Where: Ruffy Highlands, Strathbogie Tablelands, Seymour, Longwood, Violet Town, Euroa—central Victoria
Terrain: moderately hilly/undulating
Surface: 95% sealed (though a bit choppy). Some short gravel sections which can be a bit rough. Can be done on a road bike, though some may prefer a gravel bike.
What: pastoral land, bushland, rural idyll, local produce, wineries, small towns, moderate climbing/descending
The roads are quiet, the towns are small, and it’s all very charming. Ruffy Rider traverses two ranges in central Victoria: the Ruffy Highlands, a region of rolling hills and distinctive granite outcrops, and the Strathbogie Tablelands, an attractive pastoral area with plenty of native bushland. There are wineries, local cafes and produce stores, a charming country pub and a general low-key, out-of-the-way feel to it. It's an underrated part of the state, and a really pleasant couple of days out.
You will gain altitude gradually over the first 30km of this ride until you reach a locality known as Highlands. From here the road undulates its way for another 30km or so, with a short gravel section, to the tiny tiny town of Ruffy, where you will find the excellent Ruffy Produce Store, a cute little place in a gorgeous setting that sells delicious local things.
Soon after Ruffy you will find yourself descending from the highlands to to Longwood East, a slightly weird nothing-place. Just across the Hume Highway, though, Longwood, home of the Longwood General Store and Post Office and the rather enjoyable White Hart Hotel.
Just beyond Longwood East are the excellent Maygar's Hill and Garner's wineries, and the longest gravel section. It’s about 7km and a bit rough but doable on a road bike. The next town, a little further on, is Euroa, which is bigger and has most amenities, including a historical society.
The climb to Strathbogie is steep and a good size, but you can reward yourself with the best coffee in town when you get there. From here you will have a relatively flat 20km to enjoy the lovely tablelands before another descent on your way to Violet Town, world-famous home of the rock band Killing Heidi and cartoonist Michael Leunig. Sunnymeade Gardens, about 8km past Strathbogie, is well worth a look.
Summer can get very hot and the hills dry out. Winter is very brisk in the highlands—Strathbogie often records the lowest temperature in the state outside of the alps. Spring is nice because it's not so cold and things are usually green. Remember to check for fire warnings in the warmer months.
V-line trains run hourly between Seymour and Melbourne, and three time a day on the Albury line north of Seymour. Remember to check for planned service disruptions. Read this post for more info on using the train network with your bike.
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Disclaimer: should you choose to cycle this route, you do so at your own risk. Although all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure its accuracy at the time of writing, Adventure Cycling Victoria cannot guarantee that the information herein is 100% correct. The information published is meant as a guide only, and should be combined with your own due diligence and planning. Adventure Cycling Victoria and its contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals following this route.