Up Stanley is a fun self-guided or guided ride that takes you from Beechworth to the picturesque village of Stanley and back again. The ride is packed full of awesome nature, spectacular views, beautiful farmland and historic dwellings.
The highlights include the pools of Reedy Creek in the Beechworth Historic Park and one of the best views of the region at Murmungee Lookout. We have deliberately taken this ride into the centre of Stanley where the classic Stanley Pub is worth a visit, maybe even a meal, a beer or glass of wine (opens 11am, lunch from 12pm).
Type: Self-guided or Guided e-MTB ride
Time: You can complete this self-guided or guided ride comfortably in 3 hours (including stops).
Gradient: It doesn’t matter – you will be on an e-bike, but Lady Newton Drive is steep. This is a local favourite for the hardcore cyclists but you will scoot up here no worries.
- Hire of a Giant Fathom E+2 Pro or Giant Liv Valle E+2 Pro Electric Mountain Bike
- A coffee, tea or cold drink at the Old Beechworth Gaol before the ride
- Pizza and beer at Bridge Road Brewers after the ride
- A cuesheet & map to guide you through your ride, including information about the key points of interest
- Your riding group will be provided with a bike lock, spare tubes and equipment to change a tyre if needed
- On call Cycling Concierge to answer any of your questions before, during and after your adventure
- This is a self-guided ride, but you can request a Guide when you book ($180 per group)
The Up Stanley ride starts at the Old Beechworth Gaol and starts with a meander around the popular Beechworth Gorge. The highlight of this half bitumen, half gravel segment of the ride is the pools of Reedy Creek which are visible from the bridge at the bottom of the gorge road.
Once you get back to the top of the gorge you can see the Chevalier Mill House next to the Bridge Road Bridge, but instead of heading back in to town you turn right, and head towards Wangaratta. On the edge of town a left onto Forrest Lane send you through some farmland to Croom Lane. Make sure you stop on top of the hill and snap a few photos back over the farmland that looks out over the Ovens Valley and up to the dramatic Mount Buffalo. On a clear day in winter you can see four snow capped mountains, including Mt Buller over 80km to the south.
The ride then wanders through the Fighting Gully area, a old mining settlement where they must have had a few disagreements back in the day.
You will then cross the Beechworth-Myrtleford Road and begin the ascent up Lady Newton Drive. This is one of the steepest rideable gravel segments in the area. It is time to ramp up the power on the electric bike and power up the four pinches to the lookout (make sure you leave some power in the battery to get yourself back home!).
Murmungee Lookout at the top of Lady Newton Drive is a stunning spot that not many bike riders can reach due to the steepness of the road to the top, but your e-MTB will make it seem easy.
It is then on to Stanley, a pretty little village renowned for its fruit and nut production. The Stanley Pub is a great little country pub. If you are thinking about a mid-ride meal (highly recommended) it is worth contacting the pub beforehand to make sure they have a spare table.
In theory it is all downhill back to Beechworth from here however we recommend taking the bikes out around Lake Kerford and enjoying the descent back in to Beechworth along Red Hill Road. The ride then ends at the Old Beechworth Gaol and then off to the Bridge Road Brewery for a pizza and beer.
If you book this adventure with Ride Republic we will provide you with the route in paper and digital form. If you would be more comfortable with a guide on this backroad adventure you can request one when you book.
Points of interest
The Old Beechworth Gaol
The Old Beechworth Gaol is one of Australia’s most significant post European cultural sites. Its role in the chain of events that led to the execution of Ned Kelly is significant as it housed Ned’s mother, Ellen Kelly, many of the Kelly sympathisers and Ned himself, alongside his brother Dan and the rest of the Kelly gang.
The Old Beechworth Gaol is more than just the Ned Kelly story with many other characters spending time behind bars, and more than a few characters who helped keep them there.
