Trail Open

Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail

Victoria - West

3.1 based on 10 reviews
Location: 286km west of Melbourne
Length: 22 km
Surface: Coarse gravel
Start / End: Hamilton to Coleraine
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • WalkingWalking

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

DETAILS

Why visit the Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail?

  • 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

Attractions

  • Enjoy Hamilton’s botanic gardens, art gallery and Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum
  • Explore Wannon and Nigretta 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)

Trail Guide

  • Hamilton to Wannon is 11 km and meanders through red gum country and past operating farms
  • Wannon to Coleraine, also 11 km, 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.

Section Guides

  • The two sections of trail are separated by around 5 km. Use the Wannon-Nigretta Falls road and Glenelg Hwy between the sections – take  care riding on the busy highway
  • The trail best suits mountain bikes, but can accommodate hybrid bikes if there hasn’t been heavy rain
  • The trail is served by a V-Line coach that stops at Hamilton and Coleraine

Hamilton to Wannon (11 km)

  • The trail begins about 2 km northwest of Hamilton on Balkins Rd
  • This section finishes at the Wannon-Nigretta Falls road. The Wannon Falls railway bridge is visible from the road, but cannot be crossed
  • To rejoin the trail, follow the road about 2 km south to Wannon Falls and ride along Glenelg Hwy about 3 km west toward Coleraine; the trail is on the right at a gate marked Grasslands Trail
  • Free camping available at Wannon Falls

Wannon to Coleraine (11 km)

  • The trail from Wannon to Coleraine begins about 3 km west of Wannon, and  finishes on the eastern outskirts of the township of Coleraine

Background Information

Traditional owners

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.

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.

Railway history

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.

PHOTOS

SERVICES

No services listed for this rail trail.

Advertise your Business Here

Click here for information on advertising your rail trail support business.

REVIEWS

Leave a Review

You must be logged in to post a review.

10 reviews of “Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail”

For cyclists this track is at present a story of the good, the bad and the ugly. I rode this trail on Sunday and was disappointed to not see one other person on the trail. This may be because at the more populated Hamilton end it starts in the middle of nowhere and you really have to know what you are looking for. The other issue with all sections of this track for a cyclist is that there are probably at least 25 gates on the Hamilton end and 15 on the Coleraine end.
From the end in a small country road outside Hamilton to just short of Wannon the track is in generally good condition although there are quite a lot of branches and a few downed trees across the trail.The trail ends as the bridge outside Wannon has not yet been restored.
You can take the road in to Wannon and look ride back up the track towards the bridge if you have have a mountain bike. It is undeveloped but rideable.
The next section short between Wannon and Coleraine is a loop West of the Glenelg highway. It is undeveloped and to all intents and purposes cannot be ridden due to large amounts of prickle bushes.
Probably OK for a hiker with the right clothes including high boots and gaiters.
The section form Coleraine back towards Wannon is best tackled from the Coleraine end and is definitely Mountain Bike territory. The reason is when riding out of coleraine the grader has braken through the base at various points creating deep rutting. From Toolang Rd back to the Glenelg Hwy you are riding on basically an old railway bed that has not yet been developed. Worth riding if you dont mind a few bumps.
If the committee could get some more funding to fully develop this track right in to Hamilton it would be a great tourist attraction as the countryside in the area is beautiful particularly the drop off the plateau in to Coleraine.

By the way – the track is not closed – even if its status is recorded as that on this site – it is just under development with some sections easily managed and others requiring a little bit of patience. Fortunately there is a new committee of management whose members are committed to progressing this trail. It is truly a beautiful part of the world offering a variety of vistas and ought to be enjoyed by lovers of the natural as well as the agricultural landscape. I understand there is to soon be a dedicated website for this trail detailing specific information for each section.

