Plenty Gorge & Norge MTB trails - Explore the network
The 'greatest MTB trail network in Melbourne', some say the state.
Less than an hour from the centre of Melbourne, Plenty Gorge is a green wedge in the sprawling north, a respite from the advance of the modern world. Accessible by car and the train (Mernda Line) with a network of trails that can be traced back to the 1980s in the very infancy of the sport.
I grew up having this playground at my back door. A tangled barbed wire fence was all the stood between myself and the park, though it wasn't as big in scope back in the 90s. Thanks to the acquisition of the former tip and Board of Works (Hawkestowe), Blue Lake (Yellowgum) and numerous properties in the area, the green space has grown significantly.
On the other side of the Plenty River, another kid my age was also exploring the Gorge by Mountain Bike. It was the perfect place to escape after school or on the weekend - and he would go on to win many bike races, including the Tour de France.
The Fat Tyre Flyers held races at the southern end in the 90s at the back of Janefield, and the 'Goat Track' is perhaps the oldest and most travelled trail in the park.
Once thing people commonly say about riding in the Gorge, other than getting lost, is the old school vibe and rich bush experience. Wildlife is plentiful, and you will commonly see Kangaroos and birdlife. Less common are echidnas, wombats, wallabies, Wedgetails, as well as the 'outcasts' - rabbits, foxes and deer.
Hey? Where's that?
The Plenty Gorge is full of visual surprises. Download Trailforks App to get the network in your phone.
The network was built and is maintained by volunteers. You can support them here or join the PGMTB Club which hosts regular social rides.
Things you should know.
The network is not for beginners. Skinny trails with reasonable exposure are common.
It is very undulating and punchy. There are no long sustained climbs, but many short and steep ones to keep your blood pumping.
Access is VERY poor in the park so make sure you carry your own.
Welcome to Australia. Snakes are a thing. They will generally hear you before you see them and leave the scene.
You've got more chance of being struck by lightning. Try and pick one up and you increase your chances exponentially.
Carry a snake bandage in the highly unlikely case you are bitten.
If you are bitten - DO NOT MOVE.
Do not try to ride OR walk out.
Call 000. Download the Emergency app to help responders locate you.
Park and ride
Mernda Station (Norge)
Carome Homestead Cafe (Norge)
Middle Gorge Carpark (Norge / Plenty Gorge)
Yellow Gum Park (Plenty Gorge)
Nearest bike shop.
Bicycle Centre South Morang.
12/797 Plenty Rd,
South Morang VIC 3752
Secure parking and another obvious place to park and ride.
Routes for Riding
Ok - got your tips, tools and spares! Let's go!
Quick blast for beginners.
Want a proper challenge? A balance of Plenty Gorge and Norge (North of gORGE rd).
PG Riders Strava Club - Riders Plenty Gorge and Norge
For me, it's not a ride unless you stop and explore the awesome surrounds. Don't forget to add some photos to your ride if you use strava.
The park also changes greatly with the seasons.