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Bellarine Rail Trail - Trail Description



Bellarine Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Bellarine Peninsula, 75km from Melbourne
Start/end: South Geelong to Queenscliff
Status: Open
Length open: 32.5km
Surface: Fine gravel, Sealed
Terrain: Hilly
Public transport: Train, Coach, Bus
Contact Region: Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Geelong, Bellarine & Mornington Peninsulas
Looking over Swan Bay at Queenscliff, with the railway just below (2009)
Looking over Swan Bay at Queenscliff, with the railway just below (2009)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for wheelchairs Suitable for prams



  • A great day or weekend destination close to Melbourne and Geelong with scenery ranging from suburban to rolling farmland to the picturesque Swan Bay.
  • The Bellarine Peninsula has fine wineries, beaches and landscapes, and a wealth of other recreation opportunities.
  • From Drysdale to Queenscliff the trail is beside the Bellarine Peninsula Tourist Railway. The tourist railway is happy to take bicycles on their trains if you don't want to ride in one (or both!) directions of this section.

Support Services

Bella E Bike Hire contacts V3 logo webBella E-Bike Hire

Hire an electric bike from Bella and experience the thrill of riding with the power to tackle headwinds and fear no hills - we bring the bikes to you. We also provide transport services for cyclists and walkers on the beautiful Bellarine - ride the rail trail without a car shuttle



Access Points

  • Strong Street at Swanston Street near South Geelong railway station
  • South Geelong - Breakwater Rd opposite the Geelong showgrounds, 1km from the railway station along Carr St
  • Drysdale - At the railway station, which is the half way point where the tourist railway terminates.
  • Queenscliff - opposite the station towards the carriage sidings

South Geelong to Leopold (8km) 

From South Geelong the trail climbs gently to Leopold

  • The trail surface is sealed From South Geelong to the Bellarine Highway crossing (where there are lights) and Melaluka Rd Leopold to the Portarlington Rd crossing.
  • Take in the sweeping views back to Geelong

Leopold to Drysdale (8km)

  • This section is fully sealed.
  • There is a bit of a gentle climb from Leopold to Curlewis
  • At Curlewis the trail goes through farmland and the view is of Corio Bay and the You Yangs
  • This section is built beside the original formation and the old track is still visible in places
  • Drysdale station has a museum that is open when the train to Queenscliff is running

  • A coffee van operates in the park when the station is open, from 6am to 12pm.

Drysdale to Queenscliff (16.5km) 

From Drysdale to Queenscliff the trail runs next to the tourist railway and uses some local streets at the Queenscliff end

  • The trail reaches the highest point on the line just past Drysdale, and it is downhill all the way to Queenscliff
  • You have to depart the rail reserve briefly at Lakers Siding (follow the markers)
  • From Fellows Rd the trail is on-road (Murray Rd) for 1km before joining the path beside the Bellarine Highway
  • At King St the trail returns to the railway reserve to Queenscliff.
  • You will cross the railway line about 600m from Queenscliff Station to run beside Swan Bay.

For more information on this trail see the book Rail Trails of Victoria and South Australia.

Background Information

The line was opened from Geelong to Queenscliff in 1879 to carry soldiers and materials to assist in the defence of Port Phillip Bay from possible attack by the Russians.  It also carried holiday makers to the popular seaside resort of Queenscliff.  The line was closed in 1976, but the section from Drysdale to Queenscliff was reopened as a tourist railway in 1981.  It officially became a rail trail in 2000.


The rail trail is managed by the City of Greater Geelong, 03 5272 5272. Please report any issues with the rail trail to the council.  The Drysdale to Queenscliff section is mostly on the the corridor of the Bellarine Railway

The Friends of the Bellarine Peninsula Rail Trail do a great job of improving the amenity of the entire rail trail

Support Services and Attractions

The Bellarine Railway is happy to take bicycles on their trains free of charge if you don't want to ride in one (or both!) directions of this section. Groups of 6+ are welcome to call 5258 2069 and pre-book to ensure enough space can be provided. On train running days the Queenscliff and Drysdale stations have a kiosk, gift shop and local tourist information.  Drysdale also has a museum.

Geelong Adventure Specialists - Specialize in high quality private adventures and tours and will cater for anyone or any group.

June 2016

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Contact Us About This Trail

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10 May , 2018 by CycleAustralia2014

Midweek meander: Cycling the Bellarine Rail Trail The weather forecast said our unseasonal run of warm dry weather is about to come to a chilling end, time for one last rail trail before winter sets in. We were are greeted by a crisp clear early morning as I cycle off the few kilometres to the aptly named Sunshine railway station.Traveling against the flow of commuter traffic its easy to find a cosy space on the 7.22 am limited express to Geelong where I will begin my ride. Rattling quickly through nursery suburbs out across those seemingly flat basalt plains, a rising sun throws down a brilliant incandescent light across an undulating landscape, penetrating carriages then illuminating in gold relief the tired faces of passengers. By 8.30 am I’m cycling through Geelong City down to Eastern Beach following a route to South Geelong where a big green signposted arrow points to the Bellarine Rail Trail. Rolling along on a good surface of crushed rock it’s easy riding with only a few minor local road crossings. There has been significant planting of native vegetation either side of the trail which makes an ideal environment for native bird life, a bonus for those of us that enjoy a little twitching with their cycling, falcons, kites, parrots, wrens, butcher birds and herons accompany me most of the way. About 10 kilometres in, at Leopold the pathed surface rises slightly, so I can peer into people’s backyards. I could be atop a dyke in Holland! Most of the trail passes beside open farmland, alongside new housing developments and a golf course. In Drysdale where the trail meets the highway I’m greeted with a delicious unexpected surprise cake and coffee delivered from a mobile man with a van. A weekend tourist railway still operates between Drysdale and Queenscliff so the track is well maintained with covered shelters, toilets and rest stops. Queenscliff is an historical fishing town that offers many options for the inquisitive traveler. Various accommodation types, fishing, a ferry service, museums, cafes, bookshops but no bicycle shop, so make sure your bicycle is well maintained, carry a pump, spare tube, some basic tools and know how to use them. After chatting with some sheepish local fishermen on the Queenscliff Pier, we cycled back to South Geelong in overcast conditions into a building headwind just in time to make the 3pm train from South Geelong to Melbourne All up 75 kilometres of easy cycling out and back on a comfortable well used trail that’s suitable for almost everybody.

