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Great Victorian Rail Trail - Trail Description

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Trail

Great Victorian Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: North east Victoria.
Start/end: Tallarook to Mansfield / Alexandra
Status: Open
Length open: 134km
Surface: Fine gravel
Public transport: Train, Coach
Features: tourist
Contact Region: Northern Victoria
Typical scenery on the trail near Yea (2012)
Typical scenery on the trail near Yea (2012)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for wheelchairs Suitable for horse riding Suitable for prams
legend
Details

Features

  • Formerly known as the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail, this is a high standard rail trail traversing undulating farmland.
  • Features the only tunnel on a rail trail in Victoria and a long bridge across Lake Eildon.
  • Almost all of the bridges have been made trafficable and the few low level crossings are easily graded.
  • There are several crossings of major rural highways
  • The surface is either a bitumised granite, which is suitable for wheel chairs and prams, and compacted gravel which may not be suitable for wheel chairs and prams in sections.  Where possible a separate bridle path is provided for horses.

Description

Access Points

Major access points are:

  • Tallarook
  • Trawool - Car park at the resort
  • Homewoood
  • Yea - At the railway station
  • Molesworth - Car park off Whanregarwen Rd
  • Cathkin
  • Merton
  • Bonnie Doon - Car park on the Melbourne side of the bridge
  • Mansfield - Old station / tourist information centre on the Melbourne side
  • Alexandra - Old railway station on the north side of town

Tallarook to Yea (38km)

  • Follows the Goulburn River up a picturesque valley.
  • Compacted gravel surface trail.  Refer warning above.

Yea is a medium sized regional town with several eating establishments.

The former Yea Station building has been restored and is now occupied by the local tourist information centre, as has the goods shed which is occupied by local artists. The station also has a great playground, picnic facilities and a skate park.

Yea to Cathkin (21km)

  • Features lots of bridges for the Yea and Goulburn River flood plains.
  • In the middle is the climb up to the 200m long Chevoit tunnel.  Even though straight it is quite dark in  the middle so take care or have a light.
  • Compacted gravel surface trail. Refer warning above.

Molesworth is a small town with basic facilities.

There is nothing except interpretive signs and toilets at the former junction station of Cathkin. After crossing the highway go straight on for Bonnie Doon and Mansfield or veer right for Alexandra.

Cathkin to Bonnie Doon (40km)

  • This section has the biggest climb up to the highest point on the rail trail at Merton Gap.
  • Compacted gravel surface trail.

Yarck and Merton are small towns with basic facilities, while Bonnie Doon has more facilities for visitors.

Bonnie Doon to Mansfield (22km)

  • No real hills in this section.
  • Features the 385m long bridge over the Brankeet arm of Lake Eildon, a real sight when there is water under it.
  • Approaching Mansfield on a clear day, Mt Buller is clearly visible, a real treat when covered in snow.
  • Bitumised granite surface trail

Mansfield is a major regional and tourist centre with many facilities for visitors.  The station is used by the historical society with some carriages, and the large tourist information centre is adjacent.

Cathkin to Alexandra (13km)

  • A signficant climb either way on this section with panoramic views of the valley at the top of the gap.
  • Bitumised granite surface to the gap and compacted gravel surface trail to Alexandra.

Alexandra is a major regional centre catering for visitors.

The former Alexandra station site is now home to the Alexandra Timber Tramway

Public Transport

Public transport options on the rail trail are:

There is no public transport between Tallarook and Yea, nor between Cathkin and Alexandra.

For more flexible transport and hire services refer to the the bottom of the trail description.

Background Information

This broad gauge branch line opened to Yea in 1883 and Mansfield in 1891.  A further branch off from Cathkin reached Alexandra in 1909.  The entire line closed in 1978 along with many other branch lines across Victoria.
Apart frrom the Bonnie Doon bridge, which opened in 2000, the  first major stage of the rail trail opened in August 2010.  The entire trail was opened by Autumn 2012. In January 2014, branding as the Great Victorian Rail Trail was completed.

Links

The trail is managed by the Shires of Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield.

Great Victorian Rail Trail official website

Official Phone: 1800 787 245
Please report any issues to the Rail Trail Project Officer at the Mansfield Shire on Ph: (03) 5775 8571(03) 5775 8571.

Mansfield Visitor Information Ph: 1800 039 049
Yea Visitor Information (Y Water Centre) Ph: 03 5797 2663
Alexandra Visitor Information Ph: 1800 652 298
Seymour Visitor Information Ph: 03 5799 0233

Quick link to the Great Victorian Rail Trail official booklet.

Support Services and Attractions

Rail Trail Bike Tours

Rail Trail Bike Tours 2012 350

Bike Transfers Hire & Tours.  Can pick up from various locations including Melbourne, Lilydale or on the trail.

Alexandra Motel & Motor Inn

Accommodation in Alexandra, 76 Downey St (Downey St is a continuation of Maroondah Highway) Near Secondary College.

All Terrain Cycles

 

 Supplies the rail trail with bike hire, transfer and tour packages. Also sales, service and repairs.

Yea Peppercorn Hotel

 

Historic country hotel at the doorstep of the Great Victorian Rail Trail. Bike rider friendly with great packages.

January 2014

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

Contact Us About This Trail

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

Photos
Videos
Comments

Comments

53 comments
November 07, 2014 by JonoGeelong

Highlight - the 20km descent at speeds on the way back to Tallarook from the peak just after Merton, all the way through to Cathkin. The quickest 20km I've ever done, even on a mountain bike, gravel track, 10kg backpack on and having to slow down for a number of gates. Exhilarating !!!!!!!!

