Trail Open

Bass Coast Rail Trail

Victoria - Gippsland

3.9 based on 16 reviews
Location: 130km south-east of Melbourne, near Phillip Island
Length: 23 km
Surface: Fine gravel
Start / End: Wonthaggi to Woolamai
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • Horse RidingHorse Riding
  • PramsPrams
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

DETAILS

Why visit the Bass Coast Rail Trail?

Experience farmland and spectacular coastal views with a historic past.  Breath the clean sea air, see ocean waves crashing on the rocks and pristine beaches.  Hear the wild birdsong, and discover native wildlife. This coastal Rail Trail offers a very different experience. The terrain is flat with two moderate climbs and amazing views and trestle bridges to cross.

Attractions

  • Wonthaggi Railway Historic Area
  • Wonthaggi State Coal Mine Museum
  • Farmland
  • Bushland
  • Spectacular ocean and beach views
  • Wooden Trestle bridge over a beach inlet at Kilcunda
  • Powlett River
  • Wind turbines
  • Koalas and other wildlife
  • Historical Station Park at Wonthaggi

 

Trail Guide

The main sections of the Bass Coast Rail Trail are as follows:

  • Woolamai to Anderson 6km beginning at the Woolamai race course the sandy rail trail travels through wide open farmland bordered by distant hills. Tee tree scrub lines the trail offering wind protection.
  • Anderson to Kilcunda 4km Anderson is a great base which has a large carpark, toilets, picnic tables and even a horse holding yard. A pleasant scenic walk or ride to Kilcunda.
  • Kilcunda to Wonthaggi 13km a wooden trestle bridge over a beach inlet, beaches and sand dunes, coastal farmland and wooded area where Koalas have been seen.

This amazing countryside of coastal scenic views only a short drive from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Markers points and seating are located along the trail. Toilets at Anderson, Kilcunda and Wonthaggi

Section Guides

Woolamai to Anderson (6km)

  • The Rail Trail begins at the Woolamai race course a pretty country setting at the foot of the hills.
  • Only a short distance to the small Woolamai township.
  • The trail is mainly flat along the foot hills offering views of farmland and Western port bay.

Anderson to Kilcunda (4km)

  • At Anderson there is a large carpark, public toilets, picnic tables and even a horse holding yard.
  • From Anderson the trail winds around the hill offering magnificent views of the ocean, Kilcunda surf beach and William’s beach.
  • Past the Kilcunda historical coal mine site.
  • Cross the Bass highway and onto the Kilcunda Foreshore Reserve Playground.

Kilcunda to Wonthaggi (13km)

  • From the Kilcunda Foreshore Reserve is the magnificent Kilcunda trestle bridge crossing over a beach inlet
  • The trail then runs beside the Kilcunda surf beach.
  • At the Powlett river there is another long trestle bridge.
  • Then flat coastal farmland section and a wooded area where koalas have been seen.
  • Dudley road carpark, from this point on the rail trail is sealed and horses are not allowed.
  • The trail arrives at Wonthaggi Historical Station reserve

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the people of the Bunurong as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and waters on which the rail trail is constructed.

Development and future of the rail trail

Railway history

The Wonthaggi railway line was opened in 1910 to serve the State Coal Mine, but the line also had passenger and general goods trains.

The State Coal Mine’s production rapidly grew and at its peak in 1926 produced 2,474 tons per day, the Victorian Railways buying 90%. By 1928, twelve passenger services ran on the line per week, with a journey from Flinders Street to Wonthaggi taking about four hours.

Victorian Railways changed from steam to diesel-electric locomotives reducing demand for black coal and in 1968 the coal mine closed. Passenger trains from Nyora to Wonthaggi were withdrawn on 4 December 1977 and the line closed on 21 November 1978 when a last goods train returned to Melbourne.

PHOTOS

REVIEWS

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16 reviews of “Bass Coast Rail Trail”

I couldn’t wait to get out after Covid 19 restrictions so I started this new section at Woolamai Race Track after parking awkwardly on McGrath Rd. (there are no road signs showing where the Bass Trail starts). Its a beautiful wide path up hill to Anderson with excellent views all round. Anderson round about has toilets and its a lovely path onward to Wonthaggi but it was crowded being a long weekend. One concern is a dangerous crossing at the busy Bass Highway above Kilcunda (I hope they put a bridge or tunnel here). On the return trip it became dark but with my good headlight I really enjoyed it. I must mention here I also did the path from Anderson to San Remo, its for mountain goats as there are some ridiculous steep sections however its safe away from the very busy Phillip Island Road.

Our group of 10 cycled from Wonthaggi to Kilcunda on 20 March 2020 on a beautiful sunny day but with a fierce headwind all the way. Had a great time – good dry surface and wonderful views. Our only concern was the suggestion to park at the Railway Museum or shopping centre car park which had a 2 hour limit. We thought that parking at the Visitor Centre and Gallery was a better option as there were some all day parking spaces.