The Rogues, Ratbags and Mongrel Dogs tour is the perfect way to get behind the walls of the Old Beechworth Gaol and see what life would have been like behind bars. Book a guided tour at www.oldbeechworthgaol.com.au
Once a hideout for members of the Kelly Gang, the Gorge provides views over Beechworth town. The landscape has large granite outcrops, native forest, magnificent rock pools and cascades and wildflowers in season.
You will see the start of the Rocky Mountain Tunnel which was constructed under Beechworth so that the upper Spring Creek Goldfield swamp could be drained for mining. Then on to the Newtown Bridge which was crafted by a Scottish stonemason in 1875.
Beside the bridge is a mining race 2.4 metres deep and 410 metres long. Check out the information board with details about Chevalier’s Mill.
Chevalier Mill House
In 1853 Louis Chevalier built a sawmill at the head of the Newtown Falls with the tailrace still visible under the Bridge Road bridge which you cross as you enter Beechworth from the Wangaratta side of town. The mill was later converted to also produce flour and the mill become the towns primary supplier of both materials.
Chevalier spent two years cutting the tailrace through the solid granite with the effort not lost on those who look down on it from the bridge today. The harshness of the Australian Goldfields was a long way from the estate of Prince Ludwig, a Russian aristocrat which was where Chevalier spent his youth while his father was the overseer of the property.
In 1856 Louis’ brothers Alexandre and Nicholas, the renowned landscape artist, visited Beechworth to assess their fathers investment in the mill and after quickly realising it was not worth their effort, returned to Melbourne, where Nicholas crossed paths with Eugene von Guerard with both painters going on to explore and produce works that are considered some of the most significant Australian landscape paintings.
Located in the Stanley State Forest 8km south of Beechworth, the Murmungee Lookout is one of the region’s most spectacular spots for a picnic.
With panoramic views of the flood plains of the Ovens and King Rivers and the breathtaking sight of Mount Buffalo, it’s well worth the trip.
Stanley and The Stanley Pub
Sitting at 750m above sea level, this picture perfect village and tight knit farming community is famed for its produce, with cool climate and fertile soils providing the perfect conditions for growing apples, stone fruit, berries and nuts. Autumn is truly stunning.
Put simply, The Stanley Pub is a great country pub. Cold local beers, a good selection of regional wines and a lovely ambience, both in the main bar as well as the beer garden. Oh, and the meals are hearty and delicious. stanleypub.com.au
Black Barn Farm
Take an off-the-beaten-track meander through the rolling hills of Stanley to a little family owned apple orchard to discover the magic of picking fresh apples.
Not just any apples but heritage apples, many long forgotten with names such as Mutsu, Smoothee, King Cole, Five Crown and Cameo. Kids can run far, grown ups can enjoy the sun on their back and everyone can marvel at how magnificently crisp and juicy the humble apple is when it comes straight off the tree.
Carefully grown without the use of any artificial insecticides you can feel safe picking and eating straight from the tree tasting and enjoying an apple the way nature intended.
Lots of shady spots to pitch a picnic and freshly brewed spiced-warm-apple-cider and apple cider donuts sold onsite during later Autumn. Open every Saturday from mid Feb to late May with special extra events such as twilight picks, moonlight picks and pop up farmers feasts where you can fill your baskets with all manner of locally grown goodness. Trees don’t have a calendar so be sure to check their website to confirm season start/finish dates. www.blackbarnfarm.com.au (be sure to check opening times)
Lake Kerferd was created in 1862 to retain the waters of the Hurdle Swamp for gold mining activities. Today it is Beechworth’s main water supply.
Once the scene of annual rowing regattas, the lake and surrounding bushland is a treat for nature lovers, offering habitat to a rich diversity of animal and birdlife. The lake can be accessed by a five kilometre walking track or by car.
Pack yourself a picnic and take in the beautiful sites and sounds around the lake. Facilities: Fishing is allowed. For more details check with the Beechworth Visitor Information Centre. Boating and swimming is prohibited.