- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
- One of Australia’s best known and most popular regional rail trails
- The perfect introduction to northeast Victoria’s mountains, farmland, history, gourmet produce and wines
- The entire rail trail is sealed, and mostly flat apart from the Everton to Beechworth section
- Nearby Milawa gourmet region, with an off-road trail between Milawa and Oxley
- Short side trips to Eldorado, Milawa, Lake Buffalo, Mt Buffalo, Stanley and Wandiligong
- Renowned Rutherglen winery region
- Historic Beechworth and its buildings
- Bright’s autumn colours and alpine scenery
The Murray to Mountains Trail consists of three trails:
- The Mountain section from Wangaratta to Bright and Beechworth is 97 km long and follows the picturesque Ovens Valley, which produces hops, berries, nuts and grapes
- The Murray section from Rutherglen to Wahgunyah is 9 km long across this famous wine-producing area
- The Heritage section from Wangaratta to Oxley is 9 km long, basically flat and crosses farmland as it heads toward the gourmet region of Milawa
- Wangaratta, Beechworth, Myrtleford and Bright are Major towns with all services
Wangaratta Station to Bowser (8 km)
The rail line to Bright left the main Melbourne to Albury line at Bowser. A network of pathways, levee banks and disused roads is now used to reach Bowser.
- Follow the signs from Wangaratta Station to the trailhead at Apex Park next to the Ovens River
- From the park, a pathway runs beneath the road and on to a flood levee bank before paralleling the Wangaratta to Bowser road, which has the first of several rest areas with a steam locomotive theme.
Bowser to Everton station (18 km)
- The trail now crosses flat farmland with distant views of the Everton Hills
- After 11 km the site of Tarrawingee station is reached and the trail climbs gently to the Everton station site, formerly a junction to Beechworth or Bright
- It’s also a junction for the trail to Beechworth heads off to the left; Myrtleford and Bright are to the right
At the Wangaratta-Eldorado road, cyclists can make an on-road diversion to the impressive Cock’s dredge at Eldorado, returning to the trail on the Eldorado-Tarrawingee road (18 km round trip).
Everton station site to Beechworth (16 km)
- This section is peaceful and attractive with a mixture of bush and farmland. This has one of the steepest grades that were allowed for a broad gauge branch line, so some may find the gradual climb challenging
- The last section is a gentle descent to the old Beechworth station. Turn left at Albert St and follow it into town or continue on to the Lake Sambell Reserve trail and Chinese Gardens
Historic Beechworth has many attractions, with many festivals and events throughout the year.
Everton station site to Myrtleford (26 km)
- This section undulates through farmland and native bushland to Taylors Gap (where the original cutting here has been filled in to improve the Great Alpine Rd) before beginning descent into Myrtleford
- At Myrtleford much of the railway easement has been sold; follow the Rail Trail signs through town
Myrtleford has plenty of accommodation and facilities
Myrtleford to Bright (30 km)
- The trail rejoins the original alignment at Jones Reserve, then rises at a gentle continuous grade as it follows the Ovens Valley to Bright. Mt Buffalo looms on the right and the high country approaches in front.
- Farms growing berries and grapes may tempt you to make a detour to taste their wares
- At Porepunkah the trail passes beneath the highway bridge. Take a dip in the nearby Ovens River if the day is warm enough. The trail follows the Back Porepunkah road and returns to the railway corridor
- The end of the rail trail is the old Bright railway station, now a museum open on Sundays or by arrangement
Bright is also a very popular tourist town with its proximity to the alpine area.
Rutherglen to Wahgunyah (8 km)
- The station at Rutherglen is easy to find; look for the wheat silos behind the historic main street
- The trail traverses vineyards and farmlands to Wahgunyah, signalled by the large Uncle Toby’s production centre
- At Wahgunyah some of the track has been left in place for possible use by the local rail heritage group. The trail finishes alongside the Murray River
Both Rutherglen and Corowa/Wahgunyah are well set up to cater for visitors.
Bowser to Rutherglen on-road link (42 km)
- For those keen to ride between the main rail trail at Bowser and Rutherglen, an on-road option is shown on the map
- All roads are 100 km/h and have no shoulders. Bowser to Springhurst is lightly trafficked service roads, Springhurst to Rutherglen has regular traffic. Note when turning off the rail trail at Bowser, Morrison’s Rd is unsealed; Byawatha Rd 400 m further is sealed.
