Our region has long been the centre of ‘wellness’, a state of being that can be achieved in different ways for different people.

My wife practices yoga and meditation, and there are many excellent practitioners around here. Others visit our region to get a massage, unwind, and enjoy the quality food and wine that has true local provenance. Some commune with nature or bathe in mineral waters.

For me, mental and physical wellbeing is achieved by riding my mountain bike. As fast as possible. Down steep, rocky hillsides. As I’m navigating the technical trails, I am as ‘mindful’ as I think it’s possible to be. I’m wholly focussed on the terrain ahead – mainly trying not to fall off and break something. 

The trails at La Larr Ba Gauwa near Harcourt, just north of Castlemaine, are one of my favourite places to ride. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, with granite boulders and exciting, world-class, technical terrain. Not far away is Mt Tarrengower near Maldon, which offers some excellent downhill trails for experienced riders. 

But I’m now well into my 40s so also enjoy ‘flowy’ trails that wind through the bush. This is meditative in its own way – and much less terrifying. There are 20 kilometres of singletrack in Wombat Forest, just near Woodend, that offer both newer and experienced riders well-made trails and abundant wildlife.

The Goldfields Track, one of Victoria’s premier nature-based tourism assets, runs from Ballarat, through Creswick and Daylesford, to Bendigo. The section from the Chocolate Mill near Hepburn Springs, to Castlemaine, is the best bit, as you see lots of gold era history and relics, from old chimneys, to ‘water races’, and fruit trees that were planted by miners decades ago. And wildlife…I nearly rode over a koala a few weeks ago.

But it’s the beautiful town of Creswick that has everyone excited. Already home to some great trails around the RACV Goldfields resort, over $4 million has been allocated by state and local Government to build over 100km of trails, starting in 2020. The trails will be highly inclusive, catering to everyone from hardcore mountain bikers, to families, trail runners, adaptive cyclists and bushwalkers. Better yet, as well as world-class trails, there will be extensive interpretation, showcasing the rich natural, historical and cultural assets on which Creswick prides itself. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll love a great pre-ride coffee and a post-ride beer…loads of opportunities there. A ride followed by a cold beer…that’s my idea of wellness!

For more information:

lalarrbagauwa.harcourt.vic.au
woodendcycles.com.au/project/trails
goldfieldstrack.com.au
creswicktrails.com