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Acheron Way and Mt Donna Buang Roads - what are they like?

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by mjt57, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. What are the roads that go between the Maroondah Highway and highway B380 (I dunno what it's name is) like? On the map they're described as The Acheron Way and Mt Donna Buang Road.

    I'm organising our annual winter trip, and am looking at those two roads as possible routes to our destination at Healesville.

  2. I've never been on the Acheron Way [Seany makes note that he should do this] but my brother and father use it regularly (on 4 wheels). Their description is that it's rough, muddy and shitty which makes for a hell of a lot of fun, but on a road bike it might not be. Depends what you're looking for really. :)
  3. So, I take it that the Acheron way is an unsealed dirt road, then?

    Thing is, the map has it as a red line albeit a line that has breaks in it.

    You can view it via the new Melway website:


    And type in say, Warburton, and then pan around.

    OK. Just need to find out what the Mt. Donna Buang Road is like....
  4. Archon Way is sealed for part of the ride coming from Maroondah Hwy near Narbythong but the seal is pretty rough in parts and quite narrow (1.5 lanes). It turns to dirt/gravel after a few km on the way to Warburton. Last time I rode it (maybe a month ago in rain when it gets quite slick) they were doing some maintenance with a grader on the dirt part and putting down some more gravel or something, but havn't ridden it since. Quite sceinic though.

    If it is the Mt Donna Buang Rd that goes from Mt Donna Buang to Healesville (and has Ben Cairn next to it) it is pretty rough dirt until it becomes sealed a few km from Healesville where it joins Don Rd for a few nice twisty corners going down towards Healseville. I believe it was actually closed a while back due to landslip. I think they even hold the Vic stage of Australian Rally Championship along here. It is closed during winter in any case. I havn't been on it for a while but from memory it is quite bumpy, hard and rocky with a couple surprise corners.

    If it is just the section from Warburton up to Mt Donna Buang itself or the lead up to Archon Way that road is nice sealed road that is quite enjoyable.

    All these roads can get quite cold in winter and on one trip along Archon Way it was snowing. However they should be possible to do on road bikes with a bit of caution.
  5. Thanks for the posts, guys. Looks like those two roads are out, then.

    Oh well. We'll have to put up with doing the Reefton and the Black Spurs, twice, then...
  6. Not having travelled either road for over 20 years, I can't comment on their current condition.

    But I do know that Acheron Way used to be mostly dirt and was often closed in winter due to snow, and we're not talking "Oh look, Mildred, there's some snowflakes" - type snow! We're talking four foot of snow or more. When I lived down there a mate had a Datsun 1600 rally car and we wouldn't take it up there in winter.....

    The Mt Donna Buang Road is much the same as the Lake Mountain Road; it goes to the top of the mountain, and then you turn round and come back.
    It was a great riding road, lots of low-gear corners, but being also prone to quite serious snow in winter, it's one to treat carefully. And in any other season, you still have to watch out for tourists, leaf-litter and corners still damp at 2:00pm, kinda stuff...
  7. Was up there yesterday and donna buang is closed :grin:
  8. Was that because of snow? or forests falling onto the road (as have discovered in the past!) Either way - the bike might be replaced with the tabogon for short while :)
  9. Spot on, Rally of Melbourne uses the gravel sections of the Donna Buang Rd occasionally. The road from Warby up to the summit of Mt DB is sealed and is a fun road but at this time of year is shaded and stays wet most if not all day. The section which turns off about 2km from the summit & heads towards Healesville is gravel all the way to Don Road and is great fun to drive in the dark in a company wagon (worked at Mt DB & stayed in Healesville for 2 weeks) just need to watch out for on coming cars as it's very narrow & Skippy & his mates when dark. There are gates at the each end and I think it's closed off during the snow season.

    I think the Acheron Way is also closed off during some times in Winter due to excessive white stuff blocking the road.

