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Southern Flinders Rail Trail - Trail Description

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Trail

Southern Flinders Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Flinders Ranges, 207 km north of Adelaide, SA.
Start/end: Laura/Melrose to Stone Hut/Wilmington
Status: Partially open
Length open: 34.5km
Surface: Coarse gravel, Fine gravel
Terrain: Flat, undulating
Best seasons: All seasons
Public transport: Coach
Contact Region: South Australia
Terka, heading toward Mt Remarkable (2020)
Terka, heading toward Mt Remarkable (2020)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for horse riding
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Details

Features

  • Four sections are currently open, with options for return trips
  • Scenic rural views close to Mt Remarkable National Park
  • Gentle gradient suitable to all levels of fitness
  • Potential for a trail from Gladstone to Wilmington

Description

This trail is not fully developed, but the four sections open are:

Laura towards Gladstone (2.5km)

This section was built some time ago, and runs parallel to the Main North Rd.

  • It starts on the southern outskirts of Laura at the welcome to Laura sign and runs south for nearly 3km towards Gladstone.
  • This section is coarse gravel, and would only be suitable for walkers and mountain bikes.

Laura and Stone Hut (7km)

Completed in 2011, this section also runs along side the Main North Rd.

  • This is a high class rail trail with a good smooth hard packed gravel surface suitable for road bikes
  • it commences at the northern welcome to Laura sign
  • There are a couple of gates to negotiate adjacent to the Laura Golf Club
  • The trail finishes about 650m before Stone Hut.  Use the roadway to get to the bakery at Stone Hut.

Wirrabara toward Stone Hut (3km)

This short section of trail was completed in 2011, and is a fair quality gravel surface with a rough creek crossing so suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes.

  • Follows the rail alignment south from the silos in Wirrabara
  • The trail winds through scenic hilly country and shady pine trees

Melrose to Wilmington (22km)

This section was also completed in 2011.  This section is generally a good quality trail that follows the old railway alignment where possible. The trail surface is compacted fine gravel with some sections of course gravel and creek crossings. It features stunning views of Mt Remarkable to the west, and views of the Flinders Range to the East.

Please note that the trail is best travelled between Autumn and Spring as it can be very hot during Summer. Regardless of the time of year please take adequate water and food supplies and be aware that travel times can be slow due to creek crossings and wind conditions. Wilmington cannot be relied upon for food and water however toilets are available.

• Commence the trail from the corner of Joes Road and Horrocks Highway, opposite the ‘Over the Edge’ cycle hire shop and follow Horrocks Highway 700m north to Dorrington Road. The footpath can be used if the road is busy.
• At Dorrington Road the trail enters private property through a gate located on the corner. It is a privilege to use this private land so please leave as you found it. This section includes a ford across the Willochra Creek. The trail meanders through large eucalypts on its way to another gate which is the entrance to the Melrose Showgrounds.
• Follow the path around the Showground buildings and follow the old railway alignment through to the gate at the northern end of the showgrounds. The Showground is also a camping area so please respect the privacy of those within the grounds.
• The trail is now on the old rail alignment and continues on through open fields with Mount Remarkable behind you and the Southern Flinders Ranges to your left. In the distance to your right are the Flinders Ranges. The entrance to Willowie Forest Mountain Bike network can be found on the left.
• Along this section of the trail you will cross Goyder’s Line, a surveyed line that separates good cropping land from marginal cropping land (low rainfall). Don’t bother looking for the line as it can only be found on plans. George Goyder prepared the line in 1865 using his skill as a surveyor and by observing native plants while travelling 3200km on horseback across the state. It has stood the test of time and has proven to be quite accurate. As you ride north along the trail you will notice the vegetation change, particularly in open areas.
• Approximately 7km from the show grounds the trail crosses the Horrocks Highway and continues on through open country with sweeping views of the plains to the northeast.
• After crossing Spring Creek, you will see an old chimney on the right. The house has long since gone but the chimney is all that remains of the Township and railway siding knowns as Terka. The town was surveyed in 1924 however people showed no interest and the town failed to develop. The rail siding has also completely disappeared. This is a reminder of how difficult life in the Southern Flinders Ranges was in the early years of last century.
• A short distance from Wilmington is the last creek crossing. Stony Creek lives up to its name and it is suggested that cyclist dismount and walk across the stony creek bed. Its an enjoyable walk as it gives you time to take in the scenery.
• At the end of the trail turn left into Gogler Road which veers to the right after a short distance. Continue past the silos on your right until you come to a wide and substantial sealed road called Tuckwell Street. Proceed up the slight rise, past the Primary School on the left, until you reach the main road and you will see the Wilmington Hotel on the opposite side of the road. The hotel or shop/café may be open, if not, head down the street and on the corner of Dignan Street where there is a small shop front which has self-serve machines for snacks and drinks. On the opposite side of the road, next to the fire station, there are public toilets. Street signs are difficult to find so use key features such as the Silos, School, Hotel, Fire Station etc to guide you.
• Horse riding is prohibited.
• Mobile phone coverage is limited.
• The Mount Remarkable Council will commence construction of a 17km extension of the trail from Melrose to Booleroo Centre in 2020/2021. On completion of this section, 51km of the 88km Southern Flinders Rail Trail (Wilmington to Gladstone) will have been constructed. It features stunning views of Mt Remarkable to the west, and views of the Flinders Range to the East.

