National Park covers rugged coastland, beaches and the mountains of the Otway Ranges. Waterfalls dot the park, including the 3 cascades of Triplet Falls. Boardwalks lead through temperate rainforest at Maits Rest.

        Team Mac - Let's check out a few of the cottage industries along the Otway Harvest Trail. Today we will start with a short drive and then walk the Cape Otway Lighthouse trail stopping at the original Assistant lightkeepers residence from 1858 which has now been converted to a café. Next, let's join the riders for a late lunch at Apollo Bay.

        / Today's Ride: 50km - 70km cycling (200m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Waterfront Motel - Apollo Bay
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 6, Tuesday 26 October

        Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles

        Tell anyone that you are off to the Great Ocean Road and their first question will always be "did you see the 12 Apostles"? You will be able to say yes and no to that question. Yes, you saw the Apostles, no, you didn't see 12 as there's only 8 remaining. Let's get there before that changes to 7.

        Today is kind of perfect - we start with a nice relaxed breakfast and then hop on our bikes where we ride the 80km to the 12 Apostles. Keep the waters of Bass Straight on your left. Even Dingo won't get lost.

        Team Mac - Will meet us at the Apostles after some retail Apollo Bay retail therapy. There will be plenty of time for everyone to go for a good walk. After you're finished, we hop back in the vehicles and drive back to our Apollo Bay motel.

        Tonight, is your choice for dinner, however, I have booked a large table at the #1 Craft Beer destination on the Great Ocean Road - The Great Ocean Road Brewhouse.

        / Today's Ride: 80km - 100km cycling (1000m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Waterfront Motel - Apollo Bay
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner - own arrangements)

        Day 7, Wednesday 27 October

        The Mountains await

        After 7 days of riding, your legs will be grateful for a day off the bike. Today is purely a transfer day as we need to cover just under 400km. Our target is the small town in the foothills of the Victorian Alps - Mansfield. Extremely popular with skiers in the winter and Cyclists in the summer, this town will be our springboard to our first of 5 mountain summits.

        The Victorian Alps is an extensive mountain range that forms the southern part of the Australian Alps and is approximately 519,866 hectares (1,284,620 acres).

        The highest peak in the range is Mount Bogong at an elevation of 1,986 metres (6,516 ft), which is also the highest peak in Victoria.

        / Accommodation: Mansfield Motel
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 8, Thursday 28 October

        Mount Buller & Bright

        Today is a real treat for the mountain goats amongst us. After an early breakfast, we will ride the 32km of undulating roads to the base of the climb - Mirimbah. We will have options in place if you need extra time on the climb. We will simply load up the vehicles and drive you to the base of the climb.

        From the tollbooth in Mirimbah to Mount Buller Village is Approx. 16 kilometres long with an average gradient of 6.2% of spectacular High-Country scenery. That said, make sure you leave something in the legs for the final kilometres aptly named Hell Corner as it's the steepest part of this climb at a 13% gradient.

        Plenty of elite athlete's train on this mountain. Fancy a crack at Simon Gerrans record? Hmmm, maybe on an e-bike? His 39 minutes and 50 seconds has yet to be beaten.

        Team Mac - You will head up to the Mount Buller Village ahead of the cyclists for one of the many guided walking trails on offer. All walks have beautiful Summit views. Distances range from 3km to 12km…it's your choice.

        This afternoon, we will drive the short distance to the spectacular Bright. The gateway to the alpine national parks and our home for the next 4 nights.

        / Today's Ride: 40km or 100km cycling (1000m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Colonial Motel - Bright
        / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

        Day 9, Friday 29 October

        What goes up...

        For the next three days, we are spoilt for choice. Today we will ride one of the easier alpine climbs in the area - Falls Creek. Standing at 1750meters above sea level this climb offers breathtaking views over the 30kms from Mount Beauty. The distance makes it a daunting climb, but the 4% average gradient definitely takes the sting out of the legs. The climb can be broken into 3 sections, with the almost 6% first 10km, undulating middle and the final 4km pinch from the tollbooth. You know you're almost there when you turn the corner and see the village in the distance.

        But wait there's more. If the 60KM up and down is not enough, why not ride from Bright over the iconic Tawonga Gap before descending into Mount Beauty, grab a caffeine hit then tackle the Falls Creek ascent.

        If you choose to return by bike (highly recommended) then you easily rack up 120km and well over 2000 vertical meters.

