Trail Open

Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail

Victoria - West

3.9 based on 21 reviews
Location: 260km southwest of Melbourne
Length: 38 km
Surface: Sealed
Start / End: Port Fairy to Warrnambool
Public Transport: Coach, Train
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • Horse RidingHorse Riding
  • PramsPrams
  • Scooters and Inline SkatesScooters and Inline Skates
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The trail crosses undulating farmland and wetlands next to the Southern Ocean
  • Begins at Moyne River in Port Fairy, meanders through the historic village of Koroit and finishes at Warrnambool’s foreshore precinct
  • Cycle the length of the trail in a brisk two or a leisurely four hours each way
  • Takes in the rolling countryside for which the region is famous, with ocean glimpses near the Warrnambool end of the trail

Attractions

  • Port Fairy is a charming coastal village with many historic buildings
  • Visit the small Irish heritage township of Koroit and Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
  • Warrnambool has many attractions including Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, beaches, whale-watching and Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground
  • Country markets in Warrnambool and Port Fairy

Trail Guide

The main sections of the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail are:

  • Port Fairy to Koroit is 18 km and ascends gently through farmland and native vegetation
  • Koroit to Warrnambool is 20 km, skirting around Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve and passing through wetlands on the edge of the Southern Ocean

Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Koroit all have a wide range of facilities.

Section Guides

  • The trail starts at Regent St in Port Fairy
  • After leaving Port Fairy it skirts the northern side of an extinct volcano that last erupted around  25,000 years ago – now Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. The crater is home to native animals and has many walking tracks.
  • From the highway to Warrnambool the trail does not follow the original alignment
  • Signage for the trail is deficient at the Warrnambool end
  • Horses are permitted beside the trail only between Commercial Rd (or the Penshurst/Warrnambool road), Koroit and Illowa, then down Illowa Rd to Millers Lane and on to Levys Point track. Horses are not permitted between Port Fairy and Koroit, or along the Merri Creek to Warrnambool.

Port Fairy to Koroit (18 km)

  • Sealed for 1.5 km as it leaves town
  • After crossing Princes Hwy, the trail passes through farmland before arriving at the old Koroit station, which is being restored. Koroit has refreshments and toilets.

Koroit to Warrnambool (20 km)

  • The first 5 km travels southeast toward Princes Hwy, where an underpass has been built. At Lanes Lane, just before the highway, you travel west along the lane to the underpass

The next 9km passes through the Kellys swamp wetlands toward Levys Point. Riders should check for any floodwaters after heavy rain

  • As you pass beneath the highway you travel along Illowa Rd, which has been fenced to provide separation from traffic, and turn right into Millers Lane
  • At the top of the lane the path continues on the right side of the horse-riding school, and downhill across the boardwalk over Kellys Swamp
  • The trail continues on a dirt road past the knackery to Levys Point
  • The last section winds 6 km along Merri River to the breakwater in Warrnambool
  • The section between Illowa and Warrnambool is not on the original railway alignment. Signage is minimal
  • The pedestrian and bicycle crossing across the railway line at the Warrnambool trailhead is closed. For access to Warrnambool CBD or to the rail trail from Warrnambool Station, detour via Pertobe Rd or Harris St. Neither route is cycle friendly, and user groups are lobbying Victrack to reopen the crossing.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Gunditjmara people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway history

The line opened in 1890 and cropping farmers were pleased to be able to send their produce to Geelong by train, rather than by ship from the ports of Warrnambool and Port Fairy (then known as Belfast). The area grew wheat, oats, malting, peas and beans, potatoes, turnips, hay and grasses. Special trains ran to the seaside towns for picnics and excursions.

The line closed in 1977.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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22 reviews of “Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail”

I would highly recommend the Koroit to Port Fairy portion of the rail trail, very well maintained with spectacular scenery. I can also highly recommend a few nights stay at Mickey Bourke’s Koroit Hotel to align visitors with the unique irish heritage of the area.

Feb 2020 to go to the Jazz Festival I caught the train to Warnambool station hoping get to Port Fairy but found the railway service had been closed since the 1970’s due to lack of patronage. I couldn’t find any information about the RT from V/Line (suggestion) so cycled in the general direction until I found the tunnel under the highway. Great work all the way to Port Fairy and came back five days later. My only concern on return was before the knackery, the overgrown vegetation blocking any views of on coming traffic on the shared dirt track. Thanks to all the volunteers for your efforts.

No, rail trails are not 'silly'. Rail Trails offer a way for people to ride from the main rail terminus to other towns. Port Fairy already has a bus service connecting with the V/Line train at Warrnambool. Perhaps you should get a bike and try for yourself.