I love this section of Australia’s volcanic plains with the red gum trees, native grasses, and the rich flora and fauna along the trail. Although I have cycled the complete trail between Balkins Rd to the Wannon Falls in November and in February to enjoy the birds and the native plants in flower, my preferred way of enjoying the trail is to visit various specific sections for what they offer. I particularly enjoy walking the sections east and west of S Reeds Rd between Hamilton and the Wannon. As a local I can enjoy multiple visits, but would suggest that visitors either camp at the Wannon (or in Hamilton) for a few days and make small trips to the different sections. And then go to Coleraine to explore the section of track that Coleraine residents have been working over the past few years – they have done a marvellous job to make the track accessible for walkers and cyclists for great views down over the valley – then settle into Coleraine to enjoy the hospitality at the new cafe The Catching Pen

Section 4 of this trail from Russels Rd to South Reeds Rd is in reasonably good nick but there are three locations where sizeable trees fave fallen across the track, The bridge over the Sandy Creek is signed “No Access” but was the only way over because the creek was high. From South Reeds Rd (Section 5) the surface of the track becomes bumpy and overgrown but I was able to ride the entire length by following kangaroo/wallaby runs. There is one fence without proper gate access. You can walk from the Wannon-Nigretta Falls Rd to the rail bridge over the Wannon. I wouldn’t try biking it because the track is very rough and overgrown with thorny wattle. The bridge is worth a look but is signed “Strictly No Access” with good reason. I took a few photos you can access at https://www.flickr.com/gp/152590260@N04/62uJfM. All in all this is a lovely ride through gorgeous country. Some minor maintenance on stages 4 and 5 of the track would improve it greatly for bike riding.

Rode this trail from Balkins Rd crossing to Russells Rd crossing on Sept 28. The track is in excellent condition; ideal for mountain or hybrid type bicycles. There is a boardwalk crossing over McKinnon Creek. The countryside is beautiful with large redgums a prominent feature. Pity one cannot stop to boil a billy as campfires are prohibited on the reserve. Saw a large mob of eastern greys with some males of imposing stature. Birdlife is plentiful with sulphur crested cockatoos and crimson rosellas the most numerous. Looking forward to completing the next section of the trail from Russells Rd to Wannon in the near future.

Rode my mountain bike from Hamilton to Wannon-Nigretta Falls Rd Oct 2014. Just so long as you are happy to go through some gates and put the bike over the fence a couple of times it is a good ride. There is one point where you have to walk through a short section of marshy ground but otherwise the trail is mostly well graded gravel. I tried to go past the Nigretta rd and it is bone-shakingly rough (sleepers removed, not graded) and dont even think about crossing the very dangerous bridge. Turned back and took the opportunity to ride to Nigretta falls. All in all great fun.

I am looking forward to the development of this local rail trail, an asset that is sadly missing in our community. Look forward to helping. thanks and keep up the good work

Anyone interested in walking sections of this 34km trail, can contact Secretary 0427 752 246, minilya9@bigpond.net.au for advice. We now have a ride-on slasher and have slashed quite a bit of the trail – wherever the introduced grasses were a nuisance. This will happen more regularly now that we have our own equipment.
This is a high conservation reserve, and we do ask you to leave dogs at home – this is also an area of concern for adjacent landholders with sheep. Also, on fire-ban days, we would not encourage walkers – apart from fire danger concerns, it would be unpleasantly hot.
Apart from those two matters, if you are up for a walk on a less developed track, go for it – fantastic views, lots of cross-roads where you can leave a vehicle, etc. We can email a pdf of our Management Plan – it has maps and track description.
Coralie Coulson, Secretary, Hamilton-Coleraine Rail Reserve Committee Inc.

Although still under development there are some very pleasant walks to be had along sections of this rail trail. Some great geocaches to be found too.

Keep up the great work guys.

NEWS

Celebrating the improvements to the Hamilton-Coleraine Rail Reserve in Western Victoria

Posted: 18/10/19

Improvements to the Rail Reserve leading down the hill to Coleraine will be celebrated via ...

More...

A Day on the Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail (VIC)

Posted: 04/02/13

A DAY ON THE RAIL RESERVE EVENT: cycling and walking between Hamilton & Wannon on ...

More...

Nearby Trails

Casterton to Branxholme Rail Trail

Casterton to Branxholme Rail Trail

South Western Victoria in the vicinity of Hamilton

 
Grampians Rail Trail

Grampians Rail Trail

233km north west of Melbourne

11 km
Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail

Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail

260km southwest of Melbourne

38 km

Nearby Trails