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High Country Rail Trail - Trail Description

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Trail

High Country Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: North east Victoria, 300km from Melbourne
Start/end: Wodonga to Old Tallangatta
Status: Open
Length open: 59km
Surface: Fine gravel
Terrain: Undulating
Public transport: Train, Coach
Features: tourist
Contact Region: Northern Victoria
The 600m Sandy Creek bridge (2012)
The 600m Sandy Creek bridge (2012)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for wheelchairs Suitable for horse riding
legend

Details

Features

  • The High Country Rail Trail traverses farmland near the shores of Lake Hume and forest further up at Shelley.
  • The trail is undulating to Tallangatta with some moderate gradients. The Derbyshire to Shelley section is all uphill at the steepest gradient trains could manage.
  • Trail surface is of varying quality.
  • The 600m Sandy Creek bridge was opened in October 2012
  • The trail will eventually be 112km in length.

Options

The area has many National and State Parks to explore. There are good views from lookouts and mountaintops (including the Main Range of the Kosciuszko National Park) and plenty of picnic areas and camping opportunities.

Support Services

Redgum logo web

 

 

Red Gum Bed and Breakfast

Relax overlooking Lake Hume/Mitta Valley in spacious private B and B. Bike transfers available to Shelley.

 

 

Description

Access Points

  • Bandiana South: recreation area near the Military Museum.
  • Ebden, Ludlows Reserve and Huon: park at the recreation reserves signposted on the Murray Valley Hwy.
  • Tallangatta: park at old station site.
  • Old Tallangatta: no parking at trail head itself. Park either at Mitta bridge rest areas or in Old Tallangatta across causeway.
  • Derbyshire: Sign on the road.  Limited parking on side of busy 100kmh highway. Take Care.
  • Koetong - Boggy Creek bridge and old station site where the trail crosses the Murray Valley Hwy.
  • Shelley - Take Avondale Rd off the Murray Valley Hwy at Shelley, past the Shelley accomodation camp.

Albury/Wodonga to Bandiana

  •  From Albury station follow the old Hume Hwy 5km towards Wodonga across the Murray River flood plain to High St and the former Wodonga railway station.
  •  Continue south along High St to the large water tower roundabout then head east along the service road of Thomas Mitchell Drive. 2km further on, at the roundabout with the Murray Valley Hwy, cross to the south side where the City of Wodonga has constructed a roadside path to the trail complete with rail trail signage.
  • After passing the Bandiana Military Museum entrance, the path moves a little away from the highway.

Bandiana to Huon (17km)

  • This section has a wids smooth gravel surface.
  • Turn off the highway at Whytes Rd (at the saleyards). The rail trail proper begins a few hundred metres on.
  • Because the army has taken over some of the former line here and the very long trestle bridges across the Kiewa river flats were demolished, a diversion with boardwalk and low level bridges has been constructed across the river flats.
  • After crossing the Kiewa River the trail joins the original rail alignment. Leaving the river red gum forest the trail rises slowly to Mahers Rd with the first views of Lake Hume.
  • From Mahers Rd the trail passes under the Murray Valley Hwy then heads south with the Mitta Arm of Lake Hume to one side, hills on the other and mountains in the distance. There are plenty of locations to have a refreshing dip on a hot day, particularly when the water level is high.
  • The trail descends to Huon where the platform, goods shed, weighbridge and some rolling stock remain. If water levels are very low the remains of the original station site are recognisable further down the hill.

This trail features sites rich in cultural history such as the Bonegilla station site.

At Bonegilla, a diversion to the large dam wall is worthwhile.  Follow Bonegilla Rd north as shown on the map. Along the way visit Block 19, the Bonegilla Migrant Experience Heritage Park.

Huon to Old Tallangatta (21km)

  • From Huon to the 600m Sandy Creek birdge with its distinctive "red sticks" is a wide smooth gravel surface.
  • From Sandy Creek to Tallangatta the surface is a little unusual, one side being sealed and the other side smooth gravel.

  • From Tallangatta the trail is sealed all the way to the Mitta bridge, which is also quite an impressive structure, as it wanders up the valley to Old Tallangatta.

At the end of the trail, turn left and follow the road for 1km to see the few remaining buildings of Old Tallangatta. If the weir level is low take a stroll around the building foundations of Old Tallangatta. An interpretive sign is located at a viewing point up on the highway.

Tallangatta is a small regional town with some food and accomodation.