Background Information

A narrow gauge railway once joined Gladstone, Laura, Stone Hut, Wirrabara, Yandiah, Booleroo Centre, Perroomba, Melrose, Terka and Wilmington. It started in Gladstone in June 1884 to serve the rapidly developing wheat growing region and was full opened to Wilmington by 1915.

The last train left Wilmington's Wheat Silo on 28 July 1988.

Gladstone was once a very important and busy station, with a mixture of both narrow and broad gauge lines. The site of Gladstone had main lines from Adelaide, Peterborough, Port Pirie, and branch lines to Wilmington and a munitions depot. It had grain silos, sheep and cattle yards, goods sheds, loco sheds,a turntable, and a very impressive railway station. Little remains today.

Links

For further information on trail and current conditions see below.

Northern Areas Council, Jamestown Ph: 08 8664 1139 rebecca.jaisman@nacouncil.sa.gov.au

www.nacouncil.sa.gov.au

District Council of Mt Remarkable, Melrose Ph: 08 8666 2014 cedo@mtr.sa.gov.au

Laura to Stone Hut Brochure (1.4MB)

February 2021

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Contact Us About This Trail

Email or click here: sa@railtrails.org.au.

Photos

Comments

Comments

2 comments

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15 December , 2020 by wow01

I rode from Melrose on 3 Dec 2020, hiring a bike from the local Melrose shop. Great trail, definitely recommended but take plenty of water in warm weather. Saw kangaroos. At Wilmington, the trail ends at Peppermint Box Road. There is no rail trail connection to the wheat silos at the old railway station (now long gone). So another 1-2km to town from there. Also there was not much open in Wilmington; check Rusti Kates cafe for opening times. Still a great ride, just go prepared.

07 October , 2012 by Dezina

Just rode Melrose to Wilmington track and found it to be not too bad. Local bike shop owner advised it was pretty rough and it was, with rocks all along the graded track. MTB's for sure. Great fun though and made a nice change from the single track action around Mt Remarkable, with great views of the mountain. It's great to see the rail corridor getting used, especially for biking!

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News

News

Grant funding for Southern Flinders Ranges Rail Trail (SA)

(Posted: 18/05/20)

The District Council of Mount Remarkable will match the South Australian Governments Opens Space and Places for People Grant of $100,000 toward the expansion of the Southern Flinders Ranges Rail Trail from Melrose to Booleroo Centre.

More...