The Watershed is a breathtaking ride following the flow of water from Beechworth down to the Woolshed Valley and back up again. The ride will take you deep into the Beechworth Gorge where you will witness how Reedy Creek has carved its way through the honey granite, creating spectacular pools which the locals use to cool off during the hot summer months, before descending down through farmland to the spectacular Woolshed Falls and returning via the same route.
Time: You can complete the Watershed ride comfortably in 3 hours (including stops).
Gradient: It doesn’t matter – you will be on an e-bike!
The Watershed ride commences at the Old Beechworth Gaol in the heart of Beechworth. The first section takes you along the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail extension near Lake Sambell, then up past the Beechworth Golf Course and around the Beechworth Gorge on an enjoyable half bitumen, half gravel segment through the Beechworth Historic Park.
After exiting the Beechworth Gorge you will ride to the Woolshed Falls via scenic Malakoff Road and the Woolshed Valley, meandering through a quiet rural landscape before arriving at the falls. After taking some time to explore you will then return to Beechworth via the same route, tracking back to the Old Beechworth Gaol via the Rail Trail.
The Watershed ride is steeped in history and if you are feeling adventurous you could add the Woolshed Road to Eldorado onto your ride. This is ridden from the Woolshed Falls and is deeply connected to the Kelly saga and the famous Beechworth gold rush. Speak to the Ride Republic team to see how this could be added to your adventure.
Ask us for a paper map of this route, or download the route above to your phone or GPS device.
If you would be more comfortable with a local guide on this backroad adventure you can request one when you book.
Points of interest
The Beechworth Gorge
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. – explorebeechworth.com.au
The 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 Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park, Woolshed Falls are a popular destination for nature lovers and history buffs.
The area was once the centre of one of the richest goldfields in Australia, where up to 8,000 prospectors camped along the banks of Spring Creek, in search of their fortune.
The falls are a ten minute drive north from Beechworth, where you can view the cascading falls, enjoy a leisurely picnic or take a self-guided walk around the alluvial gold workings. An observation deck provides views to falls and the valley below, which is particularly spectacular after heavy rainfalls. Please be very careful on the rocks as they are slippery and kids should not be left unsupervised in this area. Suitable, sturdy footwear is advised.
Chimney in Paddock
The steeper gradient of the tarmac climb finish, and consequently the slower pace, will allow you time to firstly be surprised and then to marvel at the magnificent brick chimney that seems extremely out of place in a paddock on the edge of a residential part of Beechworth.
The chimney is the last remnants of the tannery which produced all of the leather products required for a bustling goldrush town of the mid 1800s. The old tannery is now just a paddock with an enormous brick chimney for the cows and passing cyclist to be intrigued by. It also provides a glimpse into the scale of industry that was needed to sustain a fast growing goldrush era community.