A bit of everything here, but overall fairly demanding. From Kangaroo ground you head north through rolling countryside. This part of the road is relatively open with fast sweepers and a couple of small towns (Panton Hill, Smiths Gully, and St Andrews). Take a little care through St Andrews as there is a market on here most Sundays with people and cars bounding across the road like kangaroos with just as little road sense. The Pub is not a bad place to stop though. At the bottome of the hill just below the pub the road T-junctions. Turn right and you start the real climb. The road continues through farmland and rolling hills at first but there are a couple of 90 degree bends so stay alert (I nearly lost a friend on one such bend). The road becomes progressively tighter and more demanding all the way to the top of the range. The road opens up just before King Lake. Not a bad coffee shop here either. Turn right and cut across to Toolangi or down to Yarra Glen, or turn left and take the Kinglake to Yea blast.
Nominally this ride starts at the Reefton Pub, but much of the lead in road is quit pleasant. I personally have never seen a cop on the Reefton Spur but I have seen plenty going to and from, so beware. From the Reefton Pub you turn left up and over the bridge an into the hills. This road first climbs the range and then runs the ride before dropping down into a saddle between two hills. The road is fairly tight and demanding and the traffic generally light (as the road doesnt really go anywhere). Hazzards include damp patches that hang arround forever after rain in winter, snow is not uncommon either, and the occassional very slippery piece of bark. Like most Australian roads, dont stray off the road or you will face plant a tree and then fall several meters. You have come to the end of the main part of the Reefton when you arrive at a T-juction after descending a hill. Usually there will be several bikes parked just round the corner to the left as riders take a deep breath before running the spur in the opposite direction. An alternative is to continue to the left over a less demanding but still twisty road to Marysville and one of the many cafes.
Any listing of routes for this region has to include the Black Spur. Unfortunately a combination of heavy traffic and occasional police blitzesmean that personally I only rate this road as average. But get it on a good day and it can be a blast. From Healesville the route winds through forestry, initially with fairly open sweepers and good road surface. About 5 km in you begin the serious climb up a series of twisties surrounded by tall gum trees. If the road is in good condition and the traffic is light this can be an absolute blast. After about 5 of 6 Km you crest the ridge and start your way down the other side. This is even tighter until you hit the bottom of the range when it opens out quickly into farmland. Note that the weather can be completely different on either side of the ridge. Another hazzard in winter is the habit of this particular gum tree to drop bark on the road which combined with damp conditions can get pretty slippery.
This route takes a small country road (Myers Creek Road) to drop you down off the ranges and back into Healesville. It is narrow, twisty, and does not carry much traffic so you rarely have to break rhythm. From the top of the hill near Toolangi you turn onto Myers Creek Road and run along the top of the ridge for about 3 km of fast relatively open and wide bitumen. There are two places I know where dirt roads enter from the north and often there is a bit of gravel but you should see warning signs about side roads as a reminder. From there it is a downhill run following a creek valley. Lots of medium tight and usually blind corners so take your time on the first run until you get a feel for the road. As you get near the bottom of the range and the road levels out the corners open up a little and it feels like one long chicane. Great fun at speed. You leave the corners and the trees behind about 2km outside Healesville. So the choice is yours, stop for a coffee, or turn right and pick up the Chum Creek to Toolangi route to do it all over again ... and again ...
Chum Creek is the nominal start of this run but the whole route from Healsville out is quite pleasant with virtually no straight road to be seen. Only an 60/70/80 km7hr speed restriction and numerous small towns keep the fun down. Habitation and speed restrictions evaporate )more or less) at Chum creek and you spend the next 10 km or so working your way up the face of the northern ranges. The corners are fairly tight and sometimes bumpy. About half way up the surface changes to hotmix at a long sweeping right hand corner. Watch for gravel on the insides of the corners as always when you have to share the road with cars. Why cant they keep all four wheels on the black stuff? When you reach the top the road opens out. There is a traffic island on a left hander with a road to the right and a small cafe. Taking this road will bring you back to Healsville the fun way and makes a great loop ride.... will write it up later.