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Camperdown-Timboon Rail Trail

Victoria - West

3.5 based on 21 reviews
Location: 160km south west of Melbourne
Length: 41 km
Surface: Coarse gravel, Compacted earth, Disused railway line
Start / End: Camperdown to Timboon
Public Transport: Bus, Coach, Train
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • Horse RidingHorse Riding
  • PramsPrams
  • WalkingWalking

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
View Map
  • The trail passes the remains of majestic railway trestle bridges set in beautiful rainforest. It also goes through attractive woodlands, dairy-farming and cattle-grazing country
  • At Timboon, it connects to the 20km Twelve Apostles Trail, which will soon enable cyclists to reach Port Campbell. Walkers can already get to that town via steps and a $3.5 million suspension bridge over Campbells Creek
  • There’s a major bike and e-bike hire company in the area that operates shuttle services

Nearby Attractions

  • Lake Bullen Merri, Lake Gnotuk and many others
  • The Twelve Apostles Food Artisans gourmet trail includes berries, fudge, wine and much more
  • The Twelve Apostles Trail, now open from Timboon, provides a 40km round trip starting at the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery and passing the Schulz Organic Creamery and Cafe … perhaps better  visited on the way back
  • The 100km Great Ocean Walk from Port Campbell to Apollo Bay
  • The distillery occupies the original goods shed and produces a range of spirits including single malt whiskey, vodka (with vanilla bean), coffee cream, strawberry schnapps and lemon liqueur. A wide variety of local produce is available
  • Cobden Miniature Railway

Last updated: 1 October 2023

  • The main sections of the trail are:
  • Camperdown to Cobden (18km) is on-road for 11km, before becoming a dedicated rail trail at Naroghid Rd
  • Cobden to Timboon (23km) passes pleasant farmland and goes through scenic bush
  • The trail is primarily constructed of compacted earth and coarse gravel. It is littered with bench seats, tables and interpretive signs
  • Five low-level bridges between Merretts Rd and Curdies River have steep approaches and are in the process of replacement, with three to go
  • Distance markers are located at 1km intervals. In an emergency, call 000 or 112 and quote the distance from the marker nearest to you (eg Cobden 4km)
  • The shuttle service is available from numerous points along the two trails. Refer to the GET AROUND tab below for details

Horse riding is prohibited on one section of the rail trail  


Section Guides

Camperdown to Naroghid (11km)

  • Camperdown is a major town with tree-lined avenues, botanic gardens and two volcanic lakes. It has a wide range of accommodation, dining options and services
  • If you are arriving by train, an on-road route is signposted from the Camperdown Railway Station to the start of the rail trail proper on Naroghid Rd, where there is off-street parking
  • The signposted on-road route along Fenton St, Park Lane and Sadlers Rd offers some nice views, but involves two steep hills courtesy of the volcanic lakes it passes. An alternative, flatter route means some time on Camperdown-Cobden Rd (C164), which has no shoulder and no signs to the trail
  • There are no toilets at the trailhead but Lake Bullen Merri Recreation Reserve nearby has them, and BBQ facilities

Naroghid to Cobden (7km)

  • From the Naroghid Rd car park, it’s 200m south to a reproduction station shelter and picnic area
  • The trail now heads through scenic farmland to Cobden. Often your progress will be closely monitored by herds of curious cows
  • At Cobden, the path continues on the railway easement through the local golf course but you have to navigate the driving range before reaching the safety of the trees. Horse riders must detour along Bond St and past the technical school
  • Cobden is a pleasant town in the heart of dairy country. Stop at the Cobden Golf Club’s bistro or Thommos Hotel, for a classic pub lunch. Enjoy a ride on the Cobden Miniature Railway trains or play a round at Cobden Mini Golf.
  • Camping by donation is available near the golf course on Bond St (see map) and at pretty Lake Elingamite
  • There’s a 4km walking trail called Circuit de Savage along Bond, Grayland and Neylon streets which have solar lighting for time-poor walkers and runners

