- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
Why visit the Great Southern Rail Trail & Tarra Trail?
- Farmlands, 90-metre-high canopies of various species of eucalypts, fungi, wildflowers, lichen, moss, and fern gullies
- A foodies’ paradise, farm gate produce, craft shops and tourist attractions such as the rural town of Yarram further east, Coal Creek Heritage Village and Wilsons Promontory National Park
- A picturesque rail trail close to Melbourne, Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory
- Many major improvements in recent years including the opening of the Black Spur bridges near Koonwarra in March 2016
- Pretty towns and villages with many opportunities to savour local fare, such as Moo’s Cafe at Meeniyan
- a wide, smooth, hard-packed gravel surface and only one crossing of a major road, after Meeniyan
- Take the full 74 km journey or choose shorter segments for a more leisurely outing. Stop and explore the towns linked along the trail with their unique stories and experiences as well as terrific coffee, shopping and dining
Works are in full swing to realign the South Gippsland Highway between Koonwarra and Meeniyan. Temporary barriers have been installed along the trail; though work will largely be behind these barriers, there may be times you will see on the trail. Traffic controllers may stop you briefly to allow machinery and vehicles to cross: please follow signage and instructions. View the full October construction update or for more information on the upgrade, visit the South Gippsland Highway Upgrade webpage.
- Leongatha: Horticultural Park, 1 Young St
- Koonwarra: adjacent to the Koonwarra Café.
- Meeniyan: 10 0m north of the shops off the Nerrena-Meeniyan road
- Buffalo: Picnic area on Neals Rd
- Fish Creek: picnic area on Falls Rd, next to the petrol station
- Foster: 1.5 km south of the town centre on Station Rd
- Toora: Toora Jetty Rd
- Welshpool: Memorial Hall Reserve, South Gippsland Hwy
- Port Welshpool: Port Welshpool Foreshore Reserve, Lewis St
- Yarram: next to the old railway station site
- Port Albert: Port Albert Jetty
There are toilets at all towns listed in the Access Points below
Leongatha-Meeniyan (16 km)
- From Leongatha to Koonwarra the trail descends gently to the dairy farming country for which this area is renowned. Give way to dairy cattle crossing the trail!
- near Koonwarra the trail enters ti-tree and eucalypt bushland, including seasonal and permanent wetlands
- at Koonwarra, an underpass goes beneath the highway before entering one of the most scenic sections around the Black Spur with its two historic bridges
- check out the even longer old timber railway bridge alongside the new bridge over Tarwin River near Meeniyan
Leongatha is a major regional centre with all facilities.
Koonwarra has a general store and bakery, ideal for an intermediate break.
Meeniyan is a small town but its exceptional facilities include accommodation, shops, a gallery and many dining options. A recent Gippsland Tourism Town of Excellence Award winner, Meeniyan has an involved and progressive community and offers free wi-fi throughout the town.
Meeniyan-Hoddle Range-Foster (32 km)
Here the railway began a long diversion south to Fish Creek to avoid the highest part of the Hoddle Range.
- The trail passes through lowland forest
- From Stony Creek to Buffalo the trail is undulating. Just over 2 km from Stony Creek on the left are the remains of a rail motor stopping place used for local passengers and small freight. Grey kangaroos, wallabies and many bird species are common sights here
- There is a functioning weighbridge at Buffalo railway station that will be the nucleus of a future museum
- The trail then enters the foothills of the Hoddle Range. Several cuttings and embankments provide changing views
- At Fish Creek the former freight sidings are now a parking area but the station platform remains. Note the fish-shaped tables in the picnic shelter
- From Fish Creek the trail climbs for 6 km to Hoddle Summit, named after Robert Hoddle, Victoria’s first Surveyor-General. It crosses the summit at an elevation of 140 m just past Lowrys Rd.
- Descending from the hills there are spectacular views of Corner Inlet, the Strzelecki Range to the north and the mountains of Wilsons Promontory to the southeast
- Only a platform remains at Foster station site but there are plans to make it a community feature. Follow Station Rd for 1 km to the town centre
The artistic village of Fish Creek has an old butter factory, book and antique stores, the Promontory Hotel and plenty of places to eat.
A kilometre or so before Foster is Gurneys Cider Cafe on the north side of the trail.
Foster is a larger town and has facilities for visitors enjoying the spectacular sea views.
Foster-Toora-Welshpool (19 km)
The trail from here is flat and relatively straight, through lush dairy country interspersed with eucalypts around watercourses.
