In the heart of South Australia, where the air is fragrant with the essence of adventure, cyclists are discovering a gem known as the Lavender Cycling Trail. This 300-kilometer journey, unveiled in 2019, winds its way from the picturesque Murray Bridge to the charming town of Clare, offering a unique bikepacking experience through the enchanting eastern slopes of the Mount Lofty Ranges. As we delve into the story behind this trail, we find not just a cycling route but a testament to community spirit and the dedication of volunteers from the South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI).
Unveiling the Trail:
Conceived as a gravel and mountain bike-packing trail, the Lavender Cycling Trail beckons adventurers to explore its wonders over three to six unforgettable days. The cycling trail is inspired by the Lavender Walking Trail, a vision brought to life by Terry Lavender OAM in 1997. While the cycling trail closely aligns with its walking counterpart, it cleverly skirts private property, fences, and stiles, ensuring an uninterrupted communion with nature.
The Lavender Cycling Trail owes its existence to the passionate volunteers of SARTI. This non-profit organization, fueled by a commitment to outdoor recreation, has meticulously crafted the trail for the enjoyment of cyclists. Much like its predecessor, the Lavender Federation Walking Trail, the cycling trail stands as a testament to the power of community collaboration.
Signs of Progress:
Initially available as a digital GPX file, the trail underwent a transformation to make it more accessible to a broader audience. Recognizing the importance of way-marking signage, SARTI secured a grant of $29,000 from the South Australian Office for Recreation, Sport, and Racing. In November 2023, the volunteers completed the installation of clear signage along the entire 300-kilometer stretch, guiding adventurers through the Lavender Symphony.
Eden Valley: An Oasis Along the Journey
As cyclists pedal their way north along the Lavender Cycling Trail, the Eden Valley emerges as a popular oasis. Starting with a loop through the township of Springton, you can stop and refresh at the General Store and visit public amenities just up the road. The dirt roads behind the town wind towards the centre of The Eden Valley region, through valleys and over hills scattered with ancient gums, native wildlife and generational farm land.
Crossing the Marne River:
Approaching the Eden Valley township, cyclists are treated to a visual feast as they cross the Marne River. The Lavender Cycling Trail, ever mindful of offering a sensory experience, invites riders to pause and absorb the tranquility that the river imparts. The gentle flow of water beneath, the rustling leaves, and the crisp scent of the season in the air creates a picturesque scene.
Meeting at Eden Valley Hotel: A Gathering Point
Entering the township of Eden Valley from the south along the Lavender Cycling Trail, cyclists find themselves nearing the Eden Valley Caravan Park with amenities before heading 1 km onto the Eden Valley Hotel —a welcoming beacon for riders and a rendezvous point for those meeting companions. The trail gracefully leads cyclists to this charming establishment, where the promise of country meals, friendly faces, and shared stories awaits. The Eden Valley Hotel becomes more than a stop; it's a moment of connection, a pause to share the journey's highs and lows. Staying at the Eden Valley caravan park offers a relaxing overnight rest stop between where you started and where you are going. Waking up to the sounds of bird life in the trees is the perfect way to start the next leg of your journey on the cycling trail.
Keynes Hill Road: The Northern Stretch
The Lavender Cycling Trail north of Eden Valley unveils its charms on Keynes Hill Road. The road, winding through undulating terrain, offers cyclists a dynamic riding experience. Amidst the panoramic views and the invigorating breeze, riders find themselves captivated by the allure of the trail.
A Seasons Embrace: Cycling North into Keyneton
As the Lavender Cycling Trail meanders north into the township of Keyneton, the landscape undergoes a captivating transformation. The trail, flanked by trees, rocky hillsides, vineyards and open land, presents a mesmerizing panorama. Cyclists are enveloped in an ever-changing sensory symphony that harmonizes with the rhythmic pedal strokes. It's not merely a journey; it's an immersion in the seasonal poetry of The Eden Valley.
Climbing out of Eden Valley through Moculta and into Truro
The adventure continues as cyclists face the challenge of climbing and descending the hills out of The Eden Valley. This section is historically and visually rewarding with its scattering of times past and present offering informative places to rest the legs and snap some amazing photos of bygone eras. The hills undulate into the small hamlet of Moculta with its tree lined streets and marks the final stretch through the stunning region of The Eden Valley and into the township of Truro.
The Lavender Cycling Trail, born from the passion of volunteers and the spirit of adventure, is more than just a pathway; it's a journey of connection, community, and natural beauty. As the wheels turn and the Lavender Trail’s symphony unfolds, each cyclist becomes a part of the harmonious tale written by the landscape and the people who envisioned this remarkable trail. So, saddle up, embark on the Lavender Cycling Trail, and let the rhythmic cadence of pedals be your guide through the enchanting heart of South Australia.
See you soon in the Beautiful Eden Valley