Cobden to Glenfyne (11km)

  • The trail leaves the railway alignment after the golf course, as the station area is now an industrial estate
  • Follow the signs past the CFA shed, right along the shared path on Neylon St (Camberdown-Timboon Rd) and right again on Grayland St near the Fonterra factory. The trail resumes on the left behind the Hewitt and Whitty farm supplies store
  • Prepare for several major road crossings. The trail runs beside Cobden-Warrnambool Rd for most of this section, crossing that road a couple of times before Glenfyne

Glenfyne to Curdies River (7km)

  • If starting here, there is parking available at Glenfyne Public Hall, on Cobden-Warrnambool Rd, but leave your cars outside the fence in winter
  • There are BBQ facilities and tank water available, but not for washing horses
  • After Merretts Rd there is a scenic section through dense bush along Limestone Creek that still has some rails and sleepers in place
  • Five low-level bridges were built by volunteers across the creek to bypass the rotting originals. The first two, #11 and #12, have been replaced with galvanised steel ones and two more are to be done next year (2024) but the trail is narrow and muddy in parts after heavy rain. Some people may prefer to avoid it
  • This section has very high conservation values. The giant yellow-bellied glider possum, white goshawks and powerful owls live here. Wallabies, kangaroos and koalas are commonly seen along the trail. Rare plants, including lime ferns, are another highlight.
  • This section is only suitable for walkers and mountain bike riders and is difficult after heavy rain

Horses are not permitted on the section from Bridges 11 to 15, after Merretts Rd

Cyclists are strongly advised to dismount for the old bridges and their approaches, especially in winter

Curdies River to Timboon (5km)

  • Parking is available near the old platform on the southern side of the trestle bridge. There is a station shed and trail maps may be available there.
  • The bridge has undergone restoration but the decking can be very slippery in winter. From here, the trail passes through bush and farmland to the Timboon railyard, where the station office remains in place. Conveniences are around the corner to the left, in Bailey St
  • This town is a bit of a surprise, with numerous shops and cafes for provisions and meals, a supermarket, ice creamery, berry farm and cheese factories. A boutique whiskey distillery has been established in the old goods shed with meals also available


Explorer Route (20km)

  • Construction of the Twelve Apostles Trail from Timboon to Port Campbell is nearly finished. You can already walk as far as Port Campbell via a swing bridge but can only ride as far as the lookout carpark on the Great Ocean Rd

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24 reviews of “Camperdown-Timboon Rail Trail”

Rode Cobden to Timboon and back four days ago on a gravel bike. Wow! If you want to pootle along singin' a song, this is not for you. This is an adventure ride with five hike-a-bike river crossings a kilometre before the main Curdies River trestle. Sure, there's debris on the trail, bark, twigs and small branches, but the surroundings are endlessly attractive. All this makes it a ride that needs you to make an effort and have your wits about you. There's plenty of technical stuff to negotiate, but isn't that half the fun of being aboard your two-wheeled steed? We need variety in our rail trails, and this one's a beauty.

A group of 38 cyclists rode this trail from Camperdown to Timboon and then on to Port Campbell along the (almost completed) Twelve Apostles Trail. It was a wonderful experience except for the poor condition of the rail trail in the 5km leading up to Timboon. While two of the low-level bridges had been replaced, some were in a very poor state. Also, some of the trail is almost impossible to ride due to the condition of the surface. The rest of the rail trail is fantastic, traversing forests and open dairy-farming country. There are several fantastic places to stop for a meal and/or drink in Camperdown, Cobden and Timboon. The connecting path to Port Campbell opens up further experiences of a beautiful sea-side town with excellent accommodation, restaurants, pubs and the beach. There are also easy rides to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge and cliff top walks giving majestic views over the ocean. When the rail trail has been fully restored, it will be a magnificent attraction for cycle tourism in the area.