November 06, 2014 by JonoGeelong

Returned from the trail today. I rode from Tallarook to Mansfield yesterday, stayed overnight at the Delatite hotel in Mansfield and then returned to my parked car in Tallarook this afternoon. Tallarook to Mansfield took me 9.5 hours including a stop for lunch at Cathkin which is exactly half way and another stop for food in Bonnie Doon. The return trip from Mansfield to Tallarook which is predominantly down hill took about the same amount of time however there were more stops for breaks and a tyre puncture didn't help. With all the purpose built bridges along the way, the trail would have cost in the millions to get it up to scratch. There are fairly new toilets and shaded picnic tables along the track approximately every 10kms or so and markers along the 120km from Tallarook to Mansfield indicate how far you've traveled. The gradient map on the great victorian rail trail website is fairly accurate and you can expect to steadily climb for about 20km from Cathkin. There is also a steady climb from Yea to the Cheviot tunnel and a long descent for about 7km once you come out of the tunnel. Watch out for swooping magpies, I was swooped on 3 separate occasions and look out for brown snakes on warmer days as I had 2 cross my path, one on each day. Only attempt the 2 day turn around if you're reasonably fit and you've had a reasonable preparation as 240km in 2 days on a gravel track, battling headwinds at times can be a big ask. The only town with a decent range of eating choices along the way was in Yea, otherwise choices are limited at other towns on the track. The Delatite hotel in Mansfield offers a glorified backpacker type accommodation recently refurbished and I paid $60(1 person) booking direct for a double bed room which was clean and well presented, including television in room and free wireless internet and a lock up area for my bike and staff were very friendly and helpful. Mansfield itself offers plenty of eating options and has foodworks and IGA supermarkets for cheap groceries. The trip as a whole was a pleasant one and well worth doing at least once with views mainly of the Goulburn river in the early sections of the track followed by lots of green rolling hills and cattle and then the lakes and water ways of Bonnie Doon. There are plenty of trees offering shade along the track and I would think that about 2/5 ths of the track is shaded which on warmer days will offer respite from riding in the sun. I also noticed parking areas at different points all along the track so that you can pretty much start and finish where ever you choose. Hope this information helps on your trip.

August 11, 2014 by KCorneille

A group of us - family and friends - rode yesterday with an initial meeting point at the car park next to Trawool Comfort Inn. This is listed as an access point on railtrails.org.au. Be warned: this establishment is NOT bike friendly. We had gone inside to buy some hot snack food (which they do not have), and yes did use the toilets, and were told in no uncertain terms "we are sick of being treated like offal" with you and your friends using the facilities here like they were public toilets!! Only 2 of our group of 11 had ventured inside so it was a shock to hear the tirade! A simple sign on the door explaining that there were public toilets in easy reach (but we had not seen them when we arrived) would have helped! We quickly changed our plans to come back there after the ride, and moved our cars further along the trail towards Yea never to go near the Comfort Inn again. It was a cold winter's day and only 2 of us rode the 27km towards Yea, and 7 (including 2 children) rode the 10km from Homewood to Yea. The track condition was very good and the scenery was lovely. Unlike Trawool Comfort Inn, our group of 11 (9 riders plus a driver and 2 y.o.) was treated with great friendly service and food at Marmaldes's cafe in Yea. P.S. We have also ridden the stretch from Cheviot to Yarck back in mid-April and the surface was very soft with lots of ruts (it had been quite wet prior), so with that and coming across a red bellied black snake we had to be very wary. Also a good idea to remove sunglasses when going into the tunnel! ;)

June 28, 2014 by jeff Rigby

I rode this trail in November 2014, out and back, Mansfield to Tallarook, Seymour and then back to Mansfield via Alexandria. Some of the comments have alluded to to the roughness of the trail around Merton and also the attitude of the proprietor of the Merton road house and I would agree with that. I did find the endless barriers at the many road crossings between Mansfield and Bonnie Doon a bit of a trial and probably pretty unnecessary considering they would mostly see traffic about once a day at the most. I was camping and so with a fully loaded bike I needed to slow almost to a stop every time I passed through them. I sense the dead hand of the Insurance companies. However these are minor quibbles and as a NSW rider I am in awe of the Victorians for building these wonderful trails. One can only hope NSW will follow suite someday. I simply cannot understand the comments by M Lambert 10.10. 13 saying it is a dangerous trail. I am 66 yrs old, and fairly new to bike touring. I had a loaded bike with panniers fore and aft and didn't have any problems at all. I loved the Cheviot tunnel, the Goulburn River was beautiful and the high point was Alexandra, the standout of the trip. I can recommend the caravan park at Seymour as a stopover, beautifully situated beside the river. There is nothing at Tallarook apart from a rather nice little cafe, and Seymour is only about 40 mins away ( At my pace..) an so it makes a good half way stay. I stopped at Yea caravan park out and back and found it excellent, with nice pubs close at hand, most important. All in all, congratulations to all concerned with getting the trail operating.

March 30, 2014 by lyness

Completed this ride just before the really hot weather in December 2014. A great ride and a great contrast to the Murray-Mountains ride. The Alexander spur and the Goulburn river section a highlight. Congratulations to all the stakeholders for producing such a great facility. Will be back to Victoria to try some more trails. Hope the NSW effort to introduce rail trails is success.

March 17, 2014 by stanford67

Rode the Alexandra - Cathkin section early March 2014. Had a bit of trouble finding the start of the trail - I had a bit of trouble finding the station / museum at the start of it. Watch out for snakes in Summer / hot weather. I ran over one (no bite), and narrowly missed another - they looked very much like tree bark which was somewhat common on the trail! Has a lot of shade along it, so is a fairly good trail for sunny days if you wish to be out of the sun. Overall, great trail. A number of other people on the trail on the same day, so well known and well used.