- The biggest feature of this section is the wind turbines on the hill behind Toora
- Toora station precinct has a park and skateboard ramp
- Toora has a supermarket, swimming pool, caravan park, motel, hotel, cafes and restaurants
- Welshpool is a small town with limited facilities
Welshpool-Port Welshpool connecting trail (5 km)
From Welshpool, is a connecting trail to the coast is initially an off-road bike path, then joins a quiet unsealed road which follows the alignment of the former horse-drawn Port Welshpool Tramway.
Enjoy views of Corner Inlet, Snake Island and the northern section of Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Alberton-Yarram: “The Tarra Trail” (7 km)
Another short section of trail has been developed between Yarram and Alberton. The old railway line once went from Foster to Alberton and then split, reaching Yarram and Port Albert.
- The trail follows the old railway alignment for 6.5 km. This is signposted as the Tarra Trail
- The trail starts as a bike path on the west side of the main road through Alberton and ends just north of the Yarram Station building
- It is also possible to ride via either of two roads to Port Albert, the original gateway to the Goldfields, which features many historic buildings
- There are plans to extend the trail to Port Albert
- Parks include Memorial Hall Reserve at Welshpool, Port Welshpool, Foreshore Reserve in Lewis St, adjacent to the site of the old railway station in Yarram, and at Port Albert Jetty
We acknowledge the Gunnai, Bun Wurrung and Wurundjeri people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
Development and future of the rail trail
The first section of the trail between Leongatha and Koonwarra opened in 1998 and was gradually extended to Foster. Following the expiration of a 10-year moratorium the trail was extended from Foster to Toora, then on to Welshpool in 2014.
In 2016, the Victorian Government and the South Gippsland Shire Council completed a $1.8 m project to bridge the gap between Koonwarra and Meeniyan. This picturesque section contains three long timber bridges.
The Great Southern Railway took five years to build and opened in 1892. It initially joined Dandenong to Port Albert, and was later extended to Yarram and Woodside; there were also branch-lines to Outtrim and Wonthaggi.
The last ran to Yarram in 1987 and the last train beyond Leongatha ran in 1992. The line from Cranbourne to Leongatha was closed in 1993. Unfortunately, while several governments looked at reopening the V Line passenger service to Leongatha this did not happened and in 2012 several kilometres or rail were removed at Koo Wee Rup and a short rail trail constructed there.
Typical Scenery between Fish Creek and Hoddle (2014)
One of three bridges near Koonwarra (2016)
The wind turbines are a real feature near Toora. (2016)
The short climb up to Leongatha is almost over. (2016)
Summer riding between Leongatha and Koonwarra (2016)
Another of the three bridges near Koonwarra (2016)
The original railway and new rail trail bridges over the Tarwin River in flood, near Meeniyan (2013)
Buffalo station site (2016)
Riding through Buffalo (2014)
The trail goes behind the old Fish Creek station site (2016)
Coffee time at Fish Creek
The view across to Wilsons Promotory from the Hoddle Range even stops around the world travellers (Kylie Phaup-Stephens, 2010)
The scenery between Foster and Toora (2014)
Franklin River bridge between Foster and Toora (2013)
Toora station site and Saggaser Park are quite a feature (2013)
There are plans to extend the rail trail into the Leongatha station now that the tourist railway has ceased operation. The VLine bus also uses the station. (2016)
Tarra Trail near the southern end. (2015)Photo: Steve Bennett
Tarra Trail north of the highway crossing at Alberton. (2015)Photo: Steve Bennett
The old Yarram Station building. (2015)Photo: Steve Bennett
Linen on Loan
Quality Linen Hire for Accommodation and Holiday Rentals. We offer ‘Bed Linen Pack’ hire service available in all bed sizes, including complimentary bath towels, with free delivery and pick up and one fee covering your hire for up to fourteen days.
Great Southern Ride
Located directly opposite the start of the GSRT in Leongatha. GSR has a fleet of Ebikes for hire, encouraging visitors to South Gippsland and locals to ride the amazing diamond, the GSRT. Bike servicing, parts, kids bikes, and accessories are available in the Bike Store to support all bike riders.
Snowy River Cycling
Rail Trail services including bike hire, return transport, luggage transfers and accommodation
Moo’s at Meeniyan
A restaurant and cafe located in the picturesque township of Meeniyan, South Gippsland, just 10 minutes from Leongatha and 1.5 hours from Melbourne. Enjoy a break on your way to Wilsons Prom, with great coffee, locals wines, yummy meals and local produce.
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.
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