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The Black Spur: Is This Victoria’s Best Drive?

The Black Spur - is this Australia's best drive between Victoria's Healesville and Marysville?

Winding through the rainforest, past tall trees and ferns, with the car windows down; this is Victoria’s best drive, perhaps Australia’s best drive. This is the Black Spur, 30 kilometres of road between Healesville and Marysville.

Black Spur Drive in Victoria

The Drive

Follow the Maroondah Highway out of Healesville and embark on your drive through the world famous Black Spur. Dipping and curving around each corner, the drive will take you deeper into the lush rainforests. Even on the brightest summer’s day the light is muted from the towering canopy 100 metres overhead, the air is warm and damp, and huge ferns line the roadside. I can imagine Jurassic Park dinosaurs wandering around the depths of the forest, hiding behind the foliage.

Marysville, Victoria, Australia

The drive isn’t the only famous encounter you’ll have that day. You’ll be passing the world’s tallest flowering trees – the eucalyptus regnans – standing tall, proud and on guard protecting the rest of the forest.

If you want to savour your Black Spur experience, consider spending the night in Narbethong’s Black Spur Inn. Having recently refurbished the rooms, the Inn offers high quality accommodation, many with views over the gardens and river at the back of the property. The Black Spur Inn also offers great food, both traditional and non-traditional pub dishes, influenced by the seasonal produce available. Speak with your waiter about pairing your meal with a local beer or wine.

Come the summer months or long weekends the road is populated with motorbike riders, the sweeping corners offering an idyllic ride for them, so it’s important to be extra vigilant.

koala at healesville sanctuary

What to see in Healesville

Healesville’s growing foodie scene, as well as being located at the foot of the Yarra Valley, sees the town’s popularity continuing to grow; and with plenty to do it’s a great day trip for both children and adults alike.

Meet some of Australia’s most popular animals at Healesville Sanctuary Wildlife Park and see Tasmanian devils, lyrebirds, wombats, koalas and even hand feed kangaroos! You can even watch a performance of ‘Spirits of the Sky’ and see Australia’s majestic birds of prey and colourful parrots perform.

If you can tear yourself away from Healesville Sanctuary, the historic Yarra Valley Railway offers 40 minute journeys through the Yarra Valley aboard a heritage train. It’s also a great chance to see kangaroos in the wild!

No trip to Healesville would be complete without tasting the local produce – food AND wine!

In the heart of Healesville’s food and wine precinct, Innocent Bystander’s Cellar Door produces some of the best local food. Try their woodfire pizzas accompanied by a sweet wine, though enjoying a drop of their delicious Moscato is also thoroughly encouraged.

For those nursing a sweet tooth, be sure to stop at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery or, for those looking for consistently good food, the cosy atmosphere at The Healesville Hotel is a top choice.

Lake Mountain alpine resort, Marysville

What to see in Marysville

The quaint town of Marysville is reviving and thriving after the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires that claimed much of the town.

Marysville is a town perfect for travellers on any budget with Tower Motel offering boutique budget friendly accommodation, Vibe Hotels opening a property in late 2014, and Marysville Garden Cottages offering luxury accommodation. Best of all, all of these properties are on the cities main street, a short walk away from cafes and stores.

Road trips to Marysville can be done at any time of year with bushwalking and mountain bike trails available. Come winter you’re in for a treat as Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, a 10 minute drive from the town, is the closest town to Melbourne where you’ll find snow beginning  each year on the June long weekend!

While in Marysville be sure to visit Bruno’s Art & Sculpture Garden, visit Steavenson Falls, and make a stop at the Old-style Lolly Shop!

30 minutes. That’s all you need to drive Victoria’s best drive, perhaps Australia’s best drive, but why not make a trip of it? There’s plenty to see in Marysville, Healesville and if you LoVe Drives, perhaps the Black Spur drive is the perfect day trip or weekend getaway for you.

Now it’s over to you:

Where is the best drive you’ve taken?

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This post was created with the support of Shell Australia.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.

Photo’s courtesy of Tourism Victoria (koala photo) and Lake Mountain Alpine Resort (snow play photo).
All other photos are taken and owned by Nicole Smith.

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36 Comments

  • Reply
    rebecca
    June 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    ohhh never heard of this! I want to go

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:35 am

      It’s a great short drive Rebecca.
      Hope you get to go soon!

  • Reply
    Sammi Wanderlustin'
    June 5, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    ZOMG…. KOALA!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:35 am

      My thoughts exactly! 🙂

  • Reply
    Melfed
    June 6, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I would LOVE to do the Adelaide to Darwin trip through the red centre. Nothing like a good appreciation for the shear size of Australia than to get out there and brave some of its toughest environments!!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:36 am

      That would be an amazing drive Melfed!
      I grew up in Adelaide so have always wanted to undertake the journey myself… though I’m not sure what my car would think of it!

  • Reply
    Liz G
    June 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I’d most love to go on the Apollo Bay Bypass – 50km of unspoilt Victorian beauty near the coast.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:38 am

      The Apollo Bay coastal drive is one of my favourites when I head to the GOR. Might have to take the detour you recommend next time Liz.

      Thanks for contributing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nora
    June 8, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I lived in Australia for about a year and a half, just north of Marysville, and I always loved driving The Spur (as long as I wasn’t behind a logging truck)! I was also there during the fires, so am glad to see that The Spur (and Marysville, and Buxton, and Narbethong, etc etc etc) has recovered nicely.
    An equally epic road to drive in the world (though not as exciting for motorcyclists with the curves of The Spur) is the Icefields Parkway in Canada, between Banff and Jasper.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:37 am

      Oh wow, I didn’t know that Nora! Great fun fact about you. 🙂

      I’ve visited the Columbia Icefields and Jasper and the drive was beautiful, would love to continue down to Banff. Heard the town has a great atmosphere!

