Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The 55km trail can start at either Castlemaine or Maryborough and follow the now disused rail line, via the towns of Guildford, Newstead and Carisbrook.
  • From a tourism perspective a unique feature of this trail would be that a traveller could take a train from Melbourne and head either to Castlemaine or Maryborough, traverse the trail to the other end and take a train back to Melbourne.

Attractions

  • A stand-out destination is the impressive Maryborough Railway Station once described by Mark Twain, the famous American writer, as ‘a railway station with a town attached ’.

Trail Guide

The rail corridor passes through an ancient volcanic plain landscape, crosses the Cairn Curran Reservoir and Moolort Plains, a very different environment to the goldfields landscapes closer to Castlemaine. A feature of the Plains is its wetlands and swamps, a habitat for a variety of wetland flora and birdlife. Several towns along the route are located on the Loddon River, which flows from the Great Dividing Range in the south to the Murray River in the north.

Section Guides

Castlemaine – Guildford (11km): This section of the rail trail passed through Castlemaine and Campbells Creek before reaching a more rural environment with low hills following the edge of an ancient volcanic flow and crossing the Loddon River at Guildford.

Guildford – Newstead (12km): The route continues through farmland and forested historic goldfields. Newstead is a small town along the Loddon River.

Newstead – Carisbrook (25km): The rail trail continues past cropping and grazing land and crosses the Cairn Curran reservoir and wetlands. The Moolort Plain is a flat ancient volcanic landscape, with low hills on the approach to Carisbrook, a town on the Loddon River.

Carisbrook – Maryborough (7km): This part of the trail passes through dry Box ironbark forest which formed part of the 19th Century goldfields in Central Victoria.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway history

  • Castlemaine Station is on the Melbourne to Bendigo line and was established in 1862.
  • Maryborough Station is on the Melbourne to Mildura line and terminus for V/Line service from Ballarat. It opened in 1874 but the current station building was erected in 1890 with 25 rooms and a clock tower, of red brick with stucco trimming (excerpt from Wikipedia)
  • The Maryborough – Castlemaine passenger service was withdrawn in July 1977, being replaced with a bus service. From that time, the track was then used only for freight until 2004 when the line was closed

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
Why we want the Casterton to Branxholme Rail Trail The 54 km trail will pass through pleasant farmland and forests in far western Victoria. It will feature the Wannon River Bridge, the longest 19-century Victorian railways timber bridge still in existence

The trail will provide another reason for walkers and cyclists to visit the region, complementing the nearby Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail. initial construction is likely to focus on the 4 km Casterton to Sandford section and the 20 km Sandford to Merino section

 

Attractions

  • Casterton is the home of Australia’s famous kelpie sheepdog. Visit the Australian Kelpie Centre and enjoy the Kelpie Walking Trail

Trail Guide

The Casterton-Branxholme Rail Trail will link the townships and localities of Casterton, Sandford, Merino and Branxholme, and will connect the region’s unique landscape, cultural, natural and heritage features. Glenelg Shire Council endorsed a feasibility study in 2020 to build the trail.

Section Guides

Casterton to Sandford (4 km) 

Within Casterton the trail will link the Heritage Railway Station precinct with the Kelpie Centre and current and future Casterton trails. It will pass Casterton Saleyards, Racecourse and Victoria’s longest surviving timber railway bridge.

Sandford to Merino (20 km) 

A historic English oak tree in front of the town’s old hall will contribute to the trail landscape. The trail will pass through the historic buildings of the Henty area.

Merino to Branxholme (30 km)

Merino is an attractive country town; Branxholme has heritage rail features including a water tower and reservoir. The route will be mostly rural landscape and production forests.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Gunditjmara people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Development and future of the rail trail

In 2019 Glenelg Shire engaged a consulting firm to undertake a feasibility study for a rail trail from Casterton to Branxholme as part of its strategy to develop enjoyable, safe walking and cycling opportunities for the Shire.

Council approved the final version in June 2020.