        We have plenty of options today and all roads finish at the Bright Brewery. Refresh and relax with a full-flavoured craft beer or two, either outside on the Hop Terrace looking over the riverside parkland. You have earned it!

        Team Mac: Today you will follow the riders on part of today's route up to the Tawonga Lookout where we will organise a Team photo before stopping in Mount Beauty. This small town lies alongside the Kiewa River and sits at the base of the Falls Creek ski resort. Several trail walks are on offer today or simply a spot of retail therapy.

        / Today's Ride: 60km (1500m elevation gain) or 120km (2500m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Colonial Motel - Bright
        / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Bright Brewery)

        Day 10, Saturday 30 October

        Mount Hotham - The Munta!

        Yep, this is the big one. Each year we bring a team of wannabe legends to Falls Creek for the Peaks Challenge. The complete course is 235KM and 4500Vertical meters in 13hours. Mt Hotham makes or breaks them.

        Luckily, we only have an out and back with no time limits so let's take our time and the sights. Starting from Bright it's a cruisy 22km before we arrive at the base of the climb. That's when it starts going skyward. Sitting at 1862meters, some of the 18% pinches can feel a little unrelenting in parts but like Falls Creek the 4% average gradient is more than doable. The reward is the amazing views while ascending out of the head of the Ovens Valley and climbing up Victoria's highest sealed road.

        Anyone wanting a little more KM's and vertical can continue over the top and descend to Dinner Plane for a coffee or coke before returning. Remember to leave something in the tank as you will need to climb back up to the village before the 30km descent.

        Team Mac: Today is about experiencing the best of what this area has on offer. Starting with one of the local farmer's markets in Myrtleford offering quality, freshly harvested produce. All money goes back into local farmers and regional Victorian communities. Next, onto Milawa Cheese Factory before a wine tasting and lunch at Brown Brothers. With its beautiful lush gardens, it's one of Australia's leading family-owned wine companies with experience in crafting wine since 1889.

        / Today's Ride: 62km or 130km cycling (2000m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Colonial Motel - Bright
        / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (own arrangements)

        Day 11, Sunday 31 October

        Save the best for last

        The stunning ascent of Mt. Buffalo is among the most enjoyable Victorian Alps climbs. Approximately 21KM in length with an average gradient of 4.8%. Explorers Hume and Hovell named the mountain in 1824 because of its supposed resemblance to a reclining buffalo. From the base of Mount Buffalo.

        Starting early from our hotel it's a short 14km to the official start of the climb. When you reach the crest and drop-down (a little) to the shore of Lake Catani, there's only a little further to go. Riders would once have turned left and headed to the now-disused Chalet, but these days there's 'just a little bit more climbing up to the checkpoint at Dingo Dell where the cafe holds refreshments, and perhaps a little more breakfast.

        The entire climb - and descent - offer some absolutely stunning vistas across the Ovens Valley.

        Team Mac: You will set off again before the riders and head straight up to the top of Mount Buffalo. From there, there is an amazing (45min return) walk up to the highest point…"The Horn". You will walk along the sheer wall of China before ascending on a stone shelter that's perched atop of the cliff overlooking the magnificent views of the divided range.

        Later this morning, we will pack the vans and head back to Melbourne's CBD.

        Tonight we have booked a local favourite for our farewell dinner tonight. Lets reflect and share stories of the past 12 epic days.

        / Today's Ride: 85km cycling (1700m elevation gain)

        / Accommodation: Colonial Motel - Bright
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 12, Monday 01 November

        Back to the Big Smoke

        Later this morning, we will pack the vans and head back to Melbourne's CBD. The plan is to be back in the CBD with plenty of time for a spot of retail therapy and explore more of the most liveable city in the world. If you're into street art then I recommend taking a stroll over the Yarra to Melbourne's iconic Hosier Lane or a coffee in the bustling Degraves Street.

        For those that are keen and haven't seen enough of their bikes, let's head out for a short ride around the Formula One track - Albert Park Lake before packing bikes and heading to dinner.

        We have booked a local favourite for our farewell dinner tonight. Let's raise a glass of bubbles and reflect and share stories of the past 12 epic days.

        / Accommodation: CBD Mantra Southbank
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 13, Tuesday 02 November

        Home James

        All good things come to an end, for now at least. After breakfast, it's time for the transfer back to the Melbourne Airport.

        That's of course if you're not heading to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup today. Which we highly recommend. Enjoy!

        Thank you for travelling with RIDE Holidays. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

        Safe travels

        / Meals Included: Breakfast


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