The Bendigo Graveleur is a ripper gravel ride around the outskirts of Bendigo that can be enjoyed in a single weekend. From what to pack, to where to eat along the way, Laura’s recorded every detail to make your ride a breeze!


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung and the Taungurung Peoples of the Kulin Nation who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Conveniently beginning and ending at the Bendigo Train Station, the Bendigo Graveleur is a friendly, but at times demanding, gravel bike ride, spanning 166km. The ride can be enjoyed in one or two days and is the perfect little weekend getaway, just two hours from Melbourne by car.

About The Bendigo Graveleur

The Bendigo Graveleur route encompasses a variety of surfaces, around 70% being gravel. Winding through farms, quiet back roads, hills that feel very steep at the time (but don’t look as impressive), old rail trails, and aqueducts, the route is an engaging escapade through classic Aussie bush and farmland.

I completed the route over a weekend, spending roughly five hours cycling each day. Accommodation at hotels along the way can be pre-booked at any town that suits your itinerary, but Redesdale and Heathcote are good options. Camping’s also available for those who prefer zips to doors.

Don’t forget to fill out a Trip Intention Form before heading out!

Bendigo Graveleur History

After the local discovery of gold in 1851, Bendigo transformed from a sleepy sheep station to a bustling mining town. By 1852, 4,000-5,000 diggers were arriving in Bendigo each week. The further discovery of gold in surrounding areas led to the neighbouring settlements experiencing similar booms, including the charming township of Heathcote.

To connect the expanding towns, various trails were established including the O’Keefe Railway line – now known as the O’Keefe Rail Trail – and the popular shared bushwalking and mountain biking Goldfields Track. The Bendigo Graveleur includes sections of both of these trails, with the rest of the track linked by gravel roads between scenic farmland and native bush.


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking

How to Get to The Bendigo Graveleur

By car

Drive two hours from Melbourne – mostly along the M79 freeway. Keep right after Ravenswood to continue onto the A790 Calder Highway or the A79 Midland Highway. Follow signage to the Bendigo Train Station, where you’ll find plenty of parking.

By train

The express V/Line service from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station gets you to Bendigo in just over 90 minutes.

Where to Stay Along The Bendigo Graveleur

The Redesdale Hotel is the perfect spot to rest your legs and is about 83km into your ride. Public toilets are located directly opposite the hotel.

Please note: The Redesdale Hotel isn’t currently accepting accommodation bookings due to renovations, so make sure to check this before you leave.

The Heathcote Inn is among several accommodation options in Heathcote, about 114km from the beginning of the Bendigo Graveleur. There are also a few cafes and restaurants in town, and public toilets at the Barrack Reserve.

Goom Gooruduron-Yeran Campground is a free campground near Mandurang South. There’s a water tank here, however water’s not always available, so best not to rely on it!

Leanganook Campground is also free to stay at and is located near Harcourt. Facilities here include a water tank (although best not to count on it), a BBQ, fire pit, and picnic tables.

Remember to leave no trace and always be respectful.

Where to Eat Along the Bendigo Graveleur

The Redesdale Hotel was where we pulled up for dinner during our night on the trail. With its big wraparound verandah and gorgeous foliage, it’s certainly a picturesque spot to devour a chicken schnitty and a well-deserved ale. Its rustic and welcoming interior will bring great comfort after a day in the saddle, and the staff are super encouraging!

Skill Level

Beginner – Intermediate

The Bendigo Graveleur doesn’t require prior gravel bike riding experience, however keep in mind that there are sections of loose gravel and decent corrugation. If you’re lacking confidence, it might be a bit intimidating in some places!

Plus, the first part of the track is quite rocky, requiring some hike-a-bike! A reasonable fitness level will make your ride easier as there’s also some moderate hill climbing involved.


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking

Distance / Duration / Elevation

166km / 1-2 days / 1,790m

Essential Gear for the Bendigo Graveleur

  • Gravel-appropriate bike with at least 35mm tyres
  • Bike helmet
  • Bike lights
  • Bike gloves
  • Bike repair kit – tubes, a patch kit, pump, tyre levers, and a multi-tool
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat (if you choose to camp)
  • Water bottles – at least 2L of water carrying capacity
  • Head torch
  • Toiletries – sunscreen, lip balm, and toilet paper are essential!
  • First aid kit (including a snake bite kit)
  • Chafing cream
  • Navigation – I had a GPX downloaded onto a smartwatch
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks! – cycling burns a huge number of calories so make sure you have enough snacks to keep you going. We ate most of our meals at cafes and pubs along the way!

Read more: Essential gear for bikepacking adventures


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking

What it’s Like Bikepacking The Bendigo Graveleur

Day 1 – Bendigo Train Station to Redesdale (via Metcalfe)

Distance: 82km
Duration: 5.5 hours in the saddle

My partner Pat and I set off from the train station with fresh legs and full bellies. Being my first ever bikepacking trip, and with no previous experience riding on gravel, I had little idea of what I was in for. Would we be turning around 10km in? Time would tell!


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking


After some weaving through the back streets of Bendigo, we found ourselves on the Goldfields Track, which we stayed on for the next 30km. The descriptions we’d read about this section of the ride were accurate. With loose gravel and big rocks calling for some hike-a-bike, it was at times uncomfortable and tedious. But the excitement of being on the bike and mastering – AKA slipping and sliding uncontrollably – the art of gravel biking kept our heads high.

