- Rail Trail
- Spectacular views as you travel beside the long timber trestle bridge near Orbost
- Rich variety of wildlife in the forested areas
- Can be tackled as a multi-day tour, a series of short hops or as a serious, one- or two-day slog
- Occasional views of the Gippsland Lakes
- Lots of huge old bridges, railway cuttings and embankments
- Quaint towns and villages with cafes, accommodation and craft shops
- Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail
- Silt jetties at Eagle Point
- Lakes Entrance
- Colquhoun MTB Park
- Cape Conran
- Buchan Caves
- Snowy Plains Trestle bridge (undergoing restoration)
Last updated: 23 November 2023
There are some steep diversions around rustic trestle bridges from Bruthen eastward
ESTA Emergency Markers are installed along the trail. In an emergency, call 000 and quote the alphanumeric code on the marker post nearest to you, eg ERT1
- Bairnsdale: Howitt Park, 2km east of the railway station, has toilets and parking at the playground. Reach trail via path under road bridge
- Nicholson: Nicholson – Sarsfield Rd north of Princes Hwy, on-street parking
- Bruthen: Via ramp and pedestrian bridge on northeast side of town or via easier, but longer, path from south of recreation reserve
- Nowa Nowa: Picnic area and car park on eastern side of general store
- Newmerella: Parking and shelter on Burns Rd, where the trail drops to the river flats
- Orbost: Parking near station site west of river. Forest Park in town has toilets and parking
Bairnsdale to Nicholson (9km)
- Bairnsdale is a major centre with several holiday parks and an operational railway station near the trailhead.
- This section is asphalt and features a restored timber and steel trestle bridge over the Nicholson River.
- A steep path on the west side of the trail provides access to Nicholson’s shops, picnic areas and accommodation.
- Take in the views of the Gippsland Lakes and regenerated bush.
Nicholson to Bruthen (21km)
- The trail surface is hard-packed gravel from east of Nicholson. Features of this section include several large embankments, and views of Slaughterhouse Creek Valley at Bumberrah.
- Take care on the low-level bypass at Dirty Hollow Creek, and while crossing the Omeo Hwy at Wiseleigh, before Bruthen.
- Bruthen is a farming town with a variety of shops, accommodation and a pub brewery.
Bruthen to Nowa Nowa (28km)
- There’s a long, steady climb to Colquhoun but it’s in fresh mountain air through shady forest. The surface is hard- packed gravel, which may be sandy in some sections after rain.
- In Colquhoun State Forest, 2km after crossing Bruce Rd, the start of the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail to Lakes Entrance is on the right.
- The impressive Stony Creek Trestle bridge is about 5 km before Nowa Nowa and the bypass trail into the river valley is steep. The trail leaves the rail corridor before town and travels via a shared path through it. Take Bruthen-Nowa Nowa Rd (C620) 1km north to the Gorge Lookout for stunning views of the Boggy Creek Gorge and eastern Gippsland. It is possible to climb down into the gorge for a swim.
- Nowa Nowa has a general store, toilets, parking area and accommodation.
Nowa Nowa to Orbost station site (38km)
This is the longest leg of the trail. There are no towns or villages, so please ensure you have provisions. There are some water fountains.
- The surface features fine compacted gravel that is easy on a hybrid bike
- There is quite a lot of shade, making summer riding pleasant, but this section is the most challenging on the trail.
- Three major wooden trestle bridges have low-level diversions. These provide good views of the bridges, but the approaches are quite steep, particularly at what was largest one at Wairewa Rd, partly lost in the 2020 bushfires.
- The access point on Burn Rd, Newmerella, is about 3 km by shared path from the Orbost station site (on private land to your left), with trains never making it across the Snowy River after the completion of a 770m trestle bridge across the flood plain. That iconic bridge is now the subject of a $4.5 million restoration effort and should become a riding or walking option, and a feature, for those starting or finishing the trail by the end of 2024. In the meantime, there’s another 1km of path over the road bridge and on to Forest Park in Orbost.
- Newmerella has a roadhouse while Orbost is a major rural centre with most services.
