- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
- A long rail trail, which passes through a variety of forest and farmland
- Experience the views beside the long timber bridge into Orbost
- Rich birdlife and wildlife in forest areas
- Ideal for multi-day tours or day trips
- Lots of huge old timber bridges, railway cuttings and embankments
- Small towns and villages with cafes, accommodation and crafts
- Occasional views of the Gippsland Lakes
- Option to divert onto the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail to the resort town of Lakes Entrance
- Bairnsdale – Howett Park on the eastern edge of town
- Nicholson – from Sarsfield Rd
- Bruthen – Access via pedestrian bridge on east side of Great Alpine Way
- Nowa Nowa – west side of Kingston St, or east side of Boggy Creek
- Newmerella – at Burns Rd on the Snowy River flats
- Orbost – from Forest Park
There are some steep diversions around bridges from Bruthen eastward to Orbost.
Bairnsdale to Nicholson (8 km)
This section of the trail is fully sealed and features a fully restored trestle bridge across the Nicholson River.
- A steep trail on the west side gives access to shops and picnic areas at Nicholson.
- Take in the lake views and regenerated bushland beside the trail
Nicholson to Bruthen (20 km)
The trail surface is hard-packed gravel from Nicholson. Features of this section include several large embankments after Stevensons Rd, and views of Slaughterhouse Creek Valley at Bumberrah.
- Cross Dirty Hollow Creek via low level bypass
- Take care crossing Omeo Hwy at Wiseleigh
- Access to Bruthen township via side track to the right before a tunnel, then use restored pedestrian bridge
Bruthen to Nowa Nowa (30 km)
A long section through shady forest, with a steady climb to Colquhoun. The surface is hard packed gravel, though it maybe sandy in some sections.
- In Colquhoun Forest the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail provides a connection to Lakes Entrance
- See the impressive Stony Creek Trestle bridge about 5 km before Nowa Nowa
- The trail uses a low-level bypass at Stony Creek
Nowa Nowa to Orbost (38 km)
This is the longest section of the trail, and there are no towns or villages. Please ensure you have food and water before you leave Nowa Nowa.
- The 36km Nowa Nowa to Newmerella (western side of Snowy River near Orbost) section opened in January 2006
- Fine, hard compacted gravel that is easy riding on a hybrid bike
- The trail is wide enough for three bikes except in a few sections where the camber seems a bit excessive.
- The trail has quite a lot of shade, making summer riding pleasant
- Three major wooden trestle bridges have low-level diversions. These provide a good view of the bridges but the approaches are quite steep, particularly at the largest middle bridge
- At Nowa Nowa the new trail connects to the existing section via a path on to the Princes Hwy crossing Boggy River
- Plenty of parking at the old station site
- The Bruthen to Nowa Nowa road has been turned into Princes Hwy, so major roadworks have taken place at Nowa Nowa. A planned pedestrian/cycle bridge will eliminate the diversion on to the highway
- At Newmerella the access point is at Burn Rd on the left as Princes Hwy descends to the river flats
- The end of the trail is about 2 km short of the original terminus of the line, which never actually crossed the Snowy River into Orbost. At this stage there are no plans to reopen this section, which is mostly wooden trestle bridges crossing the river flats.
We acknowledge the Kurnai people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
Rail Line History
The railway came to Bairnsdale in 1888, but didn’t reach Orbost until 1916, which was almost the end of Victoria’s railway building period. This railway was notable for it’s many long trestle bridges. The Mundiac Creek trestle was destroyed by bushfires in 1980. The Stony Creek trestle was the site of a derailment in 1964, when 4 goods trucks fell into the creek. The line was finally closed in 1987.
Beside the long bridge into Orbost (Alex Thompson)
Enjoying the ride between Bruthen and Nowa Nowa (Steve Bennett)
The Nicholson River bridge at Nicholson
Bairnsdale to Nicholson
Walking near Nicholson
Between Nicholson and Bumberrah
Views of the valley near Mossiface
The Great Alpine Rd underpass at Bruthen
More nice views from the Tambo River bridge at Bruthen
Enjoying the view of the famous Stoney Creek bridge near Nowa Nowa
Wairewa Rd bridge bypass between Nowa Nowa and Tostaree (Steve Bennett)
Partellis Crossing between Nowa Nowa and Orbost is a good spot for a break (Reg Quelch)
Functional artwork at Partellis Crossing (Reg Quelch)
View from Burns Rd Grand View lookout of very long bridge into Orbost (Liz Mitchell)
Australian Cycling Holidays
Explore the rail trail at your own pace every day of the year. Trek hybrids (adults and children), baby buggies, tagalongs, tandem. E bikes for adults. Our Range of Options: Fully Supported tours with everything included on single or multiple rail trails; Bike/pannier hire multi day.
Many people ask about accommodation on Gippsland rail trails because they are so long and often demand multi-day travelling. Unfortunately maintaining lists of accommodation near rail trails is beyond the scope of the volunteer capacity of Rail Trails Australia. There are many other resources available for finding accommodation of all kinds in all places. When searching, simply use keywords including the towns through which your chosen rail trail passes, and you should find plenty of options.
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