Eventually, we found ourselves cruising along an old aqueduct – a much-needed break for the legs along flat gravel – before arriving at the base of Mount Alexander. Although we were happy to be on asphalt, the climb was more challenging than we’d anticipated and we were worryingly low on water. Luckily, we were able to flag down a lovely lady driving down the hill who refilled our water bottles and even offered us a pear! We must’ve looked desperate…


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking


After Mount Alexander, the track was pleasantly undulating, drifting through farmland on cruisy gravel roads with the occasional section of asphalt all the way to Metcalfe. The once sunny day became a gloomy afternoon with clouds threatening to let loose a forecasted downpour.

Unable to bear the thought of not completing the entire route, we opted to skip the short cut and as predicted, were soaked to the bone upon our arrival in Redesdale. We headed straight to the General Store for a well-deserved Big M each, before hitting the Redesdale Hotel across the road for a delectable pub meal.


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking


With sore bums and stiff legs, our day came to an end. Satisfied with our efforts and content with the knowledge that we’d completed the hardest section, sleep came fast.


Day 2 – Redesdale to Bendigo Train Station (via Heathcote and Axedale)

Distance: 85km
Duration: 4.5 hours in the saddle

We began day two nice and early, eager to get a few kilometres in before stopping for breakfast. The first section involved 30km of undulating gravel roads through native bushland to the quiet town of Heathcote. Noisy flocks of cockatoos kept us company as we slowly got back into the rhythm of riding. In Heathcote, we devoured a hearty breakfast in the sun at a humble little café called Fodder.


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking


Feeling refreshed, we decided to take a kilometre-long side trip to the Pink Cliffs, an impressive geographical site formed by hydraulic sluicing mining activity in the 19th century. After a quick photo to prove we’d been there, we pushed on.

A few kilometres out of Heathcote we found ourselves on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Once a former railway line, the trail is now a pleasant, well-kept gravel track winding through farmland alongside yellow gum and box ironbark eucalyptus trees. The wide path never exceeds a gradient of 4-5% and is popular among walkers and cyclists, so prepare yourself for some mixed traffic here.

After 30km on the rail trail we arrived in Axedale, the last town we’d pass through before pedalling back into Bendigo. We were greeted at the Axedale Tavern by the incredibly friendly staff and within minutes were slurping up the dregs of delicious caramel milkshakes.


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking


The last 20km were a cruisy meander along the rail trail – a great way to end the ride. Thankful for every red traffic light as we dragged ourselves through the town, we arrived at the Bendigo Train Station around 2pm – tired but over the moon with our achievement.

Tips For Bikepacking The Bendigo Graveleur

  • Be prepared with enough water on day one

Ensure you have enough water to make it to Metcalfe (57km from the starting point) – the first town you’ll ride through on the Bendigo Graveleur  – as water is scarce on that stretch. It was a hot weekend when we rode the trail and despite carrying 2.5L each we were still very thirsty.

  • Bring chafing cream!

Very effective in preventing the dreaded itchy red patches.

  • Do your training

I did this ride with no preparation and paid for it afterwards with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, a common overuse injury amongst cyclists. Preparing in advance with some longer practice rides would’ve saved me from needing the anti-inflammatories that got me across the finish line.

  • Be aware phone reception may be glitchy

There’s reception for most of the ride but this will differ amongst providers (we had Telstra).


Bendigo Graveleur – A Cruisy Weekend Bikepacking Trip Undiscovered By the Masses, Pat Corden, Bendigo, Victoria, Bikepacking, gravel biking

FAQs Bendigo Graveleur

Where is Bendigo Graveleur located?

As the name suggests – Bendigo, Victoria!

How do you get to Bendigo Graveleur?

The Bendigo Graveleur is roughly two hours by car from Melbourne and around 90 minutes by train.

When is Bendigo Graveleur open?

The Bendigo Gaveleur is open all year round, but be prepared for scorching summer days and icy winter mornings.

Is Bendigo Graveleur good for beginners?

Yes, however the trail requires reasonable fitness as it includes hill climbing, and also confidence on gravel.

How long does it take to complete Bendigo Graveleur?

One or two days is enough time to complete the Bendigo Graveleur. Completing the trail in one day is not for the faint-hearted – two days was challenging enough!

How long is Bendigo Graveleur?

The total length of the Bendigo Graveleur is 166km.

Are there swim spots along the Bendigo Graveleur?

There’s a turn off the Bendigo Graveleur trail around 10km out of Metcalfe that takes you to Turpins Falls, where you can have a dip.

Please Note: Turpins Falls is currently closed to the public, pending safety improvements.

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes and Waterfalls

Otherwise, Heathcote has a seasonal outdoor swimming pool open between November and March.

Is Bendigo Graveleur free?

Yes! The Bendigo Graveleur is free to ride.

How much weight should I carry bikepacking?

When bikepacking the Bendigo Graveleur, you should aim to carry as little weight as possible. We had 5-10kg each.

Is there water along the way?

There’s no water between Bendigo and Metcalfe on the Bendigo Graveleur. After this, the towns are close enough together that it’s no problem refilling at each stop.

Is Bendigo Graveleur busy?

No, the Bendigo Graveleur isn’t busy. We didn’t pass any other cyclists on our first day. Also, as most of the ride is  on gravel, we didn’t have to deal with many cars. There’s one 12km stint on a busy highway when coming into Redesdale, but otherwise no major roads. On the second day you’ll likely encounter some cyclists and pedestrians along the O’Keefe Rail Trail.


Photography by @patcorden