January 23, 2014 by Muzza

My son and myself just completed the ride from Tallarook to Mansfield over two days. Molesworth is a tremendous half way point to camp and have a meal. The meals at the only hotel in town are tailored for hungry bike riders, reasonably priced and served by very friendly people. It is a fair dinkum no frills country pub with lovely cold beer to boot. The camp site is on the Goulbourn River, it is quiet, clean and well suited to the camping bike rider. It would be great if the trail could advertise the facilities available at Molesworth clearly on the trail as the place is a gem. The trail itself is something else. Pure Australiana at its best and no doubt as the word gets out will attract trail riders from all over Australia and the world. But it needs to ensure it gears itself for this future. Attitude to tourists is very important for all service providers. For example the attitude of the staff member at the Merton roadhouse when I asked for water was one of annoyance and bordering on rude. I was lectured on the scarcity of water at the roadhouse in a tone reminiscent of stern teacher. This type of attitude needs to shift but in the scheme of the ride was very rare indeed. Water is an issue and I suggest a visit to the chemist for those water purifier tablets may be of assistance as the toilet blocks do have water only the signs say not to drink the tank water there.I hope that the quality of the surface of the trail improves over time as it will be worth the investment. Carefully consider the type of bike you take. I had a hybrid and my son a mountain bike. I consider myself lucky I only got one puncture. The black gravel has some very nasty looking rocks which lie in wait for the hybrid rider. Compared to the Wangarratta to Bright trail it is the difference between a four wheel drive track and a super highway. Otherwise it is a great ride and one for the bucket list. I hope it only improves and is not allowed to deteriorate as it could be a huge tourist attraction in the very near future and for many years to come.

December 30, 2013 by Sunday rider

Be warned the Trawool Valley Resort is out of bounds to cyclists. Copped a lecture for sitting under a tree today. Otherwise the track was a pleasure to ride.

December 16, 2013 by Bobbymg

Its a great train, Done a bike ride from Yea to Boonie Doon and back in 6 HRS.54 MIn, Even rode to the bridge in Bonnie Doon. It just need some lights(even solar ll do) at the Chevoit tunnel and some sign when you get to Merton , you need to turn left and then right again. Good work and well done Cheers

November 29, 2013 by petera

Just wish to reiterate that this trail is very good. This trail is potentially a major financial bonus for the districts it travels through (and in fact was the sole reason we travelled from NSW to holiday in the area). I hope that efforts are not made to highlight any of the poorer parts of this trail, as, on a whole it is great trail and hopefully will continue to help the area prosper.

November 20, 2013 by MLambert

Hi All, It's good that you are all having a wonderful time riding this trail ... but I still do stick to my comments (Oct 10). Maybe if I had been riding side saddle and a penny farthing the first fall would have finished my ride and I would not have seen the worst parts of the track. Maybe there has been an upgrade of the track since I rode it in October. I will do it again asap and report back .. with photos. In the meantime be careful and have a great time riding you bikes with your families and friends.

November 14, 2013 by Tucker

Just rode the trail, tallarook to alexandra, alex to mansfield over 2 days. great ride, great trail. Maybe MLambert ( Oct 10 comment) should try not riding sidesaddle and they would have found the trail easier. It's not made for penny farthings. It's a rail trail not the hume highway. We had a ball

November 09, 2013 by Davidmc

I also disagree wit the comments on 10th Oct. I rode the trail 2-5 Nov 13 on a MTB tandem with my 7yold daughter and my wife on a separate mtb, and we did over 200kms over the 4 days. The trail was in very good condition, although there were signs there had been some water ruts (so maybe back on 10 Oct), but coming out of winter I would expect that on any gravel based trails. The trail having a variety of surfaces is a good thing, as if we wanted a perfect surface we would have to ride a concrete path - boring ! We loved the trail with it's range of animals, scenery, towns, with good signage and very good toilet & rest stop facilities. We stayed in local accommodation at Bonne Doon, Yarck & Trawool and were all close to the trail. This is great trail, so highly recommend riding it, either the whole days or in shorter sections. One improvement that could be made would be local councils allowing more signage from local businesses re food, accommodation & activities as there are lots along the trail that could be supported more if riders knew what was where. Hope to be back soon !

November 07, 2013 by petera

The comment made on October 10th does not provide a correct appraisal of this great trail. We have just completed over 100km of this track and the track surface is very well compacted, firm, minimal ruts and therefore safe to ride. Not once did we encounter any section that could be considered dangerous. I should mention, we were riding a tandem with skinny cyclocross tyres which would be more sketchy than MTB tyres, so this indicates how good the track is. Do not hesitate to ride this trail.

October 10, 2013 by MLambert

I consider this track as the most dangerous track I have ever ridden and would not recomend it to anyone. I started my ride at Cathkin and headed to Bonnie Doon. The track has ruts, both long and short ones, shale that will puncture a tyre, shale that is deep enough to grab your tyres and point you in any direction, farmer's tracks that cross the path have deep car tyre marks (any where from 6" deep and a 18" wide) that will send you head of heels, magpies that seems to attack when you are going up a hill and the shale is in a bad condition .. try this with one hand steering. The soft shale makes the track harder to push through. It seems that the track was never graded before the black sharp shale was tossed onto it.The track is so dangerous that you do not get a chance to take in the lovely country side .. because if you take your eyes of the path, the ruts or the shales will direct you off the trail and most times down a gradient and into the larger rocks that run alongside the track in places. The black shale hides the unevenness of the track and the wide ruts that cross the path. I love to ride the trails but this was not fun. It's like MYKI .. why re-invent the wheel. There are fabulous rides that have a lovely gravel top and a smooth surface. I understand that the weather does havoc to these paths but weather did not cause these issues ... I ride to enjoy the country side and the view. I hope your third party liability insurance is paid up.