The trailhead in Bairnsdale
Bairnsdale to Nicholson
Walking near Nicholson
The Nicholson River bridge
Between Nicholson and Bumberrah
The Great Alpine Rd underpass at Bruthen
More nice views from the Tambo River bridge at Bruthen
Enjoying the ride between Bruthen and Nowa Nowa (Steve Bennett)
Views of the valley near Mossiface
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 Newmeralla is a good spot for a break (Reg Quelch)
View from Burns Rd Grand View lookout of Snowy Plains Trestle to Orbost (Liz Mitchell)
Beside the Snowy Plains bridge into Orbost (Alex Thompson)
AllTrails Bicycle Tours
AllTrails Bicycle Tours have been running multi-day cycle tours around Victoria and across the country for 25 years and once again we return to Gippsland as part of our Gippsland Rail Trails ‘Six-Pack’ tour. This group tour takes in six of the best trails in Victoria (East Gippsland, Lakes Discovery Trail, Gippsland Plains, Grand Ridge, Great Southern, Bass Coast) – a wonderful way to see multiple trails with full support and great accommodation, all with minimal effort and organisation on your part.
Great Southern Ride E Bike Sales & Hire Meeniyan
GSR is an E-Bike hire store located in the middle of the Great Southern Rail Trail, Meeniyan, a 2-hour drive from Melbourne.
Included in your hire: E-Bike, helmet, lock & rider instruction.
Riders have options of half or full day hire.
GSR stock E Bikes, helmets, tubes, tyres, accessories, & carriers.
There are V/line trains from Melbourne to Bairnsdale. Also, there are PTV buses which service some of the towns along the trail, but they are not always on the same route. As always bicycle carrying restrictions apply.
Refer to the PTV web page for map and timetables, or your navigation program of choice.
Do you know of a bike hire or transportation service on this rail trail that should appear here? If so, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 O’Clock Shadows
In the heart of Snowy River Country, this spacious property is a home away from home. Relax, take in the serenity with mesmerizing valley views, outdoor undercover patio & fire pit. Accommodating couples or groups up to 8 persons. Just 5 hours from Melbourne, a perfect place to base your next adventure in the Gippsland wilderness where you can experience the beach and the bush in the same day. …. Go on Spoil Yourself!
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 line was notable for its 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 four goods trucks fell into the creek.
- The line was finally closed in 1987.
- Following line closure in 1987, the track and other infrastructure was removed from the alignment in 1994.
- The first 10 km of rail trail – from Bairnsdale to Nicholson – was funded by the Victorian Government and opened in 1998.
- Assistance from DSE then provided trail completion to Bruthen, and further funding supported the trail’s extension to Nowa Nowa.
- The final phase to Burns Road near Orbost was able to progress after the 2004 election, with a federal government grant of $660,000 secured by the Federal Member for Gippsland, Peter McGauran MP.
- This funding allowed the last 34 kms to be completed, and the full trail opened in January 2006 with a ceremony at Nowa Nowa.
- The trail development involved intensive support from 4 Landcare groups – Nicholson, Bruthen, Wairewa and Snowy River – as well as local CFA brigade support
- The Committee of Management has undertaken significant maintenance works and trail improvements over time- including major signage upgrades in 2001, and the laying of an asphalt surface on the section between Bairnsdale and Nicholson.
A celebration on 25 November on the trail at Mossiface will mark the completion of a ...More...
The restoration of the 770m long iconic Snowy River trestle bridge on the East Gippsland ...More...
The East Gippsland Rail Trail (EGRT) recently received an $82,500 grant from the East Gippsland Community ...More...
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Sections of the Trail between Hospital Creek and Partellis Crossing which have been temporarily closed ...More...
Tuesday's (Feb 1-2) fires east of Nowa Nowa has closed the rail trail from Jonson ...More...
Bicycle Victoria has organised this day for Sunday 4 March 2007, which includes the Lilydale - Warburton ...More...
Further to the original item below, as of the 9th of January 2007 the East Gippsland ...More...
Mr Peter McGauran MP, Hon. Graham Stoney MLC, committee ...More...
Media Release April 22 2005 The East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee of Management is preparing to invite ...More...
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is situated in eastern Victoria and presently runs from Bairnsdale ...More...
Starting in Bairnsdale with activities beginning on Friday evening for those with more time to ...More...
The Bicycling Australia Show was held in Melbourne last month. There was a good Rail ...More...
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is having its annual ride/walk/horseride on Saturday 22 June. ...More...
East Gippsland Rail Trail Works on the trail from Bruthen to Nowa Nowa are progressing. ...More...
Railtrails were well represented at the bike show in Melbourne with almost half of the "...More...
The following question was asked in Victorian Parliament recently. QUESTION 405. The Hon. M.A. Birrell ...More...
East Gippsland Sealing Sealing of the East Gippsland Rail Trail between Bairnsdale and Nicholson is ...More...
East Gippsland Rail Trail Bairnsdale to Nicholson In the next few weeks, this section of ...More...
New South Wales The old Meadowbank rail bridge across the Parramatta River in Sydney was ...More...