October 30, 2014
The little sleepy town of Forrest , laying deep within the Otway Ranges State Forest is a mecca for mountain bikers . The vast network of trails , singletracks , burms & jumps make for days of fun & great adventure . There is a nearby lake , Lake Elizabeth , where you can camp for free pretty much the entire year . Good fishing , good swimming & not many campers make this place ideal to take a few friends with their bikes , although it is assumed people always clean up once they leave , a fair enough rule for free camping in awesome environs . Be careful of brown snakes which frequently sun themselves across the trails , being bitten wouldn't be fun as their bite is potentially deadly , so , watch out & be careful . There are places to stay in town , great little B & B's & a pub in town with gourmet beers & good food . You can ride to the main trail heads from the town , & the trails are extensive , take a map , although the trails are easily signposted . Riding through the lush rainforest is an enchanting experience , with the trail loops flowing into each other , forming a fun circuit where you can be on all day . Mid week there is virtually no one around , except when they hold the annual Giant Odyssey just after Easter , then its crowded with competitors & people alike . However , for most of the year , its unspoilt riding through flowing trails under the rainforest canopy , even wet its great fun , although more technical . Another trail head , away from the main trails , south of town towards Lake Elizabeth , is where more flowing singletracks branch out around the large lake . At night an eerie mist settles on the lake , & the unique Australian platypus can be seen swimming on the surface in the evenings & early mornings , an illusive little marsupial , cute & furry , with a deadly sting in its tail though , they usually keep to themselves though . The trails here get very fast with lots of flowing loops that swing close to the edge of the lake & some awesome views of the reservoir on a clear day . The trails are a mix from beginer to more advanced to black runs , the trails are signposted as to the level of difficulty , green being the easiest , then blue & black diamond runs , which really gets the blood flowing . The trail map is easily downladable from the Forrest MTB website & it is recommended to take a trail map as its easy to get lost . there is limited mobile coverage , so take food & water or energy drinks in your pack , & a compass with the trail map , then you can be sure to have all bases covered in case you get lost . So , the two main trail heads are to the north of the town about a kilometer out along the main road , take the left turn to the trail head signpost where there is a carpark , & then to the south of the town only a few hundred meters from the town center where a road veres to the left to the main trail head near the lake . Its really worth going there for a few days & really getting to know the place intimately , as the place has infinite rewards for those wanting a real mountain biking adventure . Only a 40 minute drive down from the forest to the Great Ocean Road will land you along one of the most scenic coastal roads I have seen anywhere , the closest seaside town being Apollo Bay . Good fishing , great beaches , great surfing , a little fishing harbour & cafes & restaurants annoint the promenade foreshore . This really is one of the most beautiful stretch of coastline & coastal road anywhere . If you're really keen you could ride from forrest to the ocean road , although the ride back up the mountain would test any legs , very steep . The trails & the place are special & the experience of the place will make you want to visit again .
You Yangs , (sort of )