Getting the timing right so that the two groups would arrive at the start of the Wellington Falls track at the same time was the tricky bit. Today we got pretty close.
Di, Robert and Lyn set up their bikes at the Ferntree Tavern. We were a diverse lot - Di with her hybrid bike, Lyn with her MTB, and Robert with his ultra comfortable e-bike. The riders set out at 10.10am, and then had a couple of stops to sort out a flat tyre and some wonky gears on Lyn's bike. Lyn was effectively stuck in one gear for most of the ride.
The ride along the scenic unsealed trail was very enjoyable. It was fairly smooth and featured a couple of nice little bridges and one we had to carry our bikes up the other side of. Of course the Pipeline Track is a slight but steady uphill incline on the inbound direction.
Kat, Philip and Bob set out walking from the carpark at Morphetts Rd at 9.30am.
How did the timing go? Well, the walkers arrived at 11am (took 90 minutes to cover 6.4 km) (av 4.3 km/h) and the riders arrived at 11.15am (took 65 minutes to cover 10.7 km) (av 10 km/h). Given the weather was a bit nippy, the walkers didn't really enjoy their 15 minute wait!
The walk to Wellington Falls (about 2.3km, expected to take 40 minutes to get there) was beautiful and well made, and mostly uphill.
The temperate rainforest was stunning, with Richea dracophylla heavily in flower.
|Richea dracophylla in flower|
There is a short descent at the end to the nicely built lookout, which provides excellent views to the falls (if you sit at the end of the log!).
We spread out on the handy log and ate our lunch, better able to catch up with each others' news now that we'd got our breath back (!).
|The crew, minus Kat the photographer|
The stroll back down the trail was pleasantly mostly downhill now, and conversations flowed.
Back at our bikes, we made our farewells. Because of the difference in expected times of the two groups to get back to their starting points, booking a coffee together was not going to work. With the steady downhill gradient, the riders were going to make very good time getting back. And so it was that the riders averaged 15 km/h on the return leg and were settling into the Ferntree Tavern for beer and coffees by 2.20pm and the walkers didn't reach their vehicles until about 2.50pm.
From the riders' point of view, it was a great experience. The ride was fun in both directions - a pleasant workout on the way up, and on the way down we had the increased speed and challenge of the downhill run. And the nice beer/coffee at the Tavern was a nice finishing touch.
Tips for riders:
- Riders on the Pipeline Track need to have a bike capable of riding on an unsealed and occasionally bumpy offroad track - therefore a hybrid (i.e. with some suspension front forks) or a MTB (suspension both front and back). Relatively wide and textured tyres are important too.
- Carrying walking gear - either a capacious pannier or a basket to slip your daypack into, or carry it on your back.
- Take a lock to secure your bike to the excellent parking loops at the junction for the Wellington Falls track.
- Good walking shoes are fine (don't need boots), and carry water. As usual with walking on the mountain, several layers to deal with cold, wind and possible rain are essential.