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Red Hill Rail Trail - Trail Description



Red Hill Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Mornington Peninsula, 90km from Melbourne
Start/end: Merricks to Red Hill
Status: Open
Length open: 6.5km
Surface: Compacted earth, Coarse gravel
Terrain: Hilly
Best seasons: Dry
Contact Region: Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Geelong, Bellarine & Mornington Peninsulas
Riding between Merricks and Red Hill (2011)
Riding between Merricks and Red Hill (2011)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for horse riding



Wineries, galleries, peaceful rural and sea views and fine beaches combine to make this a great trail for a day trip or weekend visit. The bottom section from Merricks is popular with horse riders and partly does not follow the original alignment  - so it's steeper than a typical rail trail. The trail is managed by the Mornington Peninsula shire.


  • Cycle or walk up the trail from Merricks and return on-road visiting wineries, galleries or beaches on the way back.
  • Continue towards Arthurs Seat, following more off-road bike path.

Support Services


vinetours tours.logo webCycling VineTours

Leisurely cycle tours on the Mornington Peninsula. Explore Red Hill, an amazing food and wine region. Guided and Self-Guided Tours.



  • The start of the trail at Merricks is to the north side of the Station Ground Recreation Reserve outside the parking area which is 230m along Merricks Rd.  Follow the cyclone fenced pathway / narrow track in the roadside reserve to the start of the trail proper. Beware of mud in winter.
  • The trail climbs steadily for 2km providing good views over Western Port to Philip Island the Nobbies.
  • After a sharp right turn, the trail continues down the steep hill and through a horse jump to the end of Tonkins Rd. The trail continues to the left.
  • The trail is now on the original railways easement and ascends more gently to Red Hill, first through pine trees (look for colourful fungi in autumn), then two small cuttings.
  • At Red Hill look for the plaque at the former station site just before the first shop. This commemorates the 75th anniversary of the railway opening. The trail continues to Point Leo Rd behind the shops. Explore the shops (including a bakery) then return via the trail or other local roads. Frankston-Flinders Rd carries a lot of very fast traffic, so take care.
  • For more information on this trail see the book Rail Trails of Victoria and South Australia.

Background Information

Like so many other Victorian railways, the line to Red Hill was built after a long campaign by local people, beginning in the 1880s. Opened in 1912 as a branch from Bittern on the Stony Point line, it mainly carried fruit such as apples, pears and strawberries to market in Melbourne. Six hundred people gathered to greet the first steam train climbing the steep 1 in 30 gradient to Red Hill.

However, as roads were improved, the train timetable was soon reduced to one train a week. The line was closed in 1953 after only 32 years of operation. The rest of the former railway land between Bittern and Merricks is now in private ownership but may perhaps be restored to public access one day.


Please report any issues regarding the Red Hill Rail Trail to the Infrastructure Customer Support at Mornington Shire Council at or call 1300 850 600.

January 2013

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25 February , 2019 by

8/27 Next Railtrail on my journey to ride every trail in Victoria in my 60th year to promote organ donation. Red Hill Railtrail is on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. I started at Red Hill to take advantage of the downhill run. Lovely sunny conditions but a rough surface with tree roots and rocks mean it's not a great cycling track. At the point the track leaves the railway verge there is a gate that is too narrow to ride through before a very steep (but short) climb. Signage is pretty poor once you leave Red Hill, and I had to consult Google Maps once near the end when there seemed 2 options to go on. To get to the rather non-descript end you need to ride around the equestrian centre, which was pretty busy on the day I was there. But it is an interesting ride with beautiful views, and probably better tackled on foot. 6.5km. You can follow all my railtrail rides on FB Warwick Duncan - The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides

05 January , 2017 by Trevor H

With 2 friends I cycled this trail on Tuesday 3rd January 2017, but we soon became concerned that it was not very suitable for riding on a hybrid bike. We started at the Merricks end and were immediately confronted by bumpy impressions left in the ground from horses hoofs, which would have been made when the trail was wet. Further on there were many sections with exposed tree roots which made for a rough ride. Then near a vineyard there was a big hill and very loose gravel, so we played safe and walked our bikes on the grass beside the trail. The trail became a bit flatter and better at the Red Hill South end, and after a coffee, it was mostly downhill riding back to Merricks. Even though some people regard it as a rail trail, we saw very little evidence of station buildings or signs, cuttings, track or sleepers. Officially the 5km trail is known as the Peninsula Equestrian Trail. I would recommend you leave it to walkers and horses, and for safety sake ride on the very pleasant Warringine Park Coastal Wetlands Boardwalk at Hastings, which we did on Wednesday 4th January. The only good long cycle/walking path on the southern Mornington Peninsula is the one from Safety Beach to Sorrento. But being summer and school holiday, we decided to postpone this ride to a quieter time. I would like to see Mornington Peninsula Shire create some other long off road shared paths for walkers and cyclists. This would attract more tourists to the area and provide a healthy activity for them.

10 November , 2014 by cascho

Rode the Red Hill trail on November 9th 2014. A good short trail with a great down hill ride from Red Hill - the gradient is deceptive and you pick up speed very easily. The short rise along the vineyard is in poor quality and bikes are liable to slip when climbing. Agree about the dog owners being everywhere - but had no problems with any dogs.

10 March , 2014 by trail rider

A small pleasant trail that runs uphill from Merricks to Red Hill, on a dirt/pebble/tree root covered trail, used by horse riders and dog walkers. You need to be careful coming back down the hill from Red Hill as you pick up speed and there are a few corners that present trouble if people are coming the other way. It is difficult to find, with little to no signage marking the trail start and end. If you park at the winery and head towards station ground reserve the trail begins on your left before the reserve entrance. Enjoy!

25 March , 2013 by horseyvon

Although this is a great trail, I have found lately that there are alot of dog owners who are using this rail trail as a leash free run. I had a dog have a go at my horse, the dog came off alot worse than the horse. I asked the owners "what if a child was riding a bike past and the dog got nasty" they stated that I should get lost and mind my own business.

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Red Hill Rail Trail (VIC) Seeking Feedback on Station Reserves

(Posted: 25/05/14)

The Mornington Peninsula Shire is seeking feedback on the station reserves at Merricks and Red Hill, closing 31 May.