  • Reply
    Benjamin Travia
    June 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I would love to take the drive from Perth to Margaret River. Watching the city slowly transform into greenery is breathtaking.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Sounds absolutely beautiful Benjamin. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah T
    June 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    My best drive was our honyemoon drive. A 3 hour drive to Margaret River two nights after we became husband and wife. We were so happy and excited.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:40 am

      Aw, that’s beautiful! 🙂

      It makes a drive so much more special when you have such fond memories attached to it.

      Thanks for sharing Sarah!

  • Reply
    Catherine
    June 9, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Ahh so beautiful! It reminds me of the drive through Margaret River in Western Australia (which is my favourite drive), which is full of huge karri trees! Australia is such an amazing country, I miss it so much. I’ve seen the whole of the West Coast numerous times, but I’d love to see more of the East coast, I’ve only been to Sydney a coupla times over East. One day!

    C x
    Lux Life Blog

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:41 am

      Everyone seems to say that Western Australia has beautiful drives. I really need to come over and experience them for myself.

      Hope you make it over to the East coast – there are some GREAT road trips out here!

  • Reply
    Savi of Bruised Passports
    June 11, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Love the second photo with all those trees – stunning!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:30 am

      Thanks Savi!
      It’s a beautiful place. I actually pulled over in a rest spot on my way home and just laid in the car looking at the trees for a little while. 🙂

  • Reply
    Katherine
    June 13, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Stunning photos! It’s such a beautiful drive. I’ve been there once but keen to go back.

    There are so many awesome drives I want to take in Australia though it’s so hard to just pick one. I think Ocean to Outback would be great though – going up from Adelaide, through the Barossa Valley – cos I love wine! And then heading up to Alice Springs and Uluru to experience more of the outback that I’ve completely fallen in love with. Otherwise a coastal one as I’m a water baby around Townsville or Cairns so I can go diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:34 am

      The Ocean to Outback is a drive (or train ride!) I’ve wanted to take all my life, though I think a coastal drive to Cairns would be sparsely populated but even more fun because there’d be plenty of deserted beaches. 🙂

  • Reply
    Russell
    June 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I think the drive between merimbula and batemansbay is a beautifull drive . Driving through the forest and countryside and the ocean on the side lovely country.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:29 am

      Sounds like another drive I need to put on my list!
      Thanks for the tip, Russell. 🙂

  • Reply
    Paul M
    June 22, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Enjoyed the article on The Spur very much. Refeshng, nd brt back memories.

    Read something recently (possibly in Royal Auto mag) that the real name is
    Black’s Spur, ie named after one Mr Black. Till them I thought it was so named due
    to its darkness thru thte year. Loved your term ‘muted light’.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:29 am

      Thanks for the kind comments Paul, and a really interesting fact you picked up!

  • Reply
    Tim
    June 23, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Apart from the incessant covert Police presence (they hide in the trees), the hilariously low limits, and space cadets wandering all over the road, it’s a lovely drive.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:28 am

      Hrm, I wouldn’t say they’re low limits considering how steep some of the bends are but it is a bit worrying at how people wander across the road…

  • Reply
    TG Fields
    June 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    We love the Black Spur drive, but found that in at least one location, someone had dumped fully grown dogs in plastic bags – unknown how they died but we were told it is likely this is the work of unscrupulous dog-breeders dumping the breed dogs once done with. The reality of the isolation of this road really came home to us.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 29, 2014 at 2:27 am

      Oh my god! That’s absolutely horrible!!!

      I am a huge dog lover and absolutely appalled by this. I hope people can find a way to prevent this happening in the future. 🙁

  • Reply
    Jane
    July 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    This is one of my favourite drives, heading up and over the Great Dividing Range… A stop at the buxton Roadhouse is amusing… for anyone driving over the Black Spur and getting hungry – have a ‘Buxton Burger’, they are massive!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I’m planning on taking my housemate out here in the next few weeks so will have to hunt down one of these Buxton Burgers!

      Thanks for the tip Jane!

      • Reply
        Jane
        August 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

        Your housemate will love the drive I am sure Nicole. Try and make time to go to Marysville too. It has been rebuilt quite a bit since the awful fires. One amazing spot there to visit is Bruno’s Sculpture Garden, on the Stevensons Falls Road. Does not cost much to enter and is a whimsical garden that will make you laugh and admire him. Bruno lives on the property and is usually up for a chat if you see him!

        • Reply
          Nicole
          August 29, 2014 at 2:26 am

          I went to Marysville last year and you’re right. It’s so beautiful now and it has such a wonderful community spirit.

          Bruno’s Garden is so beautiful and amazing how he has managed to save or repurpose so many of the broken sculptures.

          Thank you for the tips. I will be trying to take my housemate out there before she goes home. 🙂

    • Reply
      Sandra Reddan
      July 28, 2016 at 6:21 am

      Unfortunately the Buxton burger took a dive when new owners took over it was a great loss to the locals . Try the home made pies at the general store everyone is raving over them . Always love driving the spur used to live in Buxton now live in Healesville, so travel opposite direction. Miss Living in Buxton surrounded by majestic views .

  • Reply
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    September 18, 2015 at 5:06 am

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  • Reply
    tj
    September 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Hi,

    Great pages to plan our trip to Australia. Adding maps to the above will help even more probably you can embed it from google maps or something.

    Thanks,
    tj

    • Reply
      Nicole
      September 25, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, TJ.
      I am currently designing a new website and hoping to include a map feature. 🙂
      Safe travels to Australia!

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