- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential RT
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rewards walkers and cyclists with a sense of adventure
- Two distinct landscapes: Hamilton to Wannon section runs through attractive red gum country, Wannon to Coleraine section passes rolling hills, wetlands and low native shrubs
- Wannon and Nigretta Falls can be visited on a local road between the two sections
- The adventurous can mountain bike or walk from Hamilton to Coleraine using a temporary trail to join the sections of rail trail.
- Enjoy Hamilton’s botanic gardens, art gallery and Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum
- Explore Wannon and Nigretta Falls. Free camping is allowed at Wannon Falls.
- Visit Coleraine’s Classic Cars museum, Points Arboretum (the largest collection of eucalypts in the Southern Hemisphere), chocolate factory and restored railway station (now the Visitor Information Centre)
Last updated: 16 January 2023
- Hamilton to Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road is 11 km and meanders through red gum country and past operating farms.
- Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road to Glenelg Highway is 2km and is partially an “other trail” that follows the Wannon River rather than the original rail trail alignment.
- Glenelg Highway to Glenelg Highway is 5.5km and is under further development. This section is subject to flooding.
- Wannon to Coleraine, is 11 km and provides open vistas through a linear nature reserve with wetlands.
The major town of Hamilton has a wide range of facilities while Coleraine provides basic food and accommodation.
Hamilton to Wannon-Nigretta Road (11 km)
- This section of the trail begins about 2 km northwest of Hamilton on Balkins Rd
- This section finishes at the Wannon-Nigretta Falls road.
If you do not wish to undertake the next two sections, to rejoin the trail, follow the road 1.1 km south to Wannon Falls and ride along Glenelg Hwy about 3 km west towards Coleraine; the trail is on the right at a gate marked “Grasslands Trail”. Please beware of traffic on the highway as there is not much shoulder.
- Free camping is available at Wannon Falls
Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road to Glenelg Highway (2km)
- This section of the trail is only suitable for walkers and mountain bike riders who enjoy an adventure. Please note the trail is in close proximity of the Wannon River and children should be closely supervised in this area.
- Join the trail on Wannon-Nigretta Falls Road, 1.1km north of the Glenelg Highway (near the Wannon Falls reserve)
- 500 metres west along the trail, you will find the Wannon River Rail Bridge. At this point the trail leaves the original rail alignment on the left hand side of the bridge and follows the Wannon River bank for approximately 1km to Quigley’s Road.
- At Quigley’s Road, cross the Wannon Bridge 1917 designed by Sir John Monash.
- After 200 metres, turn left to rejoin the original rail alignment past the Scout Camp. You will meet the Glenelg Highway after another 200 metres.
Glenelg Highway to Glenelg Highway (5.5km)
- This section of the trail is only suitable for walkers and mountain bike riders who enjoy an adventure. It is subject to flooding.
- Cross the Glenelg Highway and follow the rail trail alignment (that follows a “hockey stick” alignment) for approximately 5.5km to meet the Glenelg Highway again.
Glenelg Highway to Coleraine (11 km)
- This section of the trail begins about 3 km west of Wannon, and finishes on the eastern outskirts of the township of Coleraine opposite East Park on the Glenelg Highway.
- The trail features extensive valley views, native grasslands and wetlands.
A group ride passing through a cutting [📷Sally McLaren Photography 2022]
Wannon Falls are worth a visit (2019)
Between Bochara station site and Nigretta Rd (2011)
The trail surface has been improved recently (Coralie Coulson 2019)
Between Macdonald's Rd and Glenelg Highway (2011)
Bochara Station site near Macdonalds Rd (2011)
Signage near Russells Rd (2011)
Leaving Nigretta Rd, heading towards Hamilton (2011)
West of Baulch's Rd (2011)
Descending from the plateau into Coleraine (Coralie Coulson 2015)
The view from the rail trail near Coleraine. (2019)
The rail trail at the highway crossing at Coleraine. This section is really only for walkers at this stage (2019)
The Casterton Wattle (Acacia exudans) is found only at some local sites and is regenerating on the rail trail. (Coralie Coulson 2019)
Coleraine station (2019)
We acknowledge the Gunditjmara people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
Development and future of the rail trail
The rail trail will be around 34 km long when it is finished. Stage One, from Balkins Rd on the outskirts of Hamilton to Bochara Railway Station was developed in 2013 following a grant from the Southern Grampians Shire and the Wannon Conservation Society. There are currently a number of gates to close along the way, but the Committee of Management is working on a project to reconfigure problem crossings.
Stage Two from Wannon to Coleraine opened in September 2021.
The missing link in the trail features the Wannon River railway bridge, which will require further investment to bring up to a standard for safe carrying riders and pedestrians. For now, there is a temporary trail connecting existing the sections of rail trail.
The Committee of Management regularly slashes the trail to keep weeds under control and with the help of locals and organisations has planted many trees over the past 20 years.
Rail Trails Australia has written to Southern Grampians Shire asking it support the trail by improvements such as signs on main roads, carparks at trailheads and a maintenance budget to support the Committee of Management.
The line opened in 1888, initially with two trains a day carrying wool, skins, butter and passengers. Stations were at Bochara, Wannon, Hilgay (later Parkwood) and Coleraine.
The main reason for its construction was to bring more railway traffic to Hamilton, where it deviated off the main line. It has been said Hamiltonians were bitter about the Casterton line and that its junction faced south toward Portland so that a southbound train to Casterton would have to turn at Branxholme. This junction began as a simple one with one line branching off, but later grew with the opening of the Warrnambool line in 1890 and then the Locomotive Depot in 1929. In 1961 Hamilton Saleyards also received a siding.
In 1893 all the stations on the line excluding Coleraine became whistle stops.
Mixed passenger-goods trains to Coleraine ceased in 1952 and the line closed in 1977.
An impressive turnout of riders came together to ride the Hamilton - Coleraine Rail Trail. ...More...
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