The road around Lake Eildon to Jamieson offers a real treat for twisty lovers, set against an amazing natural backdrop and just a couple of hours from Melbourne
Victoria is well endowed with awesome motorcycle-friendly riding destinations. Lake Eildon and Jamieson to the north of Melbourne are both good examples and, to make things even better, the picturesque road linking these two towns is sealed for its entire length.
At the top end of the Yarra Valley, beyond the Black Spur, the Eildon-Jamieson Road has always been a nice scenic ride through the Lake Eildon National Park. With roadwork some years ago sealing the final section of what was once a dirt road, it is now more easily accessible for riders of sports and touring bikes.
Jamieson, at the northern end of this route, is very popular with motorcyclists either passing through or using the town as a base to explore the area further on trailbikes. The surrounding bush is criss-crossed with fire trails and tracks that are perfect for a weekend of off-road exploring.
The Courthouse Hotel in Jamieson caters well to these groups and is a good place for a drink or meal.
The turn-off to Eildon is just to the west of the town outskirts and passes the historic Jamieson Brewery before it winds uphill into the Lake Eildon National Park. This road forms part of the route for the annual Targa Alpine Car Rally and has several great sections of slow and medium-speed corners to excite riders on sportsbikes. The road is narrow in places and frequent patches of loose gravel through the corners when we last passed through demand full concentration. It has seen its fair share of motorcycle accidents due to these hazards, so have fun but be aware of the dangers and ride accordingly.
As you skirt along the edge of the park you will encounter some great sections of road that wind through the trees. Across Mt Torbreck and down on the river you will find a number of managed campsites with drop toilets where you can throw a swag down for the night and explore the area on foot.
The second half of the route as you continue west to the town of Eildon opens up a little in places, with sweeping bends taking the place of tighter corners but still offers plenty of cornering action.
There are some nice views across the lake and township of Eildon as you get to the far end of this route and plenty of places to stop and enjoy a bit of country serenity before heading to your next destination.
This is a great little riding excursion with good destinations at either end. For riders coming from the city it gets even better as the choice of routes through the Yarra Valley creates the opportunity for a great full day of riding, or even a weekend touring through the brilliant scenery in Victoria’s north-east. Whichever way you decide to do it, you will enjoy some awesome riding and some of Victoria’s finest country scenery.
Fuel, including PULP, is available in both Eildon and Jamieson.
The Courthouse Hotel in Jamieson is good for both meals and accommodation, and cheap accommodation is also available just up the road at Howqua Valley Caravan Park. There’s also plenty of free bush camping around the halfway mark of this route.
Surprisingly, there are several country mechanics around this area, but our pick if you need help is Davenport Motorcycles at
36 Aitken Street, Alexandra. It is run by a father and son team and is open six days a week. Plans are in the pipeline for a bike café to be established on the site, which would be a great central spot for motorcyclists enjoying the great riding in the region. You can call Karl on 0438 287 902 or Steve 0417 562 805.
The Aqua Bar & Café is located right on the edge of the lake and is popular with locals for its good food and coffee – 190 Sugarloaf Road, Eildon 0425 816 959
The Eildon Bakery Café is located at 10 Main St, Eildon (03) 5774 2362
Caltex 2 Centre Ave, Eildon (03) 5774 2220
The Courthouse Hotel in Jamieson has very reasonable group rates for the bunk rooms, as well as other options. Phone
(03) 5777 0503 for more info.
Bush camping in the Lake Eildon National Park is a good option if you want to soak up some of the natural ambience of the area. Facilities are basic or non-existent, but supplies can be purchased at either end of this route.
Things to do
There’s plenty on offer, including many water-based activities. Fishing is good throughout the lake system and its many tributaries, or there is a trout farm close by if you prefer a more definite outcome – and lunch. The Jamieson Brewery has handcrafted beers as well as good pub food. Call (03) 5777 0515 to check opening hours.
The off-road riding opportunities throughout this area are outstanding. The network of minor roads and fire trails snaking off in all directions from Jamieson are renowned for the great riding and scenery on offer.
The trails immediately surrounding the town zigzag through the state forest, while venturing further afield takes you into the
Alpine National Park, where it is possible to navigate through the alpine region and make an awesome adventure riding loop. Just
take your GPS and maps with you, and make sure you are covered for all weather conditions as things can change fast in the mountains.
story & photography Tim Munro