Derbyshire to Shelley (21km)

  • This section is only suitable for walking and mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes if dry. It is for the more adventurous.
  • There is a 1.5km section on the side of a 100kmh highway.
  • This section begins at Derbyshire with a small sign beside the highway, where the trail climgs steadily up towards Koetong.
     Refer to the map for details.
  • After the highway diversion the original alignment is rejoined at the 76m long Boggy Creek bridge near Koetong.
  • From Koetong, after a short decent to Koetong Creek, it is a steady but picturesque climb up to Shelley.

There are numerous large timber bridges in this section, some of which have been restored by a huge amount of community participation, and some which have a diversion around them.  The 76m long Boggy Creek bridge is the most impressive and can be accessed by car; from Wodonga, turn left off the Murray Valley Hwy before Koetong on the Mt Lawson Rd that leads to the Mt Lawson State Park.

Enjoy a picnic or a break in the forest at Shelley station, which was Victoria’s highest station site at 781m. Interpretive signage has been provided on the platform. The location is shown on the map.

The only facilities here are the Koetong Pub and the Shelley Forest Camp (booking required).
Other places to visit are the summit of Mt Lawson and its loop nature trail, the Conic Range Walking Track which is a 1.5km walk off Firebrace Rd with great views of the Koetong Creek Valley and the Avondale Gardens Reserve. Follow the signs from Shelley, off Avondale Rd.

Background Information

Future Developments

There are numerous developments, underway and planned, to further improve this  trail.

The trail is managed by Parklands Albury/Wodonga in conjunction with three local voluntary advisory groups. Parklands and the advisory groups are currently working on the Old Tallangatta to Koetong section.  This is planned to open in 2017.

With the rail bypass of Wodonga now complete, Rail Trails Australia is supporting local organisations to have the rail trail extended from Bandiana all the way into Wodonga and across the Murray River flood plains towards Albury. This wil provide an important backbone for the off-road path system and preserve an important piece of Australia's history.

History

Construction of the branch line began in 1887 and reached Tallangatta (now Old Tallangatta) in 1891. Due to the difficult terrain and labour shortages, Cudgewa was not reached until 1921. Apparently Corryong and Tintaldra were arguing over who should get the railway and before the argument could be settled the era of the motor car arrived, leaving the small township of Cudgewa as the terminus.

Construction of the Hume Dam required the line between Ludlows and the present Tallangatta to be shifted up the hill in the early 1930s. In the 1950s the level of the dam was raised requiring some further track deviations, lifting of the Sandy Creek bridge and the shifting of the whole town of Tallangatta! During the 1960s the railway carried construction materials for the Snowy Mountains hydro electric scheme as well as regular cattle and general goods trains. This construction also sped up the road improvements in the area and thus competition for the railway. The last regular goods train ran in 1978 and the line was officially closed in 1981.

Observing the remains of the Bonegilla station platform, with only a few farm houses in sight, it is hard to believe the part this area played in the lives of so many Australians. During the Second World War a major military training camp was established at Bonegilla. Following the war until 1971 Bonegilla was a reception centre for over 320,000 migrants. Listen to some of their stories in the excellent visitor centre at Block 19 (off Bonegilla Rd on the way to the dam wall). Remarkably, despite this number of people arriving in Bonegilla a station building was never built, let alone a siding common to even the tiniest station. Now the former station’s small claim to fame is its native grassland reserve.

Also at Bandiana South is the large military museum, which provides a vivid reminder of what was a very large military presence in the area until recent times.

Gradient Profile

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Links

Committee of Management

Parklands Albury/Wodonga,

PO Box 1040, Wodonga 3689

High Country Rail Trail Official Site www.highcountryrailtrail.org.au

High Country Rail Trail Brochure and map

Other Information

Wodonga Visitor Information Centre
69-73 Hovell Street
Wodonga VIC 3690
Phone: 1300 796 222
email: tourism@wodonga.vic.gov.au
website: www.alburywodongaaustralia.com.au

Support Services and Attractions

Cycle Magic Trek - We operate small group as well as exclusive adventures that are led by experienced cycling leaders and are usually accompanied by a support vehicle.