October 02, 2013 by mummabear

I am eleven years old and as of yesterday I have completed the whole rail trail from Mansfield to Tallarook (it took me three days) . It was pretty good considering the weather conditions.My favourite part of the three parts that we did was the section from Merton to Yea.The best experience for me was the Cheviot Tunnel it was amazing.In Yea we stooped over night at the caravan park with our 2-man tents. In yea we went out for dinner at the pub and it had a good range of food for adults and kids.

September 26, 2013 by stanford67

Just rode this trail from Tallarook to Mansfield over 3 days, but not the Cathkin - Alexandra section - what a great trail! Would recomment it to anyone. Merton Gap climb is a bit of an ordeal and would probably be fairly difficult for children. But the sense of achievement and the long coast downhill to Merton from the top was worth it.

September 21, 2013 by Colinohare

Echo the comments about the magpies. They're vicious. Also, do not cycle the train when it's a little wet-you may as well be cycling in sand. Other than that a great trail

September 18, 2013 by Hops

Beware the magpies....they are vicious at many points along the trail at the moment....!!!

June 11, 2013 by Adsummum

We had a touring party of six over the Queens birthday long weekend. We headed from Yea to Bonnie Doon and stayed over night and then back to Yean again. We where very lucky with the weather for this time of the year and while it was very cold on the return ride on Sunday we all enjoyed the trail. For me the best parts where when the trail leaves the Hwy and meanders through the farmland. The trail condition was better than I expected after reading some comments here. We had lunch in Yarck at the Giddy Goat and while it was quite busy they did a great job managing customers, the only thing I would suggest is that the inside facilities need to be a little larger (but given the time of year) it probably suit all other times with very nice outside seating. Then on to Bonnie Doon, we got there around 4:30 after enjoying sun for most of the afternoon. Pub accommodation was good, Water for showers was a little on the cool side which was unfortunate. Dinner and bistro facilities where great. Enjoyed the return journey as it felt a little more down hill back to Yea (other than the climb to the Tunnel) and where back in time for a ale in Yea. In all very much enjoyed the parts of the trail we rode!

April 27, 2013 by maryann-robert

Hi all - family of four including 2 kids aged 13 and 11 did this great ride over 21-24 April. Two mountain and two hybrid bikes with panniers were able to handle the track easily. The track is as described by AndlJ so I won't repeat. Thanks to Jarmin below - I used your suggestions and comments in planning and thought I'd add some of my own for anyone else organising a trip for their family from a distance. We went from Tallarook to Mansfield but I honestly think that unlike the Beachworth to Bright trail where I thought heading into the higher country gave better views, I don't think it made much difference with this one. I was uncertain whether to bother with the spur to Alexandra, but we all (including the kids) thought it was one of the nicest parts of the trail and the views at the top a highlight. One thing we noticed is that a number of eating places were closed Tuesday and Wednesday so if you can plan to do it on Friday to Monday that would give you more options. Otherwise it is very well planned and in good condition other than the lack of toilets between Yarck and Merton. We stayed overnight in Tallarook at the hotel - very friendly, clean, firm bed, good dinner, warm fire and breakfast made at the time we asked so we could leave early. The kids enjoyed the puppy Bonny and the 20 year old cockatoo farewelled us the next morning. We were able to leave our car off the street behind the pub and the trail starts 100 metres from there. We stopped for morning tea at Trawool as suggested by Jarmin and it was lovely. I noticed that only a little further on along the track we could have also stopped at the school cafe or the Trawool Country Resort which both back onto the track. We stopped at Yea and that was a good distance - we had lunch at the Marmalade Cafe which has an interesting history and good food, dinner at the hotel bistro which was very popular and it was lucky we booked. We stayed at the Yea motel in a family room which was clean, comfortable, had a separate room for the kids, shed to put the bikes and a walk to town. But it wasn't much to look at and the pool was closed. We notice that on the same street (Millar) a B&B is opening which might be an option. Next day we rode to Alexandra. We wanted to have a break along the way and didn't realise until driving back that there was a small store in Molesworth which faced the road and hence had its back to the trail. There is absolutely nothing at Cathtkin other than toilets. At Alexandra we stayed at a lovely farm stay a couple of km before the town just off the trail: Fawcett cottages on Old Fawcett road. Private, cottage gardens, fireplace, full kitchen, views over the farm. Very cute. It is only worth staying if you have time to enjoy the animals. We got there by 2pm so the kids got to feed the chooks, ducks,pig, goat, donkey, shetland ponies, sheep, rabbit and guinea pigs. The owners were very friendly and we even got the chook eggs the kids collected for breakfast. Next day we went all the way to Bonny Doon. The kids were a bit daunted by the 50kms and the 393m hill before Merton. But it really is quite easy and well able to be done by intermittent, intermediate riders. We stopped at Yarck and also found the Giddy Gate cafe closed but the general store had nice home made morning tea options and we enjoyed the stop. There is a tearoom just 50m further on that is run by a Melbourne chef open on Weekends that is apparently really worthwhile. But we were there during the week. At Merton the general store does a good burger and there are picnic tables outside. We found Bonny Doon very disappointing, with only one pizza place that was closed Tuesday and Wednesday and a couple of service stations with eateries. We stayed at the caravan park which is right on the trail but if there was an alternative to Bonny Doon I'd go for it. Next day into Mansfield was lovely. The track stops at the information centre and is only 50 metres from the start of town. We used the services of Rail Trail Bike Tours to get back to our car. It takes an hour and half for the drive back. We found them good to deal with and punctual. This really was a lovely family trip and the kids enjoyed it.