Ridden 24 Dec 2022, fine weather, 22c, light winds, dry surface.
Rode Cobden to Timboon. Reasonable compacted aggregate to forest floor surface, the latter will be problematic if wet. Plenty of forest litter (sticks etc) to contend with. Suitable for basic to intermediate rider on MTB/eMTB, or intermediate rider on thinner tyres. Around the trestle bridges (closed, not passable), the track collapses to single track, with a few steep short descents and pinch climbs from the bike bridges. Recommend ’hike-a-bike’ for these short sections. No water or other services on the 26kms from Cobden to Timboon—more than half in good shade though. A few main (C) country roads to cross—so don’t let smaller children get too far ahead. Ice Creamery at Timboon is great!

In serious need of maintenance, a lot of debris, poor surfaces, poorly maintained and monitored for hazards. Chicanes are very tight even with a standard bicycle. Difficult to follow in places and lack of cafe/food options along route. Been there, done that, next.

Last Saturday, on a club ride four riders set up from Camperdown to Port Campbell, on that day it was partially raining with cloudy skies.
We found that the trail is in sorely need of maintenance as in same parts the trail is poorly defined, the trestle bridges have been discontinued for safety reasons and the alternative routes are dangerous to navigate. In some parts the rails limit the trail width and some sleepers are clearly visible making cycling difficult.
The bridge over Curdies river has been decked with timber planks, I think that these planks ooze a fair amount of oil and when combined with rain the oil emulsifies creating a very slippery surface.
Two of our four rides fell down on that bridge and the recommendation that can be used by horse riding; prams; scooters and In Line skates is totally misleading and dangerous.
The signage regarding safety issues is poor and ad-hoc.
We used touring bikes with 40 mm tyres.

Hi Ruben, thanks for your comments and I am sorry to hear about this incident. The Committee of Management inform me that it has looked at alternatives to the Curdies River bridgebut has not come to any affordable or achievable solution regarding the slippery surface in winter and expects that most people would dismount from their bikes and walk across the bridge in wet Winter conditions.  The Committee will consider installing signs indicating it is slippery when wet.
The Committee of Management is in the process of replacing 2 of the 5 bypass bridges between Cobden and Timboon and areawaiting construction within the next month (weather permitting).  Unfortunately they do not have sufficient funding at this time to replace the other 3 and is seriously considering closing the Rail Trail in this section because of safety concerns.  The Committee is also seeking to engage with DELWP to widen the approaches to some of the bypass bridges and upgrade the surface.

 Rail Trails Australia will add some words to our website trail description to note that horse riding is prohibited on some sections of this rail trail and remove the reference to scooters  and in Line skates.

To Darren McClelland. Re. The bridge over Curdies river being slippery when wet. It may be possible to lay chicken wire over the planks, secured with 2-3cm long brads (u-shaped fasteners). There's a bike path bridge over Merri Creek in Northcote (Melb) in a shady area, and this works a treat to give bike wheels traction in what would otherwise be dodgy slippery conditions. Chicken wire is inexpensive.

Yesterday we rode the rail trail on hybrid bikes with panniers from Camperdown to Timboon. It was muddy and slippery for that 5 km section but well worth dismounting where advised, as it was scenic and fun. Much of the Timboon to Port Campbell trail has now been completed, just watch the cow crossings…

Very scenic easy trail. Trestle bridges are at the Timboon end. After the large bridge at Curdies River there are short sections where you will need to walk due to narrow steep trail on the diversions around 3 other disused trestle bridges. In wet weather these sections could be very muddy and slippery. Easily passable in dry weather. Great shelter at Glenfyne hall but no toilets open.

Today I cycled the main part of the trail (Naroghid to Timboon). The 5 km section between Glenfyne and Curdies is stunning! The whole trail is a bit rough and an effort to ride, but that spectacular 5 km section makes it worthwhile. Lush forest and several dilapidated and overgrown trestle bridges that are so beautiful. The rail tracks that are still present are pretty cool – they have covered the sleepers enough that it's not too bad to ride over. I'll be back. For reference I rode a gravel bike with 38mm tyres and it was ok, although not easy. It would have been more comfortable on a mountain bike, but definitely doable on a gravel bike. I wouldn't do it after lots of rain.