Rail line history

  • The line opened from Branxholme to Casterton in 1884 after two years of construction and earthworks. The line closed in 1977
  • In February 1883 the line opened to Henty for goods traffic only. At this time, work was still being done to dig out the cutting south of Sandford
  • Wannon River bridge a few km east of Casterton. Built in 1884, it has withstood floods in 1893, 1906, 1946 and 2016. The 292 m bridge is the longest surviving example of a Victorian Railways 4.57 m timber-beam bridge still retaining its all-timber integrity. It also has unusual early structural features, particularly the very rare vertical-four-pile piers on the main river channel section. The bridge deck sweeps in a grand curve.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • Runs alongside the historic Goldfields railway track, along which restored steam trains run between Maldon and Castlemaine on Wednesdays and Sundays
  • Catch the train from Melbourne to Castlemaine, ride to Maldon for lunch, then return --- or take the steam train one way as a treat!

Attractions

  • The volunteer-run Victorian Goldfields Railway restored this railway track and the steam trains that run along it: these can be viewed at the Maldon Railway Station
  • The attractive towns at both ends have significant historical interest
  • Maldon is notable for its 19th century townscape

Trail Guide

The trail and rail line pass through box ironbark woodland and provide glimpses of grazing land. Muckleford station site has a picnic table and is a good place to stop and rest; there are toilets here but they are only open when tourist trains run – there are no other toilets or drinking water along the trail.

It is possible to ride in one direction, and take the train back to the start.  Bikes can be taken on the train.  It is mainly downhill from Maldon to Castlemaine.

Section Guides

Castlemaine to Muckleford Station (8 km)

  • Starting at Langslow St, the trail follows the railway line.
  • Passes through woodland and gently undulating open farmland

Muckleford Station to Maldon (9.7 km) 

  • This section has more forest than farmland. After Maldon Railway Station there is a short ride along the trail to the remains of the historic Beehive mine, with its intriguing brick chimney
  • Maldon has a number of good cafes and hotels

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Development and future of the rail trail 

The trail was built in 2016-17 and officially opened in March 2017.

Rail line history 

  • Castlemaine Station is on the Melbourne to Bendigo line and was established in 1862
  • A branch line to Maldon and on to Newbridge via Shelbourne began 1 km south of Castlemaine (from the Maryborough branch line) and was completed in 1884
  • Bushfires in 1969 destroyed rail infrastructure between Maldon and Shelbourne, and the line from Newbridge to Castlemaine closed soon afterward
  • The line between Maldon and Castlemaine was preserved, and reopened as the Goldfields Tourist railway in 2005

The Bike Vault – bike hire in Castlemaine

The Victorian Goldfields Railway runs heritage trains

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Construction to start on Castlemaine to Maldon Rail Side Trail

Posted: 28/05/16

The Mount Alexander Shire has announced that a tender for the construction of the 18km ...

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • Rewards walkers and cyclists with a sense of adventure
  • Two distinct landscapes: Hamilton to Wannon section runs through attractive red gum country, Wannon to Coleraine section passes rolling hills, wetlands and low native shrubs
  • Wannon and Nigretta Falls can be visited on a local road between the two sections

Attractions

  • Enjoy Hamilton’s botanic gardens, art gallery and Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum
  • Explore Wannon and Nigretta Falls
  • Visit Coleraine’s Classic Cars museum, Points Arboretum (the largest collection of eucalypts in the Southern Hemisphere), chocolate factory and restored railway station (now the Visitor Information Centre)

Trail Guide

  • Hamilton to Wannon is 11 km and meanders through red gum country and past operating farms
  • Wannon to Coleraine, also 11 km, provides open vistas through a linear nature reserve with wetlands

The major town of Hamilton has a wide range of facilities while Coleraine provides basic food and accommodation.

Section Guides

  • The two sections of trail are separated by around 5 km. Use the Wannon-Nigretta Falls road and Glenelg Hwy between the sections – take  care riding on the busy highway
  • The trail best suits mountain bikes, but can accommodate hybrid bikes if there hasn’t been heavy rain
  • The trail is served by a V-Line coach that stops at Hamilton and Coleraine

Hamilton to Wannon (11 km)

  • The trail begins about 2 km northwest of Hamilton on Balkins Rd
  • This section finishes at the Wannon-Nigretta Falls road. The Wannon Falls railway bridge is visible from the road, but cannot be crossed
  • To rejoin the trail, follow the road about 2 km south to Wannon Falls and ride along Glenelg Hwy about 3 km west toward Coleraine; the trail is on the right at a gate marked Grasslands Trail
  • Free camping available at Wannon Falls

