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Port Fairy - Warrnambool Rail Trail - Trail Description

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Trail

Port Fairy - Warrnambool Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: 260km south west of Melbourne
Start/end: Port Fairy to Warrnambool
Status: Open
Length open: 37km
Surface: Compacted earth, Coarse gravel, Fine gravel, Sealed
Terrain: Flat, undulating
Best seasons: All
Public transport: Train
Features: tourist
Contact Region: Western Victoria
Protected path along Ilowa Road, 2015. Photo: Steve Bennett
Protected path along Ilowa Road, 2015. Photo: Steve Bennett
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes
legend

Details

Features

  • 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.

Description

Start Points.

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.

Background Information

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.

The line closed in 1977

Links

Download a map of the rail trail here.

The rail trail is maintained by the Rail Trail Committee of Management,  Moyne Shire Council (03) 5568 0555, and  Warrnambool City Council (03) 5559 4800 

 Feedback on the rail trail is appreciated and can be provided to any of  the above.

 Official website

Friends of the Rail Trail – contact details are contained in the official website.

November 2015

To advertise your rail trail support business on this page, please click here.

Contact Us About This Trail

Email or click here: vic-west@railtrails.org.au.

Photos

Comments

Comments

14 comments

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16 March , 2016 by fstrik@bigpond.net.au

Just rode this from Warrnambool to Port Fairy yesterday then back to Warrnambool today. Koroit station & yard was very well kept (and the local volunteers were even mowing the grass as I rode through today). The locals told me that it has been very dry in the area so there has been some cracking and there are patches of rough gravel in parts of the trail in the last few unpaved kilometres before you get to the Glaxo Siding on the outskirts of Port Fairy (so if you're a non-MTB cyclist, do take a bit more care along there) but work to remedy these problems was also evident. If you are cycling this trail, there are large sections without much cover and you may well be reminded that Mr Wind is rarely your friend... Port Fairy is also fairly cycle friendly so do allow yourself some time to enjoy the town too. All in all, a very enjoyable ride and I'll be back!

29 February , 2016 by abrafam

What a magnificent rail trail! We rode this trail over this past weekend, from Warrnambool to Port Fairy on Saturday and back to Warrnambool on Sunday, staying overnight in the delightful town of Port Fairy. The trail is well marked with large yellow arrows (although it would be good to have some more distance markers in place) and traverses a range of scenic areas. The highlight was a detour to Tower Hill and visiting the extinct volcano there with emu's on the plains. Fortunately we had very little (if any) headwinds -- excellent riding weather certainly helped to make this a memorable ride.

09 April , 2015 by Dookie

This RT was the main reason for a recent trip to Western Victoria, and we have given it a 5 star rating. Here is an idea for those visiting the area and wanting to ride the trail from end to end. We set our camper up at the very pleasant Koroit Caravan Park. On day one, we rode in to Warrnambool, had a relaxed look around the waterfront, a pleasant pub lunch in the CBD and an afternoon ride back to our Koroit base. On day 2 we rode in to Port Fairy, enjoyed a few hours there taking in the sites, the Saturday Market and as a bonus were there on the same day as a large number of beautifully restored motor vehicles (all 100+ years old)were on display. As luck would have it, we rode back to Koroit in record time, thanks to a very strong tail wind. The only negative on this great RT was having to ride past the Warrnambool knackery at Levy's Point. I'm not sure how it could be done, but a different alignment here would be appropriate. Once again, congratulations to all the volunteers who do so much to make their RT attractive for oldies like us who have come from afar to enjoy. Hint: look closely at the weather info. (eg Elders Weather) and try and avoid the head winds. We met others returning to Port Fairy who were really struggling into an unpleasant head wind.

05 February , 2015 by cascho

I rode this trail yesterday morning. (4th Feb 2015). This is a great rail trail that is essentially a ride around the back of Tower Hill from Warrnambool to Port Fairy. The only negative was the wind – being an onshore it meant a hard ride into Port Fairy and on the return into Warrnambool. On the other it meant I made good timing riding out of Warrnambool and Port Fairy. The trail surface changes along the route – good around Warrnambool and Port Fairy, very poor as you approach Koroit. It is clear that they are increasing the trail signage – which is good. Just outside of Warrnambool I almost rode over the biggest brown snake I’ve ever come across – so other users watch out. All in all, an good rail trail.

20 November , 2014 by Gary

Started off early from Warrnambool heading to Port Fairy. A very interesting ride along the Merri River and eazy going until Levy's Point road where you travel on a vehicle track. Be careful if moving at speed along here of oncoming traffic and riders. Signage was eazy enough to follow though care is needed due to the sign size and is sometimes hidden. Across Levy's Swamp and through farm lands until you reach Illowa Road and then on to finally joining the original railway alignment near the Illowa Siding location. This site is fenced off but you can see the original platform mound and goods shed. Up through a small cutting on the side of Tower Hill and into Koroit. This Station area is beautifully kept, and a beautiful Station building in the process of being renovated to it's former glory. Here the friendly volunteer staff can offer advice on the trail or history of the lines through Koroit. Koroit is roughly half way to Port Fairy and a junction for the line to Hamilton. The town is also a great place for a morning or afternoon tea break. Down to Port Fairy is a much better ride with hard packed gravel. It is relatively smooth all the way. At Port Fairy look for the old Ganger's or Fettlers Shed. Refurbished bridges along this section are well done and several of the original culverts can be seen. Great workmanship in these. It is a pity that the Siding Names are not displayed with a brief history of the location for eg: what was loaded here, how many trains stopped here and what type of trains used the line. Overall, a great ride for a sixty plus gent. You need to consider whether to go passed the Levy's Point Meat Works if you are squirmish, as it could be an unsuitable site if un prepared. Second half was much better. Could do it all again. Good work to those involved.

