Compacted earth, Coarse gravel, Fine gravel, Sealed
Protected path along Ilowa Road, 2015. Photo: Steve Bennett
Heading north out of Port Fairy, 2015. Photo: Steve Bennett
Start of the trail in Port Fairy, 2015. Photo: Steve Bennett
The trail starts at Regent St in Port Fairy and ends at the Warrnambool foreshore promenade.
After leaving Port Fairy it skirts the northern side of a 25,000 year old extinct volcano, now the Tower Hill State Game Reserve. The crater is home to native animals and has many walking tracks.
From the Highway to Warrnambool the trail does not follow the original alignment.
The signage for the trail is deficient at the Warrnambool end.
Horses are permitted beside the trail only between Commercial Road (or Penshurst/WarrnamboolRd), Koroit and Illowa, then down Illowa Rd to Millers Lane and on to Levys Point track. This means horses are not permitted between Port Fairy and Koroit, or along the Merri Creek to Warrnambool.
Port Fairy - The trail starts at Regent St, east of the information building
Koroit - Parking is available at the Koroit station building on Bourke Av
Illowa - Underpass on the Princes Hwy. Park in Lanes Lane
Warrnambool - The trail starts at the Breakwater but is not well signposted. Alternately start where the Merri Creek intersects with Roxburgh Close
Port Fairy to Koroit (17.7km)
This section is sealed for 1.5 kilometres as it leaves the town. After crossing the Princes Highway, the trail passes through farmland before arriving at the old station in Koroit, which is being beautifully restored to its former condition. Koroit is a lovely town, with refreshments and toilets etc.
Koroit to Illowa (5.5km)
This section travels south east toward the Princes Highway where an underpass has been built. At Lanes Lane, just before the highway, you travel west along the lane to the underpass.
Illowa to Levy's Point (8.8km)
Riders should check the official website for any flood waters after heavy rain.
As you pass under the Highway, you travel along the Illowa Rd which has been fenced off to provide separation from traffic, and turn right into Millers Lane. At the top of the lane the path continues on the right hand side of the horse riding school, and down hill, across the board walk over Kelly''s Swamp. The trail continues on a dirt road past the knackery to Levy's Point..
Levy's Point to Warrnambool (5.7km)
The last section of the trail winds along the Merri River to the breakwater in Warrnambool.
The section between Illowa and Warrnambool is not on the original railway alignment, and at present the signage is minimal in this section.
The line was opened in 1890 and cropping farmers were pleased to be able to send their produce to Geelong by train, rather than by ship from Warrnambool and Port Fairy (then known as Belfast) ports. The area grew wheat, oats, malting, peas and beans, potatoes, turnips, hay and grasses.
The line also provided an important recreational aspect. Special trains ran to the seaside towns for picnics and excursions.