Maroondah Highway: Healesville to Narbethong – Links to towns along this route are at the bottom of this page

The Black Spur is a scenic, winding road between Healesville and Narbethong that is a beautiful drive that features towering mountain ash and huge tree ferns for about 15kms of the drive. This road has been a highlight for travellers since the early 1900’s and is a great place to start your journey into the High Country. On a misty morning the atmosphere is quite stunning, especially as pretty shafts of sunlight shine through the mist.

Healesville is around a one hour drive north east of the Melbourne CBD and 20 minutes from the outer north eastern suburbs. This picturesque Yarra Valley town is in the foothills of the High Country and nearby to famous wineries, orchards and berry farms. Visitors and locals alike enjoy stopping at farm gates to stock up on supplies of local produce and some farms are popular places to pick your own berries and cherries.

Visitors are attracted from near and far, to enjoy the variety of food and wine on offer. This foodie haven has everything from bakeries and cafes right through to award winning dining. The heart of the town is where you’ll find historic country pubs, boutique shopping and a streetscape that dates back to the 1800’s. The best way to discover its fascinating past is by following the route of the Healesville Historic Walk which takes you to over 25 locations and includes informative signage along the way.

To experience the Black Spur touring route, leave the centre of Healesville (Healesville Walk Shopping Village) and follow the Maroondah Highway towards the towns of Narbethong, Marysville and beyond to Lake Eildon. Our description of this short, yet iconic touring route covers 24kms until the Maroondah Highway meets the turnoff to Marysville.

Just over 3kms from the centre of Healesville and before the famous stretch of this road begins, is the Maroondah Reservoir Park on the left. This large shady parkland has picnic and BBQ areas, rotundas, walking trails and a variety of flora and fauna. Another 7kms further up the road, after crossing the small, Watts River, is the Fernshaw picnic area, in a picturesque setting in the forest with picnic tables, gas BBQ, toilets and deciduous trees showing off their colours in Autumn.

Leaving Fernshaw picnic area, the next 6kms, to the highest point on this route at around 550 metres altitude, at the Dom Dom Saddle picnic area, are the most memorable, with mountain ash and tall tree ferns lining the way. You can see why this stretch of road has been used for a variety of TV commercials and other advertisements through the years.

The Dom Dom Saddle picnic area, with picnic tables, is a pleasant place to stop and take in the sights and sounds of nature in the surrounding forest before continuing on down the road, out of the forest and onto the open farmland of Narbethong.  Narbethong offers, accommodation options, a country pub, ski equipment and snow chain hire outlets and is a picturesque rural area with a mix of open farmland and scattered forests. The road to Marysville starts 24kms from the start of this touring route and leaves the Maroondah Highway, turning off to the right where the delightful village of Marysville is found in just 9kms.

Enjoy the video below, from the team at ‘North South’, cycling the Black Spur.