    Try ring the Police station at Warburton and asking them if and when the roads are closed as they would know.
  10. The Mt. Donna Buang road is a genuine cracker!
  11. Ill second that been up there a couple of times its a beauty. :)
  12. :applause: :applause:
    A good fun road. I quite often do a run up it in my lunch break. There are a few corners that never dry out this time of year.

    Not much has changed Paul. :LOL:
    Although they are spoiling it and seal a little more of it every few years the Acheron Way is a fun road. The sealed sections are great on a bike and they usually keep the gravel section in good nick. It can get a bit worse for ware when its wet and it cops a lot of traffic. I ride it on my road bike a few times a year.
  13. Nothing like firing up a thread after a few years.

    Had to go to Lake Mountain & Mt Baw Baw today and used the Acheron Way cos I could.

    Basically it still has 13km of dirt/gravel and in todays wet conditions very slippery, mind you I was in a work wagon which, although I now need to wash it, was still fun.

    Not so much fun was the Noojee - Tanjil Bren - Baw Baw part where I spent more time dodging trees and other debris on the roads after the wind that went through overnight.
  14. I notice that the Acheron Way as well as most of the Black & Reefton spurs are available via Google Street view.

    They didn't bother to run up the Lake Mountain Rd for a look unfortunately but you can download plenty of runs from the annual Lake Mountain Sprint Hillclimb from YouTube to see what it's like.
  15. Acheron Way (as already posted) is gravel and quite slippery at the moment. Jay took the KLR with knobbies down that road a couple of weeks ago and found it challenging. There was snow then and many 4WDs moving pretty quickly :shock: Also trees down.
  16. You have to catch the Donna Buang road at the right time too, it's often got a whole bunch of leaves and bark on the road, not to mention snow and black ice in winter, which can make things interesting.
  17. Necro thread!

    Has anyone been up Acheron Way recently? I've never gone all the way down it (as there were fires at the time and I chickened out and turned around :D )

    Looking at maybe doing it early morning on Thursday heading north, but not sure if the unsealed section is in an kind of nick to ride on a road bike.

    If no go, I'm hoping to go up Mt Donna Buang Rd, across to Don Rd then Healesville. So if anyone has noticed that it's closed or snowy or anything, please let us know. If all else fails, we'll obviously go via Reefton spur.

    Ta :grin:
  18. it's a sort of graded dirt.....just depends on recent traffic and weather, i reckon after the bit of rain it might be of average or lesser condition....but i reckon you will get a road bike down there if you wanted too
  19. I did it a couple of months back after a week of nice days (so no rain / snow etc). The road really is very narrow, and still as twisty as the black spur. It was a bit nerve racking not knowing what (if anything) was around each bend, even at low speed.

    The gravel section was SLOW. I'm only a new rider (on a ZZR 250) but the gravel section, I probably averaged between 30 and 50 KM/h, because there are just that many tight bends I had to slow right down for. Can't tell you exactly how long it took (I went from Mt Donna Buang end toward Marysville), but when I finally got to asphalt I was relieved because I knew I'd be there all day if it remained gravel (nearly turned back a few times because it was such slow going).

    All of that being said - it's beautiful scenery through there, quiet and once you get to the asphalt, it was in perfect condition (smooth and pretty much crap free) when I went along it. Just be careful - the road really is only 1.5 lanes wide, at best, and I came around a corner (on my side) to find a couple of rally cars... nothing bad happened but it'd be an easy road to have an unfortunately accident on, since nobody really expects to run into anyone (pun not intended :p). Other than those two cars, I saw one guy on a bike who gave me a wave (I'd pulled over to take a leak) in the almost two hours I was on that road (stopped a couple of times to have a look at the creeks near the road and enjoy the tranquility). I'd do it again, but the gravel will definitely make you long for sealed road since as the corners would be a heap of fun if you had a chance up staying upright through them :D
  20. i did it in the wet over a year ago, its awesome up to the dirt than the road is good, if unsealed, but the scenery is awesome. Keep the visor down, as the little bugs are bloody annoying and near impossible to get out. Do-able on a road bike even if wet if you pay attention and stay smooth'n'steady.