Wodonga Visitor Information Centre - Bike hire is available from the Wodonga Visitor Information Centre in Hovell St, Wodonga

March 2016

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

16 comments

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30 December , 2015 by jeff Rigby

In November 2015 I rode from Wadonga to Old Tallangatta, camping at Tallangatta Caravan park which is extremely pleasant. The Bakery is excellent! I stayed there 2 nights and on the second day I rode to Old Tallangatta and then for about 10 kms on the road around the other side of the lake and back, which was about the high point of the trip, lovely road, magnificent scenery, very few cars and just the odd steep hill. I then rode to Yackandanah with view to connecting with the Beechworth - Wangaratta Trail which I had done some years ago but for various reasons had to pull out at Yack. Another time perhaps. Hopefully the Beechworth to Yackandandah section of the trail will get up one day. I found the Wadonga - Old Tallangatta Trail excellent and it will be even better when the low bridges at the start of the trail and towards Bonegillla are completed which will cure the problems of wet weather mentioned by some riders. The section after Huon was being upgraded and that will be a further improvement. What can I say about the Sandy Creek bridge.. extraordinary and saves 6kms of road riding! I think Tallangatta would be a good base for side trips to Mitta Mitta and also perhaps a circumnavigation of the lake, which I intend to look into. I too look forward to seeing the trail extended to Coryong, what a great addition that would be. I saw no snakes but I'm sure they were there somewhere....... As I have previously commented regarding other Vic Trails, as a NSW rider I am so impressed by the Victorian attitude, light years in advance of NSW where bike riders are regarded as dangerous greenie terrorists who should be driving large 4x4s. Congratulations Victoria!!

21 June , 2015 by kenparrington

Just rode the Huon to Old Tallangatta section in both directions yesterday - 20 June 2015. All I can say is simply stunning. It was a beautiful crisp winter day, the hills were green and the sunlight soft. The trail surface along this section is fantastic and the Sandy Creek bridge is quite a sight stretching across the inlet. Stopped for lunch in Tallangatta on the return and had a pie at MJ's Bakery - The food was great.

15 March , 2015 by wow01

Rode from Shelley to Koetong on 13 March 2015. The trail was in good condition, and the Shelley station site is well-maintained and an ideal spot for a pre-ride picnic - just follow Avondale Road up the hill. Only encountered one locked gate on the trail. No snakes but did see a few wallabies. There are 3 good trestle bridges on this section. Also rode on the main trail from Old Tallangatta to Bandiana the same day. It is definitely a bit rough around Huon but really no problem for hybrid or trail bikes. There is spectacular scenery at a number of points along the trail, and Tallangatta has all amenities.

15 December , 2014 by cascho

I rode this trail on Sunday 14th December 2014 between Wodonga and Old Tallangatta. Pretty awesome trail – good views and easy riding. The Sandy Creek Bridge is the stand out, as well as the old ruins at Old Tallangatta. The trail surface is fine; though agree that the section between Huon Reserve and Ludlows could do with some work. A few snakes around – especially in the grass by the side of the trail, but they get out the way quickly. Hope they extend it soon.

22 July , 2014 by lyness

Completed Wodonga to Tallangatta in April. What an enjoyable ride with spectacular scenery. Will be back to do it again. Looking forward to the completion to Corryong and some improvement of the track surface after the impressive Sandy Creek bridge.

27 February , 2014 by stanford67

I rode this trail from Wodonga to Old Tallangatta and back over 2 days in Oct 2013. Trail was in good condition, saw NO snakes (even in the area where there is a warning about them). The Sandy Creek Bridge was a great feature and was one reason I waited to do it when I did - so I didn't have to ride on the highway. No obstances on the whole trail, but grass about 30cm tall in places in middle of trail, and some places had large-ish gravel. Throughly enjoyed the trail.

01 May , 2013 by parvier

We rode Koetong to Shelley and return today - spectacular country and can't wait for the whole route to be completed from Old Tallangatta to Corryong. Koetong Pub is a top little country pub to visit and also have accommodation. Recommend start/finish at the pub and access the track via Edgars Rd rather than the old station site as the trestle over Boggy Ck is being restored and exceptionally difficult to wade across the creek with a bike! Locked gates at Edgar Rd and Billborough Rd make it difficult to traverse this section but worth it to see more old trestle bridges deep in the beautiful forest. Surface a bit rough overall and would recommend MTBs for preference although our hybrids handled the route without too much trouble. Well done to all those who have worked to get this trail opened up.

30 April , 2013 by parvier

Have just ridden Tallangatta - Bonegilla return. Didn't think the section between Huon Reserve and Ludlows was too bad - our hybrid bikes managed it just fine. A great ride all round and would certainly encourage others to do it. The Sandy Ck bridge is magnificent. Would also recommed the side trip to see the Migrant Heritage Centre at Bonegilla. Turn off the Rail Trail at Mahers Rd - about 2km down this road on the way to the dam wall. Only complaint of the day was the state of the public toilets at Huon Reserve.