March 27, 2013 by AndiJ

March 2013 cycled Yarck-Alexandra. Wonderful. Started at Yarck both to make it a 20km trip, & to dine at the Wondrous Giddy Goat Cafe; forgot it is not open Mon/Tues/Wed. Good cuppa over road instead. Set off for Alex; surface relatively good, sandy bits firmed by recent rain but none of it wet. Had to avoid the ruts from the poor souls who did do it when wet! Nasty spot of loose gravel South of Yarck is now signposted, which is good. FANTASTIC viewing platform (2.8km South of Koriella Station - just after path leaves highway). Trail ends before Alexandra Station. Nice little track through park to main street. (Don't go via back streets - there's a Hill!) Lots of eateries. That gradient can look daunting, but even a wuss like me made it all the way up (still on the bike).

March 03, 2013 by Stephen.G

Hi all, This is a fantastic rail trail - the amount of work to get it to completion has been HUGE. Sure some of the track is still settling but 95% was wonderfull. It was dry and 32 degrees on the days we rode but you could see evidence of people riding when the trail was wet around Cathkin. I rode it with a mate over 2 days and stayed at Alexandra - 70km per day. Despite both being quite fit we only averaged 16 kmph so it turned into longer days than we had estimated. [Plus lunch, coffee and rest stops......] We put this down to the constant climbs [long but not steep] and the surface which sometimes required a degree of special care. The scenery, mountains, rivers and lake were great. We were fortunate to be dropped at Mansfield and trained it back to Melbourne from Tallarook. The descriptions on this website were a great help.

January 20, 2013 by Damian McCrohan

Hi Horserider. Official website may have been having a bad day but link is still correct.

January 05, 2013 by HORSERIDER

Please not that the account for the official goulburn river high country rail trail website has been closed, therefore cannot access the site directly.

November 12, 2012 by Jarman

We rode from Tallarook to Alexandra on the weekend overnighting at Yea. What a GREAT weekend. We did roughly 40km each day with our 7 and 9 yr old kids. We started at Tallarook, riding to Trawool for lunch. We ended up stopping at the "The Shed Cafe and Cottages for lunch" http://www.trawoolshed.com.au/. There was a small handpainted sign on the trail but unfortunately it was after we had already crossed the highway. So if you are coming from Tallarook it is just up a dirt driveway before you cross the Hwy for the 2nd time. We had a very nice lunch that hit the spot perfectly. We then rode on to Yea, overnighting at Wood duck cottage http://www.woodduckcottages.com.au/. It is a little way out of town but not too bad - either stock up on food before leaving town and cook in the great kitchen or come back in and eat in town. We ate at the Royal Mail - huge, yummy meals. The next day we set off to Alexandra. I packed a picnic lunch which I was glad I did as the only town you sort of pass is Molesworth - not much there. The only thing with a picnic lunch was that there wasn't many places to stop and eat it. There were only 2 picnic tables - one just before Cheviot tunnel on the yea side and one at the top of the hill just before Alexandra. Both of them in beautiful spots but a few more would have been nice. In Alex we stayed at the Tourist Park http://www.alexandratouristpark.com/, OK accommodation but fairly noisy as it is right on the Maroondah Hwy. The surface was pretty good but as others of said just be careful of the rivets that form after rain. I rode on my commuter bike with fairly slick tyres and nearly came off a few times. But overall a great trail and can't wait to get back there to ride the other half to Mansfield. PS must have been lucky as we didn't have any swooping magpies!

October 14, 2012 by colabb

Try out the school house cafe tea and banana cake at trawool. Great place for a stopover look for the blackboard with specials on the trail.

October 13, 2012 by Warby1

October 13, 2012 by Michael In mid-September we rode the trail from Mansfield to Tallarook, overnighting at Alexandra. I agree with others that the new trail is a credit to all concerned – well constructed, generally well sign-posted, and traversing very attractive countryside. Two comments are offered: - Again, and as others have noted, two basic types of track surfacing have been used: a black metalic material which is excellent; and a loamy sand which is occasionally poor to terrible. Approaching Alexandra in late afternoon rain we hit a 5 km. section of sand – within minutes all the bikes’ moving parts were covered with a white slurry, track sections were so boggy as to halt progress and, at times, the surface was very unsafe. Next morning we choose the also unsafe highway before rejoining the metallic section of the trail; - Being Spring, on a new track, magpies were plentiful. We encountered 30 – 40 aggressive birds, several of which got quite personal. A shock waiting for the uninitiated/unwary... In summary, a great addition to the Victorian network. And the beer at Tallarook is highly recommended.

October 06, 2012 by JohnOBrien

What a great trail! My wife and I completed the complete trail over 4 days, staying overnight in motels at Alexandra, Mansfield and Yea. We carried our change of gear in panniers, doing about 80km per day at tourist pace. The scenery is fantastic, with snow on the distant mountains, and many wetlands areas. Throw in a tunnel and heaps of great bridges, cuttings and embankments, and it doesn't get any better. Plenty of coffee shops and cafes along the way as well.