A group of 21 riders rode the trail from Naroghid car park to Timboon and onto Port Campbell, returning the next day. 15/16 December 2021.
The track was in great condition, thanks to Pat Robinson and her band of volunteers.
We arranged with Pat to have the Glenfyne Hall open for a quick chat and rest stop. She provided us with a fantastic morning tea (donation willingly given) and then told us of some of the history and politics of creating and maintaining the track.
The section near the Curdies River did require us to get off and walk a few times but generally it was clear sailing.
We sampled the finished part of the extension to Port Campbell. Great. Cannot wait until the rest is finished to Port Campbell.
Thanks Timboon Rail Trail volunteers.
Brian Harrison , Ballarat U3A

Great ride from Camperdown to Timboon, rode on mountain bikes with 2 young teenagers and would highly recommend. The track is in very good condition and relatively easy with some nice bits of single track.

I found this trail challenging but ultimately exhilarating. We rode Camperdown to Timboon (and then on to Warrnambool by quiet roads before riding the Warrnambool- Port Fairy Rail Trail). The hills out of Camperdown are definitely steep and this section is on the road, but views of the volcanic plains below kept us going on the way up, and effort felt well rewarded by glorious crater lakes and circling eagles at the top. The first section aligned with the rail trail was lovely, though the section after Cobden was a slog – the trail surface demanded continual attention. Would be great to see some track improvement here. The section after Merretts Road comprises a narrow trail through dense forest with numerous creek crossings as bridges are derelict and covered in plants and mosses. We loved wheeling our bikes through (and carefully riding the straighter sections) – though I’d probably be wary of it after rain. For me, the highlights considerably outweigh the annoyances so I’d strongly recommend to folks up for a little adventure. I look forward to seeing the proposed extension – crater to coast is a great concept.

I wouldn't bother with the Camperdown Timboon RT. For starters, there's no directions from C'down to the start of the RT which is some 5kms from town. Second, the Trail itself is in woeful condition. Corrugated, rough, strewn with detritus from fallen limbs and leaves, narrow and quite, tough to actually ride. Trail signage is also poor, and the section through the gully on the Cobden Golf Course, is very scary! Surely, some funding could be found to put the trail on the old, trestle bridge that's across the gully?

I lasted for about 18kms, found the main road, and felt far, more comfortable and SAFE on the h'way on my way back to my car.

An entirely, forgettable experience!

January 2020 I caught the train to Camperdown to do this and spend a day or two in Timboon. The start unfortunately takes you up and over one of the highest hills in the area, not what you expect on a Rail Trail. It passes a caravan park near the top where I camped and can recommend. Further on the signs direct you to cycle on a minor road but still shared by large Double B milk tankers so I would be careful if you had children with you. Once you get to the car park of the “proper” rail trail its a wonderful bush path that I highly recommend. The derelict bridges lead off down narrow paths to cross creeks a bit of adventure. Timboon turned out to be a quiet paradise so I stayed for 2 weeks enjoying the free camping at the footy ground, pub, library, swimming pool and general vibe.

14/27. Victoria’s lovely autumnal weather turned to crappy winter just in time for us to do the Camperdown to Timboon rail trail, aka Crater to Coast (although I didn’t see a crater, and it doesn’t get to the coast). Squally headwinds and cold rain punctuated this ride through mainly flat farmland. We started at Naroghid Rd, which is a fair distance from Camperdown itself.
The highlight of the trail was also the hardest part after Merretts Rd, where we had to dismount get past several beautiful derelict trestle bridges. Stunning scenery along there but too rough for riding, so discretion was the better part of valour.
The trail is NOT closed between Cobden and Glenfyne as per the Railtrails.org.au website notes.
Late lunch at the very nice Timboon Railway Shed Distillery afterwards.
This is my 14th trail since Jan 1, so I’m now over halfway on my challenge to ride all 27 railtrails in Victoria this year to promote organ donation. You can follow my rail trail exploits on FB Warwick Duncan – The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides.