24 April , 2013 by WilliandIan

My husband and I rode from Tallangatta to Bonegilla and return on Monday 15 April. A perfect day for a rail trail ride! We were amazed by the new bridge at Sandy Creek - it is quite remarkable! And the new section of the rail trail, from Tallangatta to the bridge, is excellent. However, a 5.3 km section of the trail, between Huon and Ludlow's Reserves, is a bike riders' nightmare. The rough, often sharp and irregular shaped 15-25mm rocks (not gravel) used to surface this section of the the trail made our traverse - riding hybrid bikes - an extremely uncomfortable experience. We hope the relevant authority acts quickly to fix this very poor section of an otherwise excellent rail trail. Willi and Ian

24 April , 2013 by WilliandIan

My husband and I rode from Tallangatta to Bonegilla and return on Monday 15 April. A perfect day for a rail trail ride! We were amazed by the new bridge at Sandy Creek - it is quite remarkable! And the new section of the rail trail, from Tallangatta to the bridge, is excellent. However, a 5.3 km section of the trail, between Huon and Ludlow's Reserves, is a bike riders' nightmare. The rough, often sharp and irregular shaped 15-25mm rocks (not gravel) used to surface this section of the the trail made our traverse - riding hybrid bikes - an extremely uncomfortable experience. We hope the relevant authority acts quickly to fix this very poor section of an otherwise excellent rail trail. Willi and Ian

07 March , 2013 by spokes

Hey, after coming up to ride the trail for the past three years finally rode from Wodonga to Old Tallangatta and back without having to deviate on to the road because of flooded rivers and poor track surface. The bridge is brilliant and the track surface between Houn reserve and Old Tallangatta is great. A little work cleaning up the large gravel between Bonegilla and Houn would make the trail fantastic for all types of bikes (not road) and riders. Recommend doing the trail before the rains come and the Kiewa river floods the trail near Whytes road. Also recommend the Tallangatta bakery for lunch, snack or coffee.

20 January , 2013 by Damian McCrohan

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I rode departed Wodonga late afternoon and rode out to Tallangatta and stayed the night before returning the next morning. Very enjoyable missing the heat of the day and heaps of colourful birds all the way out in the evening. There are still a few kilometres between Bonegilla and Huon that are a little uncomfortable on hybrid bikes. Huon to Tallangatta is great especially riding across the bridge with the water level up so high. Tallangatta Motel was good value for money. Tallangatta Hotel didn't leave the same feeling but bakery was better in the morning.

05 August , 2012 by samgeo

I rode the trail two days ago, and would agree with the comments left by spokes. I spent most of my time watching the trail surface rather than enjoying the scenery. Bridge works at Sandy Creek are incomplete. I talked to a workman at the bridge, and he thought that it would be at least a month before the works would be completed. I travelled from Tallangatta towards Wodonga. From Bonegilla to Whytes Road there were a number of places where there was water damage, and two areas where the choice was between turning around or proceeding through water. I chose to proceed. The worst effected section had a lake across the track stretching for about 50 metres of track and as far as the eye could see into surrounding bushland. I walked my bike through water that came almost up to my knees. Travelling from Tallangatta, I saw no signs advising of water ahead. The vibration from the rough surface caused me to lose the sensor on my trip computer. I have immensely enjoyed watching the gradual development of the rail trail network over the last decade or so, and I have been an enthusiastic trail user. I went to the official opening of the Goulburn HIgh Country Rail Trail, and gained some insight into the enormous amount of effort required to develop the trail. Consequently, I am reluctant to sink the boot into the High Country Trail. However, I think that the surface overall is deplorable at the present time. The best section is probably from Tallangatta to the Sandy Creek Bridge. The track beyond is certainly not suitable for a family outing, wide tyres only, and be prepared to detour or swim from Bonegilla.

04 July , 2012 by Jbeck7

Agree with spokes comment on trail. I however attempted it most days for 2 months but the track gets really rough once past huon reserve . The track between whytes rd and bonegilla is a just a draw of chance.. Every time it rains the water constantly floods on the flats and takes away the top soil - it has been re- fixed numerous of times but same goes when it rains again which really is sucks for users of trail. In saying that I still cant wait for new bridge to open but wish the large stones between ludlows reserve up be moved

20 May , 2012 by PUMA_2002

Thanks spokes I was all ready to head up there for a ride but will now give it a miss until they fix it up.