Rode this trail on the 11th of August 2019, riding Wonthaggie to Anderson’s return. In the days leading up to the ride it had been raining heavily, and when we started the trail was covered in a layer of sleet. However, the gravel surface was in great condition and there were people riding it on gravel bikes. There was one section that was under about 20cm of water, and resulted in wet feet which certainly adds to the adventure.
Despite its location the trail is generally well sheltered from the wind, and it has great views of the coast and the countryside. Certainly recommend a coffee at the General Store in Kilcunda, and lunch at the Wonthaggi Hotel was a great way to finish the ride.
It would be great if the trail were a little longer to make more of a day of it.

13/27. We did this rail trail over Easter on a lovely day, but even if it wasn’t sunny, this trail would still be stunning. A nice easy surface along the entire track, much better than the last time i rode it about 10 years ago. We rode the Woolamai to Wonthaggi direction to get the tail wind, and also so we could finish at the Wonthaggi Hotel, which is right at the end of the trail, for lunch. The iconic views at Kilcunda are not to be missed. We had a coffee break at the General Store there to soak it all in.
The only real hill is up to Anderson, but it is not steep in typical railtrail fashion.
I’m riding every ail trial in Victoria this year to promore organ donation. You can follow my other rail trail exploits on FB Warwick Duncan – The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides.

I rode the Anderson to Wonthaggi section and return on the 10/6/17. This was the 1st rail trail I have ridden and I loved it. The track was in great condition and the coast along Kilcunda was a lovely bonus. Plenty of bird life the occasional rabbit or Kangaroo and curious cows. Overall a very enjoyable 34 klm ride and highly recommended. Looking forward to riding more trail trails in the future and definitely be back to ride the Bass Coast trail trail again.

Rode the trail on 28.02.16. Started at McGrath Rd in Woolamai, you can see the start of the trail, but there are no signs anywhere saying this is a rail trail or in fact it is the Bass Rail trail. We just assumed that was it and when we saw the first marker we knew we were at the right place. There is no parking at McGrath Road, you need to find a place on the side of the road in the grass verge. I assume this will be fixed when it is extended to the Rec reserve.
A nice ride through to Wonthaggi and back. pretty long climb (around 5km) at the start, probably why we saw no one else on the first section. Worth doing, we enjoyed the coastline at Kilkunda, great scenery.

Our first ever rail trail and we are now hooked! We rode it with loaded touring bikes no problem. Had to stay on the edges though as horse hooves had cut up the centre quite a bit. Otherwise superb.

I did this trail with my 14-year old son recently (in conjunction with the ‘Grand Ridge Rail’). It is an easy run to Kilcunda from Wonthaggi, nothing spectacular, but lovely as one approaches the coast. One can see broad sweeps of coastline to one side of the trail and the rolling hills of Gippsland on the other. The old Kilcunda Bridge is a thrill with the crashing surf next to you. Wonthaggi has plenty of dining options (Connell’s Bakery near Safeway is one of the best), and Kilcunda has a notable pub with views of the coast. What more could you want? Highly recommended. It’s a pity it does not extend to Inverloch by the coast as well. Inverloch is paradise ever on a bad day.

I rode this trail 10/12/14 , previous time was 3 years ago. Probably because of the recent weather the trail has become quite rough in particular the stretch from Anderson to Woolamai. The main damage has come from horses. The track is also getting dangerous at the road crossing points, the surface falls away quickly and there are deep ruts in the crossing styles. The camber of track is fairly severe in places and could be difficult even for a hybrid with smoother tyres. The names at the roads crossings are not displayed. This ride could be a real attraction for trails riders if it was properly maintained and promoted. The motorbike ruts don’t help either.

I rode this trail on the 19th November 2014. Perfect day for it – sunny without any wind. The ride between Wonthaggi and Kilcunda is the best part – along the coastal dunes – though the views from Anderson are just as good. The trail surface is good – though it’s a shame the trail just ends in the middle of nowhere outside of Woolamai. Beware there was a swooping Grey Butcherbird right near the top of Anderson hill (as you cross the gravel road) which was pretty fearless in attacking me.

Rode this trail early March 2014. Trail surface good all the way. There was some sand on the trail near the Kilcunda trestle bridge, and a few ‘ruts’ in other places, but otherwise my bike (a portable / foldup with MTB rim on the back and standard road / hybrid rim on the front) had no problems travelling it. Well worth effort to ride this trail as it is fairly flat except for the section between Kilcunda and Anderson which has some grades. Watch for crosswinds near Kilcunda, and roos between Kilcunda and Powlett River!

Hi Nancy, I haven’t ridden this trail myself but according to the Trail tab of this description page, the blue indicators on the right show that the trail is suitable for touring/hybrid and mountain bikes, among other things. Enjoy! And feel free to comment again with your experience of the ride. Cheers!

I ride this rail trail frequently. It’s a gravel surface, recently upgraded near the Powlett River. Much of the trail is quite sheltered, there are great views from the Powlett River Bridge across farmland to the Desal Plant and then fabulous ocean and beach views as you get close to Kilcunda. It’s a fairly easy ride from Wonthaggi and there’s a lovely cafe at Kilcunda.

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