I rode this rail trail last week. It was pretty windy and cold but the tress protected us from the wind. We rode over 2 days as we didn’t have another car to car shuffle so had to retrace our steps. I loved it – the last section to Timboon was fun – although I got of for a few steep bits. It was beautiful land easy riding and interesting with all the historical signs. We ate at the Cobden Bakery and the Timboon one too, which broke it up. I would definitely recommend this trail – riding through remnant bush surrounded by dairy farms is pretty special. If you are into cycling and in the area – give it a try. It felt like a real adventure.

We rode the trail on 21 of November 2015 and we thoroughly enjoyed our ride. The overall route was very scenic and the section from Glenfyne to Timboon trestle was fantastic. Although technical in some sections, it is still easy if you take it slow, it is highly recommended as the scenery was amazing with 5-6 old trestle bridges on the route and also the natural bush made for great photo opportunities. As a railway enthusiast, I found this section where the line remained was very nostalgic, adding to the experience of what the railway once was like in this picturesque area. Also being able to ride over the final and most impressive trestle at Timboon was great. We had lunch at the Distillery in Timboon, the food was fantastic and the atmosphere made for a very enjoyable finish to our ride. Great work to all persons involved in maintaining this trail.

Bird lovers beware!! This Rail Trail has everything needed to seriously slow you down. Last week my wife and I took over an hour to ride the 5kms from Timboon to the fabulously re-decked bridge over the Curdies River. It is bird-heaven. Perhaps the fact that Timboon had 17mm of rain during the previous night meant the bush was fresh and there were lots of pickings for birds. We must have stopped 20 or more times to enjoy the birds in what is a most picturesque setting.
The only reason I haven’t rated this RT with 5 stars was because of the last km or so leading into Cobden where long grass was a disappointing end to our ride up from Timboon. On the return trip we skipped this bit and used the highway until we met the RT again.
Following advice from a Timboon resident, we camped overnight behind the Timboon Distillery at the start of the RT. Whilst this is not a designated camp site, it never-the-less would be a fantastic place for the Timboon community to establish an area for the likes of us who are out to ride every RT in Victoria. Such a beautiful little town but alas nowhere to camp, spend money in the town and ride the fantastic RT to Camperdown and back.
Finally, congratulations to all responsible for the re-decking of the Curdies bridge (many of them volunteers) and for the trail as a whole.
Would-be-users: don’t be put off by the wording in the brochure telling of the “rough” 5km section immediately past Curdies River heading to Cobden. Yes it is a bit rough, but we did it easily on hybrid bikes, really loved the scenery and we are both over 65 !!

I rode the Camperdown to Timboon rail trail on November 12th 2014. This could be one of the best rail trails in Victoria with more maintenance. The views of the countryside are great, however you spend most of your time looking at the track to dodge branches and fine the best path. The trail between Merretts Rd and Curdies river should only be attempted only mountain bikes – the sleepers are still present and in places the earth covering them has been washed away and so it’s like riding over moguls – which is a shame, because this section is by far the best part of the whole trail. It is clear not many people use the trail – as I almost ran over a fox sunbathing in the middle of the trail.

The countryside is certainly beautiful, but I think this would be better described as a mountain bike trail. We rode from Camperdown, and the trail has not been maintained in good condition, very overgrown, and in one place a tree down across it with no way around. The trail along Limestone creek is very beautiful, with old wooden bridges, dense old forest and the lovely clear creek. The entire trail was littered with branches, very muddy in parts, and along the last half there were also a lot of tree roots, and the railway sleepers made the riding slow and dangerous. We were absolutely exhausted when we got to Timboon. I thought this would be easier than it was – for casual middle aged riders this was a very hard ride. We couldn’t face going back to Camperdown, the road trip was another 45 km and retracing our trip was too much for us to attempt. So luckily, we were able to arrange a taxi back to Camperdown that could take our bikes. Speaking to some locals in Camperdown, they were astonished that we had attempted the ride, and also said that the trail had been increasingly neglected over recent years. I feel lucky that we actually made it given our low level of skills at this type of riding. I’m concerned that the difficulties of this ride are not detailed anywhere. However we are really glad to have seen such beautiful country. Be warned though, it’s not like a leisurely well maintained trail e.g. Warburton, it is rough and very hard work.

