Mt Porepunkah Road Loop

Continuing my vow to post some interesting rides, here’s a local loop out of Porepunkah or Bright which is a pleasant couple of hours out on gravel – good for an MTB and also excellent if you happen to have a gravel grinder or CX bike in the stable.

The embedded strava ride starts out of Porepunkah, which is home, and takes the Rail Trail towards Roberts Creek Road, a slight uphill that features in the Tour of Bright TT course. It continues over the bridge and along a short stretch of gravel to a short, sharp tarmac climb up towards the crest at the start of the Apex walking track and the junction with Mt Porepunkah Road.

There’s a nicer start to this, if there’s no logging or maintenance activity, taking Tom Briggs road over the shoulder, which brings you out at the same spot – the foot of the Apex walking track. If there’s logging or maintenance activity going on, I’d strongly advise staying off that trail though. If you’re coming from Bright, you can get to the same spot via a steep road climb, ending on gravel, by turning off Back Germantown road at Mt Porepunkah Road.

At this point, you head Northeast and downhill along Mt Porepunkah Road for maybe a kilometre before the climbing starts. From here it’s a fairly constant 15km climb through the backcountry. There are no real pinches or challenges, but the climbing is fairly constant. Eventually you’ll pass a signposted junction with Smart Creek Track, which would take you down to Kancoona Road and offers a possible return route to Tawonga Gap – a ride I’ve got my eye on for later.

At about 11.5km from the Apex Track junction, you get a sharp, signposted left turn that continues upwards, and at about 14km from Apex, another left turn allows you to head either up to the bushfire lookout tower, or head downhill to the finish. I’d advise heading up to the tower, because there’s a lovely view across to the Mt Buffalo plateau and a good spot for a break and a bit of a munch (you did bring some food, right?).

From here, retrace your steps back to the junction, where you turn left and start down a good old fashioned rocky downhill. On my first expedition, I met with a couple of 4WD vehicles on this descent, so take care with who you meet and how you ride – don’t go blind into corners, because this road is used by vehicles, especially in the summer months. Eventually you’ll pop out of the trees onto One Mile Creek road, which heads down and meets the Great Alpine Road and the Rail Trail.

If you turn right here, you’ll find Boynton’s Winery. If you turn left, Ringer Reef winery – both are great places for a post-ride snack and a glass of wine – and thence to Porepunkah, completing the loop.

This is a splendid little afternoon out on the gravel – not too challenging, not too long and not so far from civilisation that you’ll need to pack a ton of kit. If you’ve got a few hours free and feel like some firetrail rolling, I’d say check it out.

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