- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
Riding between Hamilton and Wannon in summer (2013)
Wannon Falls are worth a visit (2019)
Coleraine station (2019)
Between Bochara station site and Nigretta Rd (2011)
The trestle bridge over the Grange Burn near Hamilton. It is not accessed by the trail at this time. (2010)
The trail surface has been improved recently (Coralie Coulson 2019)
Between Macdonald's Rdand 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)
No services listed for this rail trail.
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