- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential RT
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Enjoy flat dairy-farm country with views of the Great Dividing Range to the north.
- Access by train or coach from Melbourne at both ends of the trail, making it possible to walk or ride one way and return by train, or continue on to Bairnsdale for the East Gippsland Rail Trail.
- The long bridge over the Latrobe River floodplain and new “coat hanger” over the Thomson River are major features.
- Fun activities for children in Stratford, with a skate park and exercise equipment.
- Gippsland Vehicle Collection, Maffra
- Heyfield Wetlands
- Latrobe Visitor Information Centre, Traralgon
Last updated: 27 November 2022
The trail rises only 50m. It has sections of bitumen but the surface is predominantly smooth gravel, which can get rutted when wet.
- Traralgon: Eastern side of Traralgon-Maffra Rd near Marshalls Rd intersection, 3km from railway station. Car park is 1.5km north.
- Glengarry: Restored railway station opposite hotel on Main St.
- Toongabbie: Corner of Stringer and Traralgon-Maffra roads.
- Cowwarr: Western edge of town at old freight wagon on C105.
- Heyfield: Apex Park on Davis St (C105).
- Tinamba: On the C105 near CFA station.
- Maffra: Gippsland Vehicle Collection, Railway Place.
- Stratford: Apex Park by the Avon River.
Traralgon to Glengarry (8 km)
This section has a good quality, gravel surface.
- The official trailhead is 500m north of the Princes Hwy on Traralgon- Maffra Rd near Marshalls Rd, but the car park is at the Burnets Rd intersection. No toilets
- There are picturesque views across the Latrobe River floodplain and adjoining farmland with an impressively long embankment and four bridges. The original trusses and pylons have been topped with decking and handrails.
- Glengarry station is the only public railway building left on the trail and is now a cafe. The loading crane in the station precinct was brought from Rosedale on the Bairnsdale line to replace the original.
Traralgon is a large regional town serving the Latrobe Valley. It has a shopping plaza, fast-food outlets and accommodation.
Glengarry is a small town with a general store, bakery, hotel and BBQ area with a playground.
Glengarry to Cowwarr (16 km)
This section has a variable surface.
- The trail runs north to Toongabbie through a patch of remnant native grassland, with wildflowers in spring.
- A new bridge was installed across Eaglehawk Creek in 2020.
- Toongabbie to Cowwarr features peaceful riding through dairy country.
- About 3km after Toongabbie the path crosses a deep gorge with stone walls and steel barricades. These were installed in the 1950s to slow the erosion caused by Fells Creek.
- At Cowwarr, the station platform is 150m along the trail and several original bridges remain.
Toongabbie is a small town with a general store.
Cowwarr has a hotel, store and cafe.
Cowwarr to Maffra (28 km)
- The trail continues across the Thomson River bridge, which was completed in 2022, removing the last major diversion from the railway alignment.
- The former Dawson siding is now a flora reserve.
- Approaching Heyfield, you pass the halfway point of the trail. The path plunges from the easement and travels several hundred metres along quiet Racecourse Rd, overlooking the wetlands reserve, before turning left on Davis St and right into the station precinct.
- The 6.5km to McKinnons Rd has a rougher surface but is suitable for hybrid and cyclocross bikes. The next 3km have an excellent gravel surface.
- From Tinamba the trail has an good surface and features several restored creek crossings.
- As the Macalister River floodplain is approached, the trail leaves the railway alignment due to a large dairy factory. Instead, the trail passes through a delightful wetland and forest on the way into Maffra.
- In Maffra, the service lanes along Johnson St need to be used to get through the CBD and back to the original alignment east of the old station. Take care on the busy road. The old station is still in Railway Place.
Heyfield is a small town but has a hotel with accommodation, cafes, a supermarket and other shops, a wetland, MTB park, and a large timber mill.
Tinamba is a small town with a general store and hotel.
Maffra is a regional centre with many facilities including cafes and restaurants.
Maffra to Stratford (10 km)
- This section is straight and flat.
- Where the Maffra branch line used to join the main one to Bairnsdale there is a steep ramp off the formation to cross Maffra-Stratford Rd, as a rail bridge has been removed.
- Continue alongside the working line to the Princes Hwy, where a shared path takes you across the Avon River road bridge into Stratford and under the highway to Apex Park.
- Note the new railway bridge across the Avon and the old one behind it.
- Continue north on McFarlane St to the station and town centre if desired.
Stratford is a small town with basic visitors’ facilities, including cafes and restaurants.
Enjoying the rail trail near Glengarry 
The long bridge over the Latrobe River near Traralgon 
Walking near the trail head at Traralgon 
Glengarry railway station and its historic hand operated crane 
New bridge across Eaglehawk Creek opened in 2020 [Deb Brown]
Enjoying a meal in Toongabbie [Gippsland Plains Rail Trail CoM 2014]
Cowwarr Artspace in the old butter factory [Gippsland Plains Rail Trail CoM 2014]
Old GY type freight wagon at Cowwarr. These were once ubiquitous on branchlines around Victoria [Carolyn Crossley 2014]
Not quite the Sydney Harbour Bridge but up close the Thomson River bridge is still impressive and a great improvement on the trail trail 
The new Thomson River north of Cowwarr was opened in 2022 completing the rail trail [2022 Gippsland Plains Rail Trail]
Cycling between Heyfield and Dawson [Gippsland Plains Rail Trail CoM 2014]
Heyfield is a great place to stop for all ages 
Views of the Great Dividing Range between Heyfield and Tinamba
Cruising between Heyfield and Tinamba 
Old railway gates at Tinamba 
Wide open dairy country between Tinamba and Maffra [Gippsland Plains Rail Trail CoM 2014]
Bird hide on the Macalister River flats just before Maffra, which utilises the old railway bridge piers [Beth Ripper 2020]
Maffra Billabong trail on the diversion into Maffra [Gippsland Plains Rail Trail CoM 2014]
Maffra railway station is unfortunately not part of the rail trail 
Maffra to Stratford in spring 
Interest from both sides of the fence between Maffra and Stratford (David Blundy 2012)
Stratford railway station, where you can catch the train back to Traralgon and Melbourne [Gippsland Plains Rail Trail CoM 2014]
Great Southern Ride – Leongatha E Bike Hire and Sales
Our retail store is located opposite the start of the Great Southern Rail Trail. We have a fleet of E Bikes for hire, which includes helmet and lock, for riders of all ages, fitness, and abilities.
Half and full day options are available, online bookings
Our retail store has accessories, tubes, tyres, helmets, and E Bikes for sale.
We acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built
Rail Line History
The line from Traralgon to Stratford via Maffra was built in 1883 and served as an alternative route to East Gippsland. It was busy until the 1950s carrying sugar beet from Maffra and timber from Heyfield. In its later years, the main purpose of the line was to serve the dairy industry in the Maffra area. The line closed in stages; from Traralgon to Cowwarr in 1986, then Cowwarr to Maffra in 1994. The rails were removed shortly afterward.
The first section of the rail trail opened in 2005 and it was fully opened in 2014, except for a diversion between Cowwarr and Dawson.
V-Line runs passenger train services from Melbourne to Bairnsdale via Traralgon, Sale and Stratford.
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