October 06, 2012 by tonymcg

Completed the full Tallarook - Mansfield distance (and back) over 2 days this week in fine weather, with a mate. We both had hybrid bikes and covered the 120 km each way in about 10 hours including ample rest stops. Initial stage, from Tallarook to Yea, was sandy but, as dry, no issues although some of trail was hard due to rutted areas. Yea to Bonnie Doone and beyond was perfect - black granite was a perfect surface. Ideal rest stops were Yea, Molesworth, Bonnie Doone and finally overnight at Mansfield. I am not a seasoned rider but managed 240 km reasonably well but would encourage panniers as opposed to a backpack which accentuated 'rear-end' difficulties due to the extra weight. The trail is, overall, very well done and I will do again with extra time and the addition of a side trip to Alexandra. Hills were gradual and manageable by anyone reasonably fit.

September 28, 2012 by Kerry

September 27, 2012 by Kerry We did the Trawool to Cheviot tunnel leg of the trail. The scenery was beautiful, lush green paddocks and all the dams and creeks were full. We all rode mountain bikes and found the first 6 kms of trail from Trawool very manageable. Yes I also met the magpie at Yea. This magpie gives Collingwood supporters a good name. As I tried to turn right into the main street he sat on my left shoulder for at least 20 seconds scratching and pecking me. If you have children be careful he is nasty! Cheviot tunnel is worth riding to but as you climb the grade that seems to go on forever remember on the way back is a lot of fun as you charge down the hill. I had my first close encounter on a bike with a brown snake about 1.5 metres long. All up had a great day loved the ride and I have a few stories to tell about my day.

September 22, 2012 by Karen

My husband and I set off for our second try to get to Yea from Tallarook (and return) and despite seeing other riders with massive bushes attached to their helmets, we didnt have any problem with swooping magpies UNTIL - OMG beware of the one as you enter into the Yea township. Full contact and persistant attacks. Even went for us when we walked out of the pub and put our helmets on (yes - under the verandah!!!) . We took to the road between Trawool and Kerridale from our last week experience of the sandy boggy area. Overall this was a glorious way to spend the day :)

September 22, 2012 by HS

We rode from Tallarook to Trawool and found in some places vehicles were using the track which is quite annoying as the road is just there right next to it, but else it was fantastic and we are back this weekend to ride from Mansfield to Yarck as there is a cafe there who serves the best coffee the billy goat cafe.

September 15, 2012 by dyoll

September 15,2012 by dyoll We set off from Southern Cross using V-Line and started riding the trail on touring bikes from Tallarook staying o/nite at Yea and then next day to Mansfield for the night. We returned via Alexandra (o'nite) to Tallarook catching the V-Line back to Melbourne. Highlights of the 4 day trip were seeing a platypus swimming in the Goulburn River near Molesworth, the Cheviot Tunnel and the 1.5metre brown snake on the track near Yea. We enjoyed our lunch at the Yarck cafe so much on the second day, that we went there again on our return. While it rained one night we had perfect riding weather for the trip.Only problem (seasonal) was the swooping magpies. The track was very boggy in a few sections and needs an engineer to provide a better drainage system as we had to walk several stretches. If in doubt, do not try to ride through sections where you can't see the track.

July 30, 2012 by Curlytop

I am regularly riding between Tallarook and Molesworth and concerned about the number of cars that are obviously using the track particularly between Trawool and Kerrisdale and bogging up the surface in the wet conditions. I don't know how to stop the culprits, but they are destroying this section of the track.

July 29, 2012 by Phlegm Moore

Rode the Tallarook to Yea section with kids this weekend. The sand/gravel surface is in very soft condition after all the recent rain. Parts of the trail are virtually unrideable with anything other than a MTB. I am also concerned that when the trails finally dries out it will be badly rutted. I guess parts of the trail will 'bed down' but at them moment it looks like the trail will rapidly become eroded.

July 03, 2012 by Hops

Just a comment on nealrubins last addition to the comments section...there are 2 main surface types along the entire trail length...either a crushed rock surface (black gravel) OR a sand/clay surface. The crushed rock surface exists along many sections of the trail at various points, and is generally bedding down well (and best for all weather condidtions..ie wet weather) The sand/gravel sections (one section that nealrubin refers to.....is the section just out of Alexandra towards Cathkin) are not good in wet weather, and as neal states "is like riding on the beach"...with all the rain lately, very soft, & these sections are deteriorating with use (many deep ruts from bikes/horses/vehicles!) and i have found that a few days after rain, most sand/clay sections are worth avoiding until they have a chance to dry out.....in other words, great in fine weather when dry, but hard work when wet...especially for kids.. I cant help thinking that if all the trail was surfaced with gravel, then the trail would be a far greater asset all year round....but ?

June 27, 2012 by nealrubin

Did the whole trail, from Mansfield to Tallarook last weekend. Great trail, amazing scenery, the mountains along the route are breathtaking, especially early in the morning and late in the day. The trail is well constructed, with the numerous bridges a highlight. The bridge at Boney Doon is worth the stop and take in the view. Another highlight were all the bridges over the floodplain as you come out of Cathkin headed towards Yea. The Yea tunnel is a must see and worth the climb up the range. Everyone that I met were fabulous and very supportive of the trail and the business that they were getting from it. Lots of riders stayed overnite in Alexandria, the locals are loving it. Probably the only downside, and it didnt bother me that much, was that the crushed granite has not bedded down yet and it rained all the way as I came out of Alexandria and headed west. Because of the rain riding was like riding on the beach. I got to Tallarook completely blown. The CFA at Tallarook were most helpful in letting me hose my bike down. Thanks guys. Overall a fabulous ride on a fabulous trail. I am headed down to do East Gippsland in a couple of weeks. If its anywhere near the GRHCRT I will love it.

May 29, 2012 by Station7CafeYea

Great news! The official opening of the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail will be on 1 June at Molesworth. We've already welcomed lots of cyclists along the trail in Yea and hope many more will explore this wonderful part of Victoria.