Wannon to Coleraine (11 km)

  • The trail from Wannon to Coleraine begins about 3 km west of Wannon, and  finishes on the eastern outskirts of the township of Coleraine

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Gunditjmara people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Development and future of the rail trail

The rail trail will be around 34 km long when it is finished. Stage One, from Balkins Rd on the outskirts of Hamilton to Bochara Railway Station was developed in 2013 following a grant from the Southern Grampians Shire and the Wannon Conservation Society. There are currently a number of gates to close along the way, but the Committee of Management is working on a project to reconfigure problem crossings.

Stage Two from Wannon to Coleraine opened in September 2021.

The missing link in the trail features the Wannon River railway bridge, which will require further investment to bring up to a standard for safe carrying riders and pedestrians.

The Committee of Management regularly slashes the trail to keep weeds under control and with the help of locals and organisations has planted many trees over the past 20 years.

Rail Trails Australia has written to Southern Grampians Shire asking it support the trail by improvements such as signs on main roads, carparks at trailheads and a maintenance budget to support the Committee of Management.

Railway history

The line opened in 1888, initially with two trains a day carrying wool, skins, butter and passengers. Stations were at Bochara, Wannon, Hilgay (later Parkwood) and Coleraine.

The main reason for its construction was to bring more railway traffic to Hamilton, where it deviated off the main line. It has been said Hamiltonians were bitter about the Casterton line and that its junction faced south toward Portland so that a southbound train to Casterton would have to turn at Branxholme. This junction began as a simple one with one line branching off, but later grew with the opening of the Warrnambool line in 1890 and then the Locomotive Depot in 1929. In 1961 Hamilton Saleyards also received a siding.

In 1893 all the stations on the line excluding Coleraine became whistle stops.

Mixed passenger-goods trains to Coleraine ceased in 1952 and the line closed in 1977.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Celebrating the improvements to the Hamilton-Coleraine Rail Reserve in Western Victoria

Posted: 18/10/19

Improvements to the Rail Reserve leading down the hill to Coleraine will be celebrated via ...

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A Day on the Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail (VIC)

Posted: 04/02/13

A DAY ON THE RAIL RESERVE EVENT: cycling and walking between Hamilton & Wannon on ...

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The Domino trail is part of the original railway from Daylesford to Carlsruhe. Starting from the picturesque country town of Trentham, it passes through bushland that is home to the endangered powerful owl
  • Signboards along the trail explain the history of the area
A June 2021 storm brought down many trees across the rail trail which have still not been cleared.

Attractions

  • Trentham is a small town on the edge of Wombat State Forest. There are many cafes and accommodation options.

Trail Guide

  • At Trentham, the trail starts at the Tourist Information Centre in the old Trentham railway station, Victoria St
  • At Lyonville, the trail starts at the southern end of Main St south of the Radio Springs Hotel. It is signposted and accessible at the bottom of an embankment.

A June 2021 storm brought down many trees across the rail trail which have still not been cleared.

 

Section Guides

  • For the first 500 m the rails are still in place and the grass-covered trail runs between them. On the left the old Sunnyside foundry is visible
  • After Falls Rd the trail enters bushland of manna gum, peppermint and mountain gum. Watch for swamp wallabies, grey kangaroos and
  • There is a short detour around the Coliban River, where a purpose-built bridge will replace the trestle bridge in the near future
  • A sign about 4 km from Trentham indicates a short loop trail to take you down to the Domino Creek to see a brick-lined tunnel that carries the creek beneath the line. The loop continues along an old logging trail before returning to the trail
  • The trail ends near Main St, Lyonville south of the Radio Springs Hotel and north of Railway Ave.
  • There are plans to extend the trail to Bullarto in coming years

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Development and future of the rail trail 

There is interest in extending the trail in both directions, possibly from Daylesford to Woodend (44 km). The Trentham to Lyonville section of the proposed Daylesford-Macedon Ranges Rail Trail has now been developed, and a feasibility study is being conducted with a view to developing more of the trail.