29 March , 2012 by spokes

Rode the trail last week from Albury to Tallangatta and return. The trail is a disgrace and would recommend to all to give it a big miss. Between Whytes road and Bonegilla the trail is impassable because of water across the trail, so turn around, back on to the highway and re- enter the trail near Bonegilla. The trail then between Bonegilla and Ebden reserve is not to bad. Then from Ebden to Huon the trail just degrades.Then just after Huon the quartz gravel used on the trail is so large, fist size, that you spend the whole ride watching the ground instead of the scenery. There is no way you could take a family with children. So back on the busy highway for the 6 klm ride around sandy creek, no verge at all in places. Back on the trail and not to bad to Tallangatta but needs work. So the new bridge might open in June but the whole trail will need a heap of work to bring it to a standard that meets the description. Sorry to sound like a grouch, but when you travel some distance to get to the trail to ride it, it is some what disappointing

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News

News

Funding for High Country and Murray to Mountains Rail Trail links

(Posted: 26/02/16)

Funding of $205,000 to support projects to enhance and extend existing trails and create new links between the Murray to Mountains and High Country Rail Trails.

More...

Celebrate High Country Rail Trail Improvements (NE Victoria)

(Posted: 10/01/16)

Recent improvements are being celebrated with a twilight ride on Saturday 20th February 2016.

More...

High Country Rail Trail Koetong Bridge Opening

(Posted: 05/10/14)

The large timber bridge at Koetong on the High Country Rail Trail in north east Victoria will be opened on Sunday 19th October.

More...

Funding for High Country Rail Trail Upgrade

(Posted: 28/05/13)

Funding has been announced for a 600m boardwalk and17km of trail surface upgrade between Killara and Huon in north east Victoria.

More...

Australia's Longest Rail Trail Bridge Open

(Posted: 21/11/12)

 The 600m Sandy Creek bridge on the High Country Rail Trail in North East Victoria is now open.

More...

High Country Sandy Creek Bridge Opening

(Posted: 29/09/12)

 The 600m bridge on the High Country Rail Trail in North East Victoria will be officially opened on Saturday 20th October 2012

More...

High Country Sandy Creek Bridge Update

(Posted: 10/06/12)

The 600m bridge on the High Country Rail Trail in North East Victoria is nearing completion

More...

High Country Rail Trail Bridges the Gap

(Posted: 23/01/12)

The High Country Rail Trail ( NE Victoria) has bridged the 600m long gap across Lake Hume.

More...

Sandy Creek Bridge Contruction to Start (VIC)

(Posted: 27/09/11)

The High Country Rail Trail Bridge to be built by barge...

More...

General Flood Warnings (VIC, QLD and anywhere else that's had rain!)

(Posted: 20/12/10)

Parts of the High Country Rail Trail and Brisbane Valley Rail Trails are closed due to heavy rain.

More...

Funding Announced for High Country Rail Trail (Vic) Sandy Creek Bridge

(Posted: 03/07/10)

The Victorian State Government has announced $1.35 million dollars to reinstate the 660m long Sandy Creek bridge on the High Country Rail Trail in North East Victoria.

More...

No VLine Train Services To North East Victoria

(Posted: 08/11/08)

From Sunday 9th November VLine trains to Wangaratta and Wodonga will be replaced by buses, which have limited provision for carrying bikes. More...

Progress on Sandy Creek Bridge, High Country Rail Trail (Vic)

(Posted: 11/06/08)

The City of Wodonga has called for tenders to reinstate the landmark 600m bridge over Sandy Creek Inlet, near Tallangatta

More...

High Country Rail Trail (Vic) July Inspirational Ride (UPDATED)

(Posted: 08/07/06)

The Friends of the High Country Rail Trail ride has been rescheduled for Saturday 29th July 2006.

More...

High Country Rail Trail (NE Victoria) Kiewa River Bridges Opened

(Posted: 24/04/06)

A "Kiewa River Cooee" was held on Sunday 23rd April 2006 to celebrate the opening of the bridges across the Kiewa River

More...

High Country Rail Trail (NE Victoria) Kiewa River Bridge Opening

(Posted: 07/03/06)

A "Kiewa River Cooee" will be held on Sunday 23rd April 2006 to celebrate the opening of the bridges across the Kiewa River. More...