Barossa Variations

I've recently taken a couple of day trips up into the Barossa and back through the Hills. We are an easy flat ride to Gawler on a quiet back road; people further south can take the train to Gawler Central and be at the gateway to the Barossa in less than an hour from the city. If you want to ride from Adelaide, take the Levels Bikeway, or Main North Road. From Elizabeth use Coventry Road.

If you can ride a bike you can ride to Lyndoch. You may wish to walk the bike from the railway station up Lyndoch Road to Cheek Avenue, which is about 800 metres, but then it is easy riding to the Jack Bobridge Bike Path (largely along the old railway line) and on to Lyndoch. In the winter and spring the country is a delight. Lyndoch also has a couple of good eateries. It's a lovely ride for chatting with a friend or doing inner work, and the grades are easy. Coming back to Gawler is a doddle.

On my first trip I stopped at Lyndoch for lunch and then continued out to Altona, leaving the bike path to ride up Trial Hill which, as the name suggests, is a serious hill. You will be on metal road, although there is a bitumen strip for the very steepest bits, which max out at 13-14%. Like Lyndoch Road, you could walk this; the very steep part is only about a kilometre. It includes a lookout with one of the best views of the southern Barossa. 

 (You can click on the images for larger pop-ups)

I continued the climb along Trial Hill after the breaching the ridge. This will take you through Pewsey Vale to the intersection of Corryton Park Road, the Ross Fire Track and Wirra Wirra Road. From there it is flat or downhill for 97% (at a guess) of the way to Gumeracha! You cross over the Springton – Williamstown Road which will give a mostly downhill run into Williamstown, and where Wirra Wirra Road  changes into Mount Road as it crosses the bitumen and come out onto Warren Road which runs out from Williamstown to Birdwood. It is exquisite country during the cooler months, and this continues through the forest along Foreston Road, which leads to… Foreston.

Now the fun begins.

If you are from Adelaide, you continue along to Gumeracha and take either the Chain of Ponds road to Northeast Road, or turn off and take the Gorge Road. Since I live in Elizabeth I took the turn off at Foreston and went over Checker Hill (max 18%) to Kersbrook and then via Mount Gawler to One Tree Hill. This gave me a 93km ride for the day with 1100 metres of climbing. (You can ride Norsworthy Hill just north of Foreston to avoid Checker Hill but, frankly, you could almost walk the hard part of Checker Hill and still make better time than the Newsworthy Road.)

Today's ride was 122 km with 1347meters climb. Instead of turning off at Altona I followed the bike path up to Tanunda. After Altona there are some steep pinches in along the North Para River, but they are quite short. I met a well retired couple, and two other blokes way older than I am coming down from Tanunda, so it's not that hard and certainly the steep bits are short enough to walk. After lunch in Tanunda I went on up to Angaston and then out on the Eden Valley Road. My ride south took the Flaxman Valley Road, which is bitumen down to Seven Steps Road, which will take you into Eden Valley. I continued down the metal Heggies Range Road, which eventually becomes Brownes Road and continues down to the aforementioned Corryton Park Road and Wirra Wirra Road. This is a harder ride than the downhill that Wirra Wirra provides. Again, simply beautiful country.

When I reached the Springton Road I went into Williamstown and then took the back road home to Elizabeth. This is not for the faint hearted. There is a 13% climb up the beginning of the Para Wirra Road which involves rear wheel slippage in the gravel, and then another steep climb up out of the South Para River on Bassnet Road. By then you are on bitumen again so it is simply a matter of being patient and spinning it over in bottom gear. After that: ups and downs to One Tree Hill and home to Elizabeth. 

The tree felling on Springton Road can't be captured by these last two photos. I know the area will be replanted, but the shock of it is sobering. What we do to the world!

Trial Hill - Forreston Ride or use the GPX (which will also open in Google Earth.)
Angaston - Parra Wirra Ride or use the GPX (which will also open in Google Earth.)

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