May 29, 2012 by spokes

Correction, the last bridge works are between Woodfield and Bonnie Doon, NOT as I mentioned between Bonnie Doon and Mansfield. Sorry about that.

May 28, 2012 by spokes

Just finished the entire trail over two days, thoughly enjoyed it. The surface at the moment is varied as mentioned and particular attention has to be given to it while riding which takes your eyes off the scenery which is disappointing. The worst section is the first 4.5K's out of Tallarook, loose granite sand over the section that got washed away in the last heavy rains, just needs to be rolled, guess that will happen before the opening. Only one bridge to be completed and that is between Bonnie Doon and Mansfield, ride for about 2k's on the road. Not a trail to be done unless a little bit bike fit, some long climbs in places.In warm weather take ample water as no drinking water available outside of towns. Great little toilets along the way, a few other trails could do with those. Congratulations to the 3 Shires involved and only hope the maintenance is kept up to the trail.

May 28, 2012 by pinklady

June 1 will see the official opening of the GRHCRT. The Hon Simon Crean MP will be officially opening the trail at Molesworth. Construction has included the rebuild or refurbishment of over 50 bridges, carparks, toilets, shelters and 134 kilometres of pathway. Over 60 companies, contractors and consultants were used with the majority of these residing in north or north east Victoria. The project team is very proud of this trail and hope that it is well used an enjoyed by all.

April 25, 2012 by darrenmc

Congratulations and thank you to the Mansfield, Mitchell and Murrindindi Shires on this fantastic asset. Hats off also to the Federal and State politicians who had the vision to provide funding. Three friends and I rode the entire trail over four days. Two of us rode the length twice except for a shuttle bus in the rain and cold from Yea to Tallarook yesterday (thank you Mark). One of us battled on to do the whole trail return! I'd make an appeal to other riders who are using this forum to keep your comments tactful and in perspective. It's a very long trail and two years ago there was almost nothing there (except Bonnie Doon - Mansfield). Let's keep our comments constructive and motivating.

April 23, 2012 by Dale

I had a great day on Saturday cycling the whole trail from Tallarook to Mansfield in fine weather. There seams to be some dissagreament in this thread about the best type of surface. I guess that depends on what tyres you ride on. I'd agree with Hops that the worst sections were around Trawool and around the Cheviot Tunnel. These sections were relatively dangerous with deep gulleys cutting across them and the surface gravel washed away all together in places. I would strongly recommend against riding these sections two abreast and recommend careful focus on the path ahead at all times. With recent rains I suspect these sections are all but impassable on slippery clay except for mountain bikes. East of the Alexandra turnoff at Cathkin there is well engineered rail on a solid compacted base of the bluestone mentioned. It is still a little loose in places but much safer than the poorly prepared sandy sections to the west. There are still several bridges unfinished (I thinkabout 7), one of which is in the middle of a gated paddock without path leading to it, but these are easily walked around. A fantastic place for a trail. Thankyou all those people who hung in there and pushed this through over the years. Just a shame someone cut corners on sections of surfacing. Be careful and enjoy!

April 20, 2012 by dogbait

Have also just completed most of this new trail and agree with Hops that the variance in construction is frustrating. The surface from Tallarook to Molesworth is generally the best with a finely, crushed granite surface but most of the track from Molesworth to Alexandra and Molesworth to Bonnie Doon is a loose bluestone surface which isn’t the easiest of cycling surfaces. A fair section of the Bellarine Rail Trail had been completed with this surface, and after many complaints, the Council recently upgraded the track with a finer crushed surface. We were under the impression the whole Trail was completed, but as Hops has highlighted, bridge works are still in progress and there needs to be more picnic tables and interpretive and kilometre signs which I presume will be forthcoming. Certainly the councils and organisations involved need to be congratulated on a fine effort but as Hops pointed out, the large variety and standard of surfaces is frustrating.

April 20, 2012 by Hops

Have just completed the entire trail (in both directions) this week...a few comments that might help.. 1. The section from Mansfield to Bonnie Doon, which was the first section to be "officially" opened, has the best riding surface of the entire trail, and has been well designed and engineered. 2. The remainder of the trail...all of it...from Bonnie Doon to Tallarook (and the Cathkin to Alexandra section) has widely variable surface conditions ! The best is the section from Yea heading east towards Tallarook (almost like a bitumen surface !). The worst... a toss up between Molesworth-Cheviot Tunnel or Tallarook to Trawool ? (Although many other sections with only clay/sand surface are in poor shape since the heavy rains in early March 2012) 3. There are 4 bridges still to be constructed...2 between Yarck and Merton, and 2 (maybe only 1 now?) between Koriella and Cathkin..some works were happening there not so long ago, so at least one may be finished by now. 4. I really wish that the standards applied on the bridge constructions were also applied generally to the trail surface along the entire length ! Yes..i know $ constraints etc etc...!! but if this trail was sealed with bitumen (like the Beechworth-Bright trail) then it would be a far better riding experience, and would cost less in maintenance in the longer term. 5. Overall ? A great asset to the 3 shires involved, more work needs to be done before completion, huge variability in surface conditions disappointing...however a potential tourist boon for business along the route, and a great asset for locals.. 6. All comments as of mid April 2012.