The Daylesford Spa Country Railway runs tourist trains from Daylesford to Bullarto. These trains carry bikes.

Daylesford had the distinction of being served by two railways, one from Woodend and one from Creswick.

The railway from Carlsruhe to Daylesford via Trentham was opened in 1880.

By the 1970s, traffic on the line had reduced considerably, and despite local lobbying, it was closed in 1978.

The Crossing Borders Tracks and Trails Feasibility Report for the proposed Daylesford Rail Trail can be viewed here.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Daylesford to Hanging Rock Rail Trail Revived

Posted: 06/11/18

Bicycle Network reports that the Hepburn and Daylesford Shire Councils are again pushing for completion ...

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Opening of Domino Rail Trail

Posted: 23/04/13

Trentham is holding the annual Spudfest on Saturday May 18th and the rail trail committee ...

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Daylesford-Woodend Rail Trail (Vic) one step closer

Posted: 04/04/12

The Daylesford-Woodend Rail Trail, in the central highlands north of Melbourne, is today one step ...

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
This trail follows a short section of the former East Ballarat - Buninyong railway (Bunny). Five hundred metres east of the old Ballarat East station site (the platform is still there), there is evidence of the line diverging from the main line to head south towards Buninyong. A gravel path wends its way from the station site to the start of the trail. The trail passes under Victoria St, and there is an historic sign board at street level on the south side of the main street. The trail continues through a cutting, across a road (with rails still in the road), alongside a caravan park to the trail end. Here there is another historic sign board at  the north edge of the  Eureka Centre car park.

Attractions

  • This very short trail is suitable for a stroll, with  the Eureka Centre as the destination.

Background Information

This trail was a branch line from East Ballarat to Buninyong and ran for 11km. It opened in 1889 and closed in 1986.

The section from Eureka to Buninyong closed much earlier on 2 February 1947. ]The line had previously closed to passenger services in 1930. In addition to passenger traffic, the “Bunny” also brought the goods trucks to the many local Buninyong industries of that time. The main ones were the butter factory, tannery, brewery, box factory and market gardens.

At the Buninyong end the platform can still be seen in Forest Rd, where there is a board commemorating the history of the railway line.

There are no plans to extend this trail to Buninyong at this time.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
To reach the start of the trail, follow the Calder Highway to Gisborne, turn east on Bacchus Marsh Road and follow this for approximatly 10km to Carroll Road. Turn right; after 2km diverge left onto Firth Road, which leads to Firth Park after approximalty 9km

Attractions

This is one of a number of timber tramway trails in the Wombat State Forest that date from 1866 to the 1920s. The tramway was laid with wooden rails.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • For those staying at Halls Gap or Stawell, a lovely way to experience the local terrain along an easy, flat trail
  • Links with quiet country roads provide a route around Lake Lonsdale, a popular tourist destination near Halls Gap, avoiding the busy Grampians road
  • Part of a mainly off-road route between Halls Gap and Stawell

Attractions

  • Most of the trail is through beautiful bushland, with abundant wildflowers in Spring
  • At Heatherlie quarry, accessible from the Mt Zero road, a short section of trail is walkable. Several quarry buildings are still standing and there is plenty of interesting mining equipment to explore
  • Lake Lonsdale to the north is a  popular tourist destination

Trail Guide

At Stawell West, the trail starts at a small carpark on the Grampians road 700 m south of Western Hwy.

The trail heads west toward the Grampians with the first 2.5 km on a path south of the original easement. The rest of the trail (about 9 km) travels along the old rail alignment parallel to the Grampians road, then Mt Dryden Rd and close to Lake Lonsdale.  Bridges have been built by students at Stawell Secondary School and an 800 m boardwalk has been installed.  The trail continues on to a carpark at Mt Dryden Rd.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built. Grampians National Park is known as Gariwerd, and is a very spiritual place for these people.

Development and future of the rail trail 

Parks Victoria has indicated an interest in continuing the trail to Halls Gap and possibly Heatherlie Quarry.

Rail line history 

The rail line ran from Stawell to a stone quarry at Heatherlie at the base of the Grampians from 1882 to 1949.

The quarry supplied stone for many of Melbourne’s public buildings, including Parliament House and the State Library.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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