TUESDAY FEB 14 / 2017 / by Andrew Talati

The Golden Triangle

Castlemaine main street Town-hall

Castlemaine sits within the Golden Triangle of Bendigo and Ballarat, conveniently located 1.5 hours north west of Melbourne up the Calder Freeway.

With an abundance of adjoining towns nearby, including Kyneton, Maldon and Trentham, there is no shortage of great places to explore and enjoy the fine foods on offer.

Castlemaine Fire-station cafe -  RePUBLICThe local Re Public cafe in the old Fire Station building

With a rich heritage dating back to the 1850s gold rush which helped to establish a large colonial government, there are many beautifully restored government buildings adorning the central grid system to explore.

A strong local cycling community

The Bike Vault Bike shop in CastlemaineThe Bike Vault Bike shop in Castlemaine

The testament to the local cycling community is the small population of 10,000 supporting two bike shops.

The Bank Vault is conveniently located on the main street just up from the Town Hall and offers an abundance of local bike maps and touring information from their friendly staff.

Also, around the corner is Cycle Concepts with the previous owner Jason Tolland supporting the local road and mountain biking community.

Mt Alexander to stretch the legs

Mount Alexander Victoria

One climb for the roadies is Mt Alexander which was a hive of activity in the 1850s for those seeking their fortune in the shallow alluvial gold that lay beneath. It also doubled as one of the principal granite quarries to feed the gold rush building boom in Melbourne.

Fast forward a century and a half and Mt Alexander offers a challenging ride taking in the towns of Chewton and Golden Point before coming to the start of the climb that averages 7% gradient over 5kms before a sweeping descent into Harcourt.

The regular Sunday road ride

Castlemaine bunch  Riding sunrise

The ride starts at the Bike Vault and covers a 70km route out to the Nuggetties, the historic town of Maldon and the picturesque surroundings of Newstead, Guildford and back to Castlemaine via Campbell's Creek.

Castlemaine Open road - shedCastlemaine Riding sunrise with cycling shadowsGuildford Store Milk barPassing through Guildford on route to Campbells Creek

For more info

Plenty of Single track

Great single track around castlemainePhoto courtesy Goldfields Track Incorporated - www.goldfieldstrack.com.au

If you're looking at getting off the asphalt, Castlemaine has an abundance of cycle tracks for mountain bikers to explore.

A 15 year old institution in Castlemaine is the Cycle Concepts’ Wednesday night ride leaving from their shop at 6:00pm from 28 Hargraves Street Castlemaine.

The local mountain bike group the Rocky Riders provide plenty of resources on the local trail network and are involved in the new mountain bike park, for more info www.rockyriders.com.au

Mountain Bike park to open late 2017

With 35kms of dedicated mountain bike trails set amongst a natural forest setting at the base of Mt Alexander, the park is anticipated to open towards the end of 2017, this promises to offer similar rising to the You Yangs. More info www.rockyriders.com.au

Those amazing rock formations 

Riding past Nugetty Rock-formations near MaldonNuggety Rocks near Maldon

With the geology of the area consisting of a base of sedimentary rock, there are many rocky outcrops with huge granite boulders.

A local breeding ground for elite cyclists

With the surrounding countryside providing the ideal training playground there have been many pro cyclists including, road cyclist Lachlan Norris who rides for United Healthcare Pro Cycling team with Top 10 GC placings in the Tour of Korea, Le Tour of Langkawi and 11th in the Tour of California.

Also training here are National MTB and Cyclocross rider Jasper Albrecht and Elite MTB/XC rider Alistair Farley.

Great for families

Castlemaine family riding togetherCastlemaine - family riding child in stroller - little Quinn

We caught up with Dominique and his family (Ellis, Eoin and little Quinn) who were returning after riding back from Campbells Creek along the path that follows the creek. So, after being out for two and a bit hours it’s time for an ice-cream before returning to their home in Castlemaine. Originally from Mt Beauty, Dominique enjoys the undulating landscape and friendly community. 

Exploring the local district

Newstead Boot makerNewstead Mens ShedNewstead Mechanics InstituteNewstead Mechanics Institute

The Goldfields track

Great single track around CastlemainePhoto courtesy Goldfields Track Incorporated - www.goldfieldstrack.com.au

Stretching over 210kms, the Goldfields Track starts at Mt Buninyong at the top of the Great Dividing range weaving its way north through the historic city of Ballarat.

Goldfields Track creek crossingPhoto courtesy Goldfields Track Incorporated - www.goldfieldstrack.com.au

The Goldfields Track takes in spectacular gorges and fern lined rivers before deviating into Castlemaine with a great single and double track to Bendigo, more at goldfieldstrack.com.au