Current and proposed rail trails of North-East Victoria and the Southern Riverina 

Ride, walk, or cycle, it's your choice

Cheviot Tunnel Robert Blackburn.jpg

RAILTRAILS Australia says a rail trail is a ‘shared-use path recycled from abandoned railway corridors.

 

‘They can be used for walking, cycling and horse riding.’

 

There are rail trails all around Australia linking big and small country towns and meandering through scenic countryside just as railways did in the past.

And guess what?

 

North-East Victoria and the Southern Riverina region of New South Wales have, or will have, eight of the best.

 

Most trails have a gravel or dirt surface suitable for walking, mountain bikes and horses, while some are sealed and are great for touring bikes.

 

Following the route of the railways, they cut through hills, under roads, over embankments and across gullies and creeks.

 

Apart from being great places to walk, cycle or horse ride, rail trails are linear conservation corridors protecting native plants and animals.

 

Wineries and other attractions are near many trails as well as B&Bs and other great places to stay.

 

When the old railway services were closed, the lines were removed, but remnants of the past such as railway cuttings, bridges, and even some infrastructure, remain.

 

North-East Victoria has four rail trails, including Australia’s longest, while the Southern Riverina has five.

 

Some of these are being constructed, while others are long-established – and well used.

 

The rail trails in North East Victoria are the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail, the Great Victorian Rail Trail, High Country Rail Trail, and Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail.

 

The rail trails in the Southern Riverina are the Riverina Highlands (Wagga Rail Trail), Culcairn-Corowa-Wahgunyah, Coolac-Gundagai-Tumblong, Tumut-Batlow, and Tumbarumba to Rosewood.

 

So, hop on your bike or a horse, or don a sturdy pair of walking shoes, and follow us on a trail of history and adventure.

 

Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail

 

The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is the ideal way to discover the diverse landscape of North East Victoria.

 

It offers over 100 kilometres of sealed off road trails linking the city of Wangaratta and the popular tourist towns of Beechworth, Rutherglen, Bright and Myrtleford.

 

Great Victorian Rail Trail

 

The Great Victorian Rail Trail is Australia’s longest continuous rail trail, with Victoria’s longest rail trail tunnel at Cheviot (above, photo Robert Blackburn), to the east of Yea.

 

The trail is 134 kilometres in length from Tallarook, through Yea to Molesworth, Yarck Merton, Bonnie Doon, Maindample, and Mansfield.

 

High Country Rail Trail

 

Stretching 78 kilometres from the border city of Wodonga, through Old Tallangatta and out to Shelley, the High Country Rail Trail hugs the shoreline of Lake Hume.

 

Part of the ride is one back in time to the 1950s when the town of Tallangatta was relocated when the old town was flooded by Lake Hume.

 

Former whistle stops along the way include Bandiana, Bonegilla, Ebden, Huon, and Tallangatta, Bullioh and Koetong, terminating at Shelley.

 

The Shelley Railway Station was the highest railway station in Victoria.

Bicycle riders now have the convenience of a repair station located at the Whytes Road carpark which includes tools, a pump, and a wheel chock.

 

Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail

 

An extension of the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail, the Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail is still under construction, with a completion date on late 2021.

 

The closely follows the path of the former railway line that ran between the two gold rush towns, with one stop along the way at Wooragee.

 

The line closed in 1954.

 

*For more information on the North East Victoria rail trails, go to www.ridehighcountry.com.au/rail-trails

 

Wagga Rail Trail

 

The Wagga Rail Trail will be a 20km sealed, off-road trail connecting the Southern Riverina city of Wagga Wagga with the village of Ladysmith to the south east.

Following a gentle gradient through rural countryside, the trail will pass Governor’s Hill and Brunslea Park, Forest Hill, and the RAAF Base, before crossing the picturesque Kyeamba Creek floodplain via historic rail bridges.

It will be a safe, traffic free trail for passive recreation that everyone can enjoy.

Starting at the Visitor Information Centre, the trail will mostly follow the disused Wagga to Tumbarumba railway line.

Access to the trail will also be available at Equex, with links to the Kooringal Rd and Riverside cycle ways.

The trail will end at the Ladysmith Railway Station track head, with its display of heritage railway trikes.

 

Culcairn-Corowa-Wahgunyah Rail Trail

 

In planning stage. Not yet open

 

Cootamundra-Gundagai-Tumblong Rail Trail

 

In planning stage. Not yet open

 

Tumut-Batlow Rail Trail

 

In planning stage. Not yet open

 

Tumbarumba-Rosewood Rail Trail

 

The 21 kilometre long rail trail between Tumbarumba and Rosewood is fully sealed, family-friendly, and suitable for all types of bicycles, scooters, mobility scooters, and prams (horses and dogs not allowed).

 

The trail is NSW’s first on an ex-Government rail corridor and in the future may carry on to Tarcutta, Ladysmith and Wagga which were on the same branch line which closed in 1974.

 

From Tumbarumba, the rail trail passes through scenic sub-alpine countryside and farmland.

 

The rail trail has many historical displays and features four restored bridges from the original rail line which are of significant historical importance, being of timber trestle construction.

 

These have been preserved in the reconstruction and refurbishment process.

 

Mannus Creek Bridge is a seven span tall bridge which also features an inbuilt curve, a master piece of bridge building.

Wangaratta-Whitfield - something a bit different

Although a narrow gauge railway line connected Wangaratta to Whitfield through the stunning King Valley, a rail trail does not exist, even though some parts of the old line are navigable.

However, The King Valley Gravel project has developed a network of hundreds of kilometres of gravel cycling trails throughout the valley.

Ten trails are marked with signage and digitally mapped from Moyhu to the Upper King Valley, with courses ranging from 20-kilometres to 100-kilometres.

The trails suit riders of differing skill levels and endurance.

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