Thursday, November 1, 2012

Riding the Donvale Dragonback!

And doesn't the name Dragonback sound much nicer than..... *yawns* Buck Reserve or Orchard Grove... haha.. or at least call it something cheesy like the Warrandyte Wave or something :)

But in all seriousness - it's a good and recent discovery - this trail can at least serve as some level of training grounds for hill climbs.

The 'dragonback' route as I like to call it actually runs along with the power cables in this area. Unfortunately it's a 'broken' dragonback with one part located in Buck Reserve & the other over at Currawong Bush Park (aka Kangaroo land).

If you're coming from Old Warrandyte Rd or Tindals Rd, look out for sign-post of Donvale Christian College. The entrance to Buck Reserve is via the Mullum Mullum Trail, you can't miss it. There's a few routes you can follow once you hit the Mullum2 trail, you can either choose to stick to the main trail which is bitumen & suitable for cyclists, you'll end up crossing the Mullum2 creek and end up on the left side of the creek; or you can look out for dirt tracks that run along the right side of the creek - either way will lead you up north towards Reynolds Rd. There are some pictures I posted in my previous post which were taken along this dirt track.

A THIRD way - which is the Part 1 of this Dragonback path, is actually traversing into a very steep dirt track on the right of Mullum2 trail shortly after entering it from the main road. This steep dirt track is visible and is situated just behind the first shelter/hut/benches with roof. Easy to miss. 

This steep path will bring you towards the College, once you conquer this first portion - you've traversed the first climb of the Dragon's back! Continue along the College's fence line, follow the winding path down, keep bearing right & it will eventually lead you the grand vast green opening of the Buck Reserve... now if you continue to run uphill to the right & towards the power cables, you would have traversed the 2nd climb, it isn't as steep and it would eventually lead you to Llama Land! or rather Alpaca Land! <- managed to read up a bit on Llama species :)

I have yet to figure out who actually owns these Alpacas in the middle of Buck Reserve, and for what purpose..
Call me soft - but isn't that the cutest Alpaca alive?
The view up at Alpaca land (Buck Reserve) - looking north.. 
And that's looking south.. 
And that's the zoomed-in view after you've gone North, down the slope, up the slope & looked back :)
So anyway after Buck Reserve if you continue north-wards, you will eventually come to the vicinity of Donvale Pony Club. The club is right next to the Mullum2 creek so you might miss it if you're staying at the high-grounds under the power cables. But all the trails are nicely intermingled & the area isn't big so it should be easy to get your bearings after a while.

Regardless if you're continuing north-wards, you will eventually hit Reynolds Road. This road separates Buck Reserve from Currawong Bush Park (aka Roo land). There are few ways getting into Currawong, if you follow the main gravel road called Reedpollock Drive (who comes up with these names!), it will eventually lead you to a car-park uphill. Along the way you can sidetrack into well-marked trails. I usually take the first trail on the left of this road. Which eventually leads to a circuit track called KillJoys (once again, who comes up with these names?? & whose joy got killed here i wonder). At this point - you can choose to go straight & stay at the low-grounds, or you can turn right if you want to stay close to the power-lines & find the undulating terrains again eventually.

If you're lucky you will find roos grazing/having a laugh/doing their thing in their groups very near to this trail/circuit track. I've come across them a couple of times now.. the only time they weren't moving away from me was when there was this fence between us (see pic below) & a huge male roo (which i believe could be the real reason) closest to me opening up its shoulders & flexing what seem like muscles twice the size of my thunder thighs. I didn't manage to get him on picture coz he decided to only emerge from behind a tree when I was getting closer & more daring putting these smaller female roos on video.. but you get the idea - Roos are everywhere in this park!

Them roos.. what did I tell ya, they're everywhere! You don't always get to see them - but they're most active in the evenings, and running into a pack like this in the fading hours of the day, in the bush all alone - call me soft, but can be daunting for a first-timer (I don't consider myself that anymore of coz :))
This was another time when I bumped into them as I spun round a fenced area in Currawong - & every mammal in the vicinity stopped dead in their tracks for at least 2 mins. Staring at each other.
If you take a right from the KillJoy signboard, the trail brings you towards the power-lines and you'll see nice bushes along the way.
Eventually when you're  about right under the power-lines, you will start to notice houses on the right, and see this gate & sign on your left. If you want you can proceed beyond these gates which is what I usually do. 
Continue up the slope & eventually you will reach an intersection. And get this glorious view with Currawong sign-board. You've actually reached the mid-way point of Orchard Grove that intersects with the unmarked trail you've just traveled on. 
Look right & you will see the dragonback's tail.. !
That's yours truly tackling the dragon's tail, beware there are a few ferocious barking dog living along the dragon's tail! Eventually you will reach this locked gate & Tindals Road. I have not ventured beyond this point to date.
From the intersection if you choose to go straight - you will immediately be greeted with a very steep gravel downhill followed by an equally steep gravel uphill!! Picture on the left is what you'll see & the one on the right is view coming back. I've actually seen the roos grazing at the top of that hill & they probably do these hill-reps on a daily basis! From the intersection if you take left - you will head back towards the low-ground trail next to Mullum2 creek.
Beyond the steep down & up you will be greeted with a gentle slope down.. this pic is looking back at this gentle slope. It will eventually lead you to the end of Orchard Grove (there's a final uphill!) & into housing area next to Warrandyte Rd & back to civilization.  
So there you have it folks. My semi-extensive plog on the Donvale Dragonback :) It's my regular training route these days - I love the terrain & it gives me a chance to be truly out there with nature, on my own & with the roos.. I have gone slight further north-west before - further along the Mullum2 creek but have stopped short outside of Tikalara Park. My eventual aim is to be able to plot out a super LSD route towards the Yarra River and back.. meanwhile the dragonback is still plenty to ride on for time being!

Until later folks.

Thought I'd share the terrain & map profile of the dragonback route too! picture > thousand words :)


  1. Killjoy?? What a name!
    And yeah, I can imagine the Roos just stopping and staring...

    1. hopefully they'll be around to meet & greet when ur around!