11 March , 2017 by Dookie

Just spent two days on this RT. Day 1: Queenscliff to Drysdale/return. Day 2 Geelong to Drysdale/return. Perfect warm sunshine and zero wind meant we had everything in our favour and we were not disappointed. As bird lovers, we found day 1 to be very rewarding. Blue Wrens were there in big numbers and we were rewarded with a siting of a large flock of Red-browed Firetails too. Many Magpies have made this section their home and their Autumnal chorraling was very sweet. A lot of work has been done on the Queenscliff-Drysdale section and despite the sign telling us of "erosion following heavy rains", we didn't find it too bad at all. The 'big dip' outside Drysdale has been hot-mixed and is a pleasure to ride in both directions. At about the halfway mark a drinking fountain has been installed..a very nice gesture. Lots of seating for those requiring a rest or relax. Day 2: We started at the Geelong Showgrounds and loved the sealed surface from there. Disappointing lot of spray-paint-vandalism for the first few kms in East Geelong. High praise for all the revegetation work that has been done all the way to Drysdale. A lot of hard work to make the RT that much more enjoyable. Major road works happening at the Drysdale Station crossing. Hopefully traffic lights will be installed at what is a very dangerous road to cross. All the other crossings on major roads out of Geelong are traffic light controlled and work well. Great coffee van at the Drysdale Station, but be warned it closes right on 12 midday. Thoroughly enjoyed this RT, hence 5 stars from us. Congrats to all the 'Friends' group for all the great work they have done.

10 November , 2014 by cascho

Did the Bellarine Trail on November 2nd 2014 - with a group of friends. Very enjoyable - good upgrade to the track for most of the way between Geelong and Drysdale. The Drysdale to Queenscliff path needs improving in places - especially the big dip outside of Drysdale. Always great views of Swan Bay.

27 January , 2014 by Dale Rogers

This was our first rail trail ride as we are new to this sport, we absolutely loved the ride fantastic tracks and great facilities along the way. Started at geelong rode to queenscliff and back, will be back and do this again and are already planning another rail trail ride.

10 January , 2014 by nicjones123456

Rode with a 2 seater croozer towing the kids. First 5km starting from Geelong South was terrible. Why do all these bike paths have to put in bollards/chicanes. Make it impossible to ride through them with a bike trailer. Rest of the ride was pretty good. One more tight rail crossing at the Queenscliff end as well.

06 August , 2012 by spokes

Shelton, The section between Geelong and Drysdale will be ok for a cargo bike, and if it has not been raining for a few days the section between Drysdale and Point Lonsdale will passable but in the section between Swan Bay road and Banks road you may have to walk it a bit through sections of soft gravel. Then from Point Lonsdale to Queenscliff is ok except turn left onto Queensclif-/Portarlington road for about 500m, there is a new verge to ride on, turn right into Yarram road( becomes the trail) because the short sectionof trail that joins Queenscliff-Portarlington to Yarram road is flooded. Hopes this helps. Spokes. P.S. saw a cargo bike on the trail on Sunday 5th August, maybe that was already you. If it was, windy ah.

26 July , 2012 by Shelton

Can anybody give me an update on the state of this railtrail. I'm really wanting to try a cargo-bike holiday with my two little people.... but cargo bike portage is not really a winning proposition.

08 July , 2012 by spokes

Well all the re-surfacing on the trail between Portarlington Rd and Drysdale has been undone by the rain, but mainly because no drainage! Improper contouring and grass verges higher than the track have allowed the water to flow straight down the track like a river. Have a video to prove. Needs a lot of work to get it back to a standard to make it user friendly. So give it a big miss if you are thinking of riding it. Between Curlewis and Geelong is still OK.

15 February , 2012 by spokes

Being a frequent user of this rail trail I am delighted that the track is getting some much needed attention. Plus I have to totally agree with dogbait ( been bitten by a dog or two have we) that a tunnel under Geelong Rd, Drysdale has to go into the urgent tray before someone gets hit and killed.

08 February , 2012 by dogbait

February 2012. After much complaint, the Council is now in the process of re-surfacing 11k's of the trail between Portarlington Rd and Drysdale. They are removing all the loose large bluestones and replacing it with a hard, packed base topped with fine bluestones. A great improvement! This, and the new shelter at Mannerim and the shelter and toilet at Suma Park along with the newly installed kilometre markers and the Bellarine Rail Trail is finally getting up to First Class standard. Now we just need to convince VicRoads of the urgency of a tunnel crossing at the horrendously dangerous and difficult crossing at Geelong Rd, Drysdale.

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Steam to the Bellarine Rail Trail

(Posted: 25/05/13)

A "Rail Trail Special" steam train is running from Melbourne to the Bellarine Rail Trail on Sunday 2nd June