April 14, 2012 by ianjudy

Rode the Yarck-Yea section of the trail (27km one way) on Sun 8 April 2012 (Easter Day) on a tandem. After leaving the delightful cafe at Yarck near the trail (well worth a coffee and a rest-stop) we found the trail at the old Yarck station. We assumed the work there was still being completed as it was not in good condition and had a creek crossing which wasn't at the same level as the track. We soon picked up the properly formed track and generally found it in good condition for a gravel trail. The ride across the floodplain between Cathkin and Molesworth was a delight, with many new and solid bridges to ensure riders remain dry. The climb up to Cheviot Tunnel was steady, but just a little damaged in places due to the recent rain. The damage was not a problem to negotiate, although knowing it was there did slow us down on our return trip by moonlight (and headlight!). As with all the remains from the past rail days, the structure of Cheviot tunnel was amazing, and the sealed surface with reflective markers through it made it a highlight of the ride. After that 10km climb, the ride down and across the flats to Yea was also enjoyable, coming into Yea unexpectedly from the south instead of the east as the road does. Toilets and water stops seemed reasonably well placed along the way in this section. Now we are looking forward to tackling the rest of the trail.

April 13, 2012 by colabb

Anyone using the path Tallarook to Kerrisdale the path has a poor surface that has lots of washouts.The surface has sand on it which has washed away.Parts of the path at Tallarook end have no sand at all.Who is responsible for this mess.

March 15, 2012 by pageal

In mid-2011, I rode 25km from Mansfield to Bonnie Doon (+ 25km return) with about 20 MBTC riders. It was fairly new then, as there was an opening ceremony at Bonnie Doon for the latest 8km section. It had several bridges over creeks, and the surface was fine. One bridge was several hundred metres long over a northern arm of Lake Eildon, and a very impressive bit of bike infrastructure. One lady even towed her young child in a 2-wheeled bike trailer, although her sister took turns. We had a great days outing, and I don't recall anything negative about this section.

March 15, 2012 by pageal

On about 4 Mar '12, I rode the Tallarook-Mansfield (Vic) rail trail for around 3km about 20km SE of Seymour and probably alongside the Goulburne River (a big river, at any rate). It rained about 20mm on the day and the trail was impossibly heavy/slow. It seemed to have a clay surface, which went very soft and sticky with rain. I was constantly expecting to bog and have to unclip and put my foot down, and was riding in my lowest gear (30 spd hybrid bike, 32mm cyclo-cross tyres). We were very happy to abandon it and return to the main road when the opportunity presented. We had 6 Melb Bicycle Touring Club (MBTC) riders, and did alright on 20km of gravel road SE of Tallarook earlier on. The rail trail's surface was not suitable for all weather riding. We did cross a tributary bridge of 30-40m length, which was beautifully constructed. I imagine gravel on the trail's surface might help, but clearly there's scope for surface development. The poor surface was a yellowy colour, so probably clay. It might be alright in dry weather, but stay clear if it's wet (at least until some gravel goes down) - referring to the Tallarook (new) end.

February 26, 2012 by spokes

Hello Davicat, If you open the trail description page on this site, scroll to the bottom and you will see a link to the official web site for this trail, it has a contact page as well as the latest news. Cheers, Spokes.

February 14, 2012 by JulianHiggs

Hi Davicat. We rode the Mansfield to Merton section last weekend (Feb 4/5). Mansfield to Bonnie Doon is fine and open. Bonnie Doon to Merton is not finished and not open but if you don't mind lifting bikes over a fence and negotiating a creek or two it can be ridden. The track is there but bridge works need finishing. But no way it will be officially open by early March. There is one major bridge required that has not even been started yet. By Easter it might be but I wouldn't bet on it.

February 10, 2012 by Davicat

Does anyone know definitively whether the parts scheduled to open early March will be opened by then? We're planning to ride this trail at Easter and need to know status of the trail before we leave. Does anyone have any suggestion of who to ask?

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News

News

Goulburn River Rail Trail Wins Major Award

(Posted: 09/03/13)

The efforts of the Mansfield Shire Council with the construction of this 134km rail trail in north east Victoria has won it a coveted award.

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Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail (VIC) Officially Opens

(Posted: 30/05/12)

The long awaited Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail was officially opened on 1st June 2012. More...

Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail (Vic) - Flood Damage

(Posted: 06/03/12)

The Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail has not come out of the recent
downpours unscathed... More...

Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail Management Plan Consultation Meetings (VIC)

(Posted: 16/08/11)

GRHCRT Management Plan Consultation Meetings will be held in major towns from Aug 22-25 (VIC)

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Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail - Part Opening (VIC)

(Posted: 22/02/11)

Maindample to Bonnie Doon section opening. More...

Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail Community Meetings (VIC)

(Posted: 18/11/10)

A series of Community Meets will be held over the next few weeks.

 

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First Stage of Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail (NE Victoria ) Opens

(Posted: 08/08/10)

Construction is now well under way with the 12km Mansfield to Maindample section opened.

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Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail to Help Revitalise Bushfire-Affected Communities

(Posted: 06/08/09)

Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure, Regional Development and Local Government, was in Tallarook to inspect plans for the $14.2 million Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail.

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$14 million Project Announced to Complete Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail (Vic)

(Posted: 29/04/09)

The federal government has announced $13m in funding to complete this 135km rail trail in North East Victoria.

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Goulburn River Rail Trail (NE Vic) Funding Announced

(Posted: 19/01/09)

State and local government funding has been announced to construct 12km of rail trail between Mansfield and Maindample.

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Goulburn River HC Rail Trail (Vic) given the go ahead by councils

(Posted: 01/07/06)

The Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield Councils have now adopted the Concept Design and Business Plan for the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail. More...

Goulburn River HC Rail Trail (Victoria) Draft Concept Design And Business Plan Released For Comment

(Posted: 28/02/06)

The councils of Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield are seeking public comment until the end of March 2006 More...