15 November , 2014 by Cornwell

We rode the trail from Port Fairy to Warrnambool yesterday. The Port Fairy to Koroit section was really enjoyable but we were disappointed with most of the Koroit to Warrnambool section. The signage was confusing close to Warrnambool, there were a couple of boring bits which went along next to the road for a few k's, there were some sand drifts that we found scarey, and approaching the rending factory, we could smell and see the tracks of wild pigs which was quite disconcerting given that we had to walk those sections (sand drifts) The pigs would have been attracted by the rending factory which was like something out of a horror movie with great (20 foot high) piles of dismembered animal carcases, skins, flesh and bones as well as stinking, belching chimneys. The one saving grace for this section was the boardwalk covered wetland where we were able to see Magpie Geese, Avocets,Terns, Banded Godwits and Black Swans.

10 November , 2014 by smithy1000

Did this trail 09/11/14 Loved the scenery but the trail is in dire need of an upgrade at several locations to make it a viable attraction for people to come all the way from Melbourne and outside of Warrnambool Port Fairy area.

02 February , 2014 by Dale Rogers

We did this from pt fairy to koroit and return 1/02/14, was ok but found the section a little boring only farm land to look at. Track condition ok little bumpy in a few places looks like the farmers may use it in places, will return to complete the section from koroit to warrnambol sone.

10 January , 2014 by Steam Powered

Hi All. Did this trail Port Fairy to Warrnambool on Jan 8 2014, with my 17 YO son on MTB's. Could have done without the headwind, but that's not the fault of the trail. Got to Warrnambool and popped into Browns Depot Bakery for some awesome nourishment. Picked up my other son, daughter and MTB tandem bike & headed back toward Port Fairy. Stopped at Koroit for a snack (Gravy Chips from the little fast food place over the pedestrian crossing) then on to Port Fairy for an ice cream (Rebeccas). Great trail. Do it. Signage seemed adequate, as we didn't get lost either way. Surface and scenery good and quite varied (fields, sand hills, wetlands, beach). Mainly hard packed sandstone, some paved & paved road. a few gravel & sandy spots on the road at the Warrnambool end, but nothing dicey. Hybrids would do it fine. Generally flat to slight hills, again nothing hard. Just do it and enjoy.

06 January , 2014 by Cathy

We love this trail. We stay at Koroit and ride to Port Fairy and back then to Warrnambool and back. Thanks to those who look after the trail. It would be nice to have more shade along the way if possible? Port Fairy is such a lovely spot to stop for a while.

31 October , 2013 by neilfarrar

Have to say this track is a disppointment. The Warrnambool to Port Fairy Trail is currently under one metre of water in some sections and is poorly signposted near Warrnambool. With the high rainfall often in the area, more raised sections of track really should have been constructed but I guess the money ran out on this project. Here are some pictures http://sdrv.ms/16HBbKm

22 January , 2013 by DiggerDawson

Sorry. Should have said "travelling West" towards Port Fairy.

22 January , 2013 by DiggerDawson

Travelling East Hint 1: Don't go up to Levy's Point Park and off through the bush trail unless you want to do a bit of mountain biking. The trail is very sandy there. Better to go (as indicated) along the graded dirt road by the knackery. Hint 2: The alternate route from the Lady Bay Resort is more pleasant than going up Stanley and McDonald streets. When you get to the old Woollen Mill wall (now much graffitied) turn left and you will find a narrow bridge across Merri Creek, then a short ride up the grassy hill to the road and the rest of the trail. You can see the bridge on the satellite version of the Google map on this site.

30 July , 2012 by lbatch@bigpond.net.au

I ride the trail on a regular basis. An excellent initiative and a very worthwhile venture. It is amazing, regardless of the weather, just how many other people are utilising this wonderful resource. Well done to all involved.

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News

News

Koroit Station restoration

(Posted: 22/10/14)

Funding has been granted to return the historic Koroit railway station on the Port Fairy to Warrnambool rail trail to its former glory.

More...

Good news on the Warrnambool to Port Fairy rail trail.

(Posted: 05/03/13)

A Moyne Gazette article shows great usage of the Warrnambool to Port Fairy Rail Trail.

More...

Opening of Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (Vic)

(Posted: 06/06/12)

The opening of the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail took place on 31st May 2012 at the Koroit Railway station building.

More...

Port Fairy to Koroit, Organised Fundraiser Ride (VIC)

(Posted: 12/01/11)

Join us on a ride from Port Fairy to Koroit or Koroit to Port Fairy - All welcome!

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Port Fairy to Koroit (Vic) Now Open

(Posted: 03/07/10)

The Port Fairy to Koroit section of the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail in Western Victoria is now open.

More...

Port Fairy to Warnambool Rail Trail

(Posted: 13/04/09)

Work is continuing on this important Victorian Rail Trail. More...

Start of Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (Victoria)

(Posted: 27/02/08)

On Monday 25th Febraury 2008 a collection of interested people gathered near the station site in Port Fairy to see the first sods turned to start the new 37km trail.

More...

Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (South West Victoria) Receives Funding

(Posted: 24/11/06)

The Moyne and Warrnambool Shire councils have been successful in obtaining funding of $850,000 to begin construction of the 33km Port Fairy to Warrnambool rail trail More...

Proposed Port Fairy - Denington Rail Trail Feasibility Study Released

(Posted: 24/01/05)

Moyne Shire Council is seeking submissions on the proposal by thursday 17th February 2005. More...