- To go via Chiltern and have a bakery stop is more than 20 km further. At Springhurst overpass continue straight on Gayfers Rd, then turn right at the T-intersection to a bitumen road then left on to a gravel road past a few farms to the Horns Access road. Turn left into a tunnel beneath the highway, then over the railway and on to Racecourse Rd and follow the signs into Chiltern. Follow the blue signs featuring R for Rutherglen and follow the Old Howlong road and Cornishtown Rd into Rutherglen, a total distance of close to 70 km
Wangaratta to Oxley (9 km)
- The formal rail trail begins next to Targoora Park Recreation Reserve and travels along the old rail line in the Wangaratta to Whitfield Road reserve,
- Before reaching the Hume Freeway, the path crosses to the east side of the road reserve to pass beneath the Freeway adjacent to King River
- after rejoining the road reserve the trail crosses to the west side and continues to (and crosses) the Glenrowan to Myrtleford road, the current terminus of the rail trail
- A shared path continues by crossing the Wangaratta to Whitfield road and proceeds adjacent to the road to Oxley and Milawa townships.
We acknowledge the Waveroo people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
Development and future of the rail trail
The 31 km extension of the rail trail from Beechworth to Yackandandah is scheduled to open late in 2021.
Construction of the rail trail began at Bright in 1993, and finished in 2002 with the opening of sections to Wangaratta and Beechworth.
The trail between Rutherglen and Wahgunyah on the Murray was completed in 2009.
The Wangaratta to Oxley section of the trail opened in 2011, providing tourism links with the Oxley and Milawa regions. Extension of the rail trail toward Whitfield is also planned.
Rail Line History
The branch line from Bowser (Wangaratta) to Everton and Beechworth opened in 1875 and was extended to Yackandandah in 1891. A second branch line was built from Everton to Myrtleford in 1883 and extended to Bright in 1890. Everton was once an important regional railway junction, but little evidence of it remains today. The line from Beechworth to Yackandandah closed in 1956 and the last train to Beechworth ran in 1977.
Beechworth, originally known as Mayday Hills, was a major gold mining centre in the 1850s. You can explore traces of this activity at Woolshed Falls, the Gorge Scenic Drive and the Old Powder Magazine. Beechworth Historic Park surrounding the town has unusual cypress-pine/box woodland and box-leaf wattle.
The line to Bright was popular in the early 20th century with tourists visiting the picturesque town of Bright and Mt Buffalo Chalet, built and owned by Victorian Railways. The line closed completely closed back to Bowser in 1987.
The line from Springhurst to Wahgunyah opened in 1879. Passenger services ended in 1962, and goods services closed in 1995.
The original King Valley rail route, 49 km from Wangaratta to Whitfield, was Victoria’s original narrow gauge line. The line opened in 1899 and closed in 1953.
The scenery near Eurobin (2008)
Spring on the rail trail near Beechworth
Streaming along between Rutherglen and Wahgunyah (2010)
Shelter with the theme of a train at Bowser (2009)
Looking over Mt Buffalo near Everton (2008)
Eurobin with snow covered Mt Feathertop in the background (2012)
Having a break at Porepunkah in the late Autumn (Greg Hutchison 2013)
Approaching Bright thorugh the Spring blossoms (2005)
Bright station in late Autumn (Greg Hutchison 2013)
Coasting down from Beechworth (Andrew Graham 2006))
Emergency marker and the history of bikes at Beechworth Railway Station (Jeff Adair 2011)
Corowa Whiskey and Chocolate (2018)
Rutherglen Station (2010)
Approaching Rutherglen (2010)
Wahgunyah end of the rail trail (2009)
Cofields Winery in Wahgunyah (2018)
Riding between Wangaratta and Oxley (2011)
Replica of the waiting room at the end of the former narrow gauge line. (2004)
AllTrails Bicycle Tours
AllTrails Bicycle Tours have been running multi-day cycle tours around Victoria and across the country for nearly 25 years and once again in 2022 we return to the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. This group tour takes in three of the best trails in Victoria (High Country, Great Vic and Murray to Mountains) – a wonderful way to see multiple trails with full support and great accommodation, all with minimal effort and organisation on your part.
Rock & Road Cycles (Wangaratta) – Offers bike hire and transfers
Tel: (03) 5721 4744 Website: www.rockandroadcycles.com.au
The Bike Hire Company (Beechworth) – Offers bike hire and transfers
Tel: 0400 345 648 Website: www.thebikehirecompany.com.au
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