Ride: Wattle Day – Rushworth

This ride is a golden opportunity to see the extensive wattle understorey in bloom through the Rushworth ironbark forest.

The planned ride is a 47 km loop, from Rushworth to Kings Cross clearing and return (see pic below for map and profile). There is also an opportunity for coffee, snacks or lunch in scenic Rushworth township on return.

  • Date and Time: Saturday, 3rd September 2022. Start 9:30 am. The expected ride duration is about 3 to 3.5 hours depending on the number of stops.
  • Ride Distance: 47 km loop.
  • Meet up and start location: Available further down the page.
  • Amenities: Rushworth at start and finish only. The ride is self-supported and there are no water or food sources on the ride. There is a toilet and shelter at the 33 km point, but there is no drinking water there. Please plan to carry whatever you might need.
  • Terrain: There are no major climbs, but the route is rolling with regular short climbs and descents of around 3-5%. Total vertical metres is 360m for the ride.
  • Ride surfaces: 87% natural surface and gravel roads, with remaining 13% quiet sealed road. There are some ruts, potholes and rougher gravel sections, but you can ride around these, or ride through them slowly.
  • Best Bike: No need for suspension as most of the surfaces are fairly smooth. But riders will probably find the jarring and vibration from the gravel roads uncomfortable on tyres less than 30 mm wide. To be comfortable you should have tyres wider than 40 mm if possible.
  • Highlights: Rushworth historic township with good food options. Wattles and wildflowers in bloom. Whroo and Whroo cemetery. Very low car traffic. Good riding on red, scenic, smooth, natural surface and gravel tracks rolling and winding through the forest.
  • Navigation and Communication: Many of the forest tracks are not marked and winding. It is difficult to maintain a sense of direction in this forest. Some areas along the route will be outside mobile phone and internet coverage. To prepare for this ride I think it is essential to download the gpx file and put it onto a gpx tracker that will operate outside of mobile and internet coverage. Adventure riders should always carry personal locator beacons for emergency situations.
  • Link to gpx file: Links to download the gpx file are provided further down this page.
  • Seasonal Ride Series: This route is part of the GABCY Seasonal Ride Series – a set of monthly rides that are in harmony with local weather patterns and natural environments. The aim is to showcase the most suitable and scenic time to ride in each location, as well as show the wide variety of rides available across the GABCY Network.
  • Route also connects to: Golden Black Track, Ghostown Gambol, Camel Cornella, Kirwans Rushy Whroote, Lap of Local Lakes, Carag Carag Wetland Wetland. See – GABCY Network.
  • Some pics of the ride route are below: Photos are from various times in the year, so they don’t always show wattle and wildflowers in bloom.

Botanical comments (from me who knows very little about botany)

Nobody would claim the local species of wattle, Ausfeld’s Wattle (Acacia ausfeldii), is one of the most beautiful variations of wattle. However, what makes this ride spectacular is the scale of the colour produced by large numbers of identical bushes stretching off into the distance on both sides of the road.

Riders should also expect to see small wildflower bushes in bloom. I don’t know what they are but various plants have lots of very small bright blue, orange or purple flowers. See some pics below (which don’t really show how brightly coloured these flowers are).

There are much better photos and information about wildflowers in this post – Wildflowers of the Box-Ironbark forest . That writer even knows the names of the plants! However, this Wattle Day Ride is very early in Spring and I don’t think all the plants in that post will be in flower yet.

It seems the local pollinating insects are small and have a very strong preference for very bright colours, and the local spring flowering bushes have adapted to that preference.

The City of Greater Bendigo also publishes an extensive book on local indigenous plants if you want to do more research.

National Wattle Day

National Wattle Day is celebrated in Australia on 1st September, at the start of spring. For more information about the history of the day see the Wattle Day Association website.

Route Options

Base ride – 47 km

The gpx route file is accessed from further down this page.

Shorter ride – 37 km

For various reasons, some prospective riders might want a shorter ride. There is an option to cut across the loop at one point and shorten the ride to 37 km. As it happens this route reduction also removes the highest point on the 47 km route which makes this route option even easier.

The gpx route file is accessed from further down this page.

Ride at your own risk

Cycling is a dangerous activity and this ride is entirely at your own risk.

  • The ride is entirely self-supported, riders are completely dependent on their own advance planning and preparation.
  • There will not be any marshalls, route markers, support vehicles or guidance on the day.
  • There are no water or food sources on the ride.
  • Riding on undulating gravel tracks is a lot more tiring than riding on flat sealed bike paths. Don’t ride out if you are not sure you will be able to ride back.
  • All roads and tracks will be open to vehicles as normal.
  • Many tracks don’t have signs and there will be areas without mobile phone and internet reception.
  • If you don’t know how to download gpx files, install them on a tracking device and use the tracking device to navigate in remote areas of bush, this ride is not suitable for you.
  • Please plan to carry whatever you might need for navigation, communication, mechanical repairs, and food and drink on the ride. Riders should carry personal locator beacons for emergency situations.
  • The forest is home to many snakes, spiders, magpies, wallabies and other native animals. In spring many animals become more active in seeking mates and more aggressive in protecting their offspring and territories from threats.
  • Please do your own research and risk assessment to decide if this is a suitable ride for you and your group or family.

Access to GPX Files and Start Location

By clicking on this link you agree you have read the cautions above and will assess all the risks yourself and prepare adequately to support yourself in any situation. Clicking takes you to a page with details of the Start location and links to download the gpx files of the ride routes.

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Extended rides

Some riders might be interested in the opportunity to combine this ride with other rides from the GABCY Network to make a longer full-day ride or a multi-day ride – see map below.

The Wattle Day Ride is highlighted in purple in the centre of the map. This map shows how the Wattle Day Ride links with GABCY Network routes. For more map details see the interactive map of GABCY Network

More Information

If you have any questions about the ride:

  • Please make comments below, and I will respond. You may need to click on the title of this post to open it as a separate page, and then you will see the comments area.
  • Contact me directly by email (nixtrader AT yahoo DOT com DOT au).
  • This ride is also an event on Gravel Grinders Victoria facebook page – Wattle Day Ride event . You can also interact there if you prefer.

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