April 7 2014 by Gaza

I rode this trail to Timboon on Monday 7 Apr 14. I did not ride the road as suggested but instead took the Cobden Road and turned right into Naroghid Road. It was there that I joined the Trail. I found the trail very good and only saw one other rider on the way down to Timboon. Around the Curdies area the trail got a bit slippery because of the tree roots protruding above the ground. I stayed in the Timboon Motel which I found to be basic but comfortable enough for one night. The Pub meal was very good and staff and patrons very friendly. It started to rain about 0530 on the Tuesday morning so I decided to get under way in the trip back to Camperdown. No other riders on the way back but I did stop and talk to Farmers. The farms in this area were very neat and cattle very healthy. On arrival back at Naroghid, the end of the trail, I decide to take the route described in the brochure and ride via Saddlers Road and Park Lane. I can now say that I do not recommend this route at all. It is very steep and especially at the end of a ride when you could be tired. Back in Camperdown the bakery in the main street was a great place for lunch before the journey home. Minor works needed in places but overall a very enjoyable return trip for a sixty plus gent.

We rode the timboon to Cobden section in early April 2013. This section was a return trip of 50km once you rode into township of Cobden which was at least 1 km off the main trail and rode up and down the shops. Public toilets at either end but none in between. We spoke to a local committee member who indicated there were plans for toilets in the next 12 months near Glenfyne half way between timboon and Cobden. Toilets at the distillery cafe at the timboon end which has excellent coffee and ice cream!

Despite the track being bumpy in parts ( mountain bike recommended although we did the ride ok on flat bar road bikes) we enjoyed the native bush especially either side of the section around the new bridge opened 2 years ago across Curdies River

Well done to all volunteers for their hard work over the years in planning and constructing the path

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Giraiwurung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways over which the rail trail runs.

Development and future of the trail

A major upgrade of the trail has been made possible by significant funding from BHP Billiton. The Curdies River Trestle Bridge was restored with funding from DSE and Heritage Victoria.

Corangamite Shire received $4.5 million from the Victorian Government to build the Twelve Apostles Trail shared path to Port Campbell in 2020. more than a century after the Government Railway Standing Committee knocked back a submission to extend the railway there from Timboon

Railway history

The railway to Timboon opened in April, 1892, after three years of construction. It carried timber, lime and, later, farm produce (hops and apples) as well as passengers. Eighteen sawmills operated in the area processing thousands of tonnes of timber each year. There were also limeworks, of which one remains. The line was closed in 1986.

Many original features remain along the line, including brick culverts and remnants of many bridges. The Curdies River bridge is listed with Heritage Victoria.


Extension of the Camperdown Timboon Rail Trail south to Port Campbell

Posted: 24/08/23

The 12 Apostles Trail is scheduled for completion this November.  This trail extends the current 38km ...


Camperdown to Timboon Rail trail bridges replaced ahead of schedule

Posted: 24/10/22

The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail is open again after two bridges were replaced earlier ...


Final Management Plan for Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail

Posted: 07/09/20

The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail Management Committee last month finalised the management plan for ...


Draft Management Plan for Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail

Posted: 16/06/20

The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail Management Committee have drafted a management plan for the ...


Funding announced for Camperdown to Timboon trail.

Posted: 17/07/13

Minister for transport, Terry Mulder announcing the funding, accompanied ...


Camperdown to Timboon Railtrail Update (VIC)

Posted: 27/06/10

Volunteers celebrate the completion of a job well done. 19 ...

Trail descriptions are maintained by volunteers. Please consider a donation to help improve this website. Rail Trails Australia gets no government funding.

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