21/27. The plan was to have a break over the winter to reduce the chance of crappy weather spoiling the beautiful rural railtrails. Well, that didn’t quite work out!
Port Fairy to Warrnambool Trail is through prime dairy grazing land between 2 beautiful country towns, and passes through another lovely town Koroit. Next time I will detour and go to the lookout over Tower Hill.
The weather forecast was poor but I was lucky to have the strong wind at my back pushing me along. I was able to dodge most of the showers too. My tip for future riders is to take note of the wind direction and go with it. I passed a few people going the other way and they were struggling.
I had to negotiate my way through a couple of cow herds heading off to milking, but that is all part of riding in the country. I was even able to ride through Kelly’s Swamp which is notorious for flooding.
Credit to the managers of the trail for the clear separation of track and road on those parts that follow the road. I really appreciated it particularly at the time as it was raining and very dull.
However the signage through the streets at the Warrnambool end needs improving.
No 21 completed! You can follow all my railtrail rides on FB Warwick Duncan – The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides

Rode this trail in under a day. Excellent wayfinding (other than at each trailhead) and very-well maintained surface. Did the trail with 27-inch tyres on an urban bike with no suspension with no problems. There are lots of interesting places to stop along the way and many of the old railway remnants have been restored very nicely. A short detour that I can highly recommend is through Koroit to a lookout that gives spectacular views over Tower Hill. It’s only about 15 minutes riding but is well worth the extra time. Koroit Station is also a lovely place to stop with picnic tables, drinking fountains and toilets. Be aware of strong headwinds on the way into Port Fairy (heading west) on days of inclement weather due to the flat topography and lack of vegetation.

December 30, 2017. My husband and I rode the trail from Port Fairy to Warrnambool and back again in one day. The biggest ride we have done so far. I ride a road bike quite often, but for my 72 year old husband this was huge. We both rode the trail on hybrids and they were fine. The trail from Port Fairy to Koriot was great. Quite flat and easy going. The second half on to Warrnambool is more hilly and, in places, quite rugged. However, we managed it. Be aware the signage in Warrnambool is terrible. We got a bit lost and had to use Google maps to find our way. However, we had a great time and are feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves.

December 30, 2017. My husband and I rode the trail from Port Fairy to Warrnambool and back again in one day. The biggest ride we have done so far. I ride a road bike quite often, but for my 72 year old husband this was huge. We both rode the trail on hybrids and they were fine. The trail from Port Fairy to Koriot was great. Quite flat and easy going. The second half on to Warrnambool is more hilly and, in places, quite rugged. However, we managed it. Be aware the signage in Warrnambool is terrible. We got a bit lost and had to use Google maps to find our way. However, we had a great time and are feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves.

Just rode this from Warrnambool to Port Fairy yesterday then back to Warrnambool today. Koroit station & yard was very well kept (and the local volunteers were even mowing the grass as I rode through today). The locals told me that it has been very dry in the area so there has been some cracking and there are patches of rough gravel in parts of the trail in the last few unpaved kilometres before you get to the Glaxo Siding on the outskirts of Port Fairy (so if you’re a non-MTB cyclist, do take a bit more care along there) but work to remedy these problems was also evident. If you are cycling this trail, there are large sections without much cover and you may well be reminded that Mr Wind is rarely your friend… Port Fairy is also fairly cycle friendly so do allow yourself some time to enjoy the town too. All in all, a very enjoyable ride and I’ll be back!

What a magnificent rail trail! We rode this trail over this past weekend, from Warrnambool to Port Fairy on Saturday and back to Warrnambool on Sunday, staying overnight in the delightful town of Port Fairy. The trail is well marked with large yellow arrows (although it would be good to have some more distance markers in place) and traverses a range of scenic areas. The highlight was a detour to Tower Hill and visiting the extinct volcano there with emu’s on the plains. Fortunately we had very little (if any) headwinds — excellent riding weather certainly helped to make this a memorable ride.

This RT was the main reason for a recent trip to Western Victoria, and we have given it a 5 star rating.
Here is an idea for those visiting the area and wanting to ride the trail from end to end. We set our camper up at the very pleasant Koroit Caravan Park. On day one, we rode in to Warrnambool, had a relaxed look around the waterfront, a pleasant pub lunch in the CBD and an afternoon ride back to our Koroit base.
On day 2 we rode in to Port Fairy, enjoyed a few hours there taking in the sites, the Saturday Market and as a bonus were there on the same day as a large number of beautifully restored motor vehicles (all 100+ years old)were on display. As luck would have it, we rode back to Koroit in record time, thanks to a very strong tail wind.
The only negative on this great RT was having to ride past the Warrnambool knackery at Levy’s Point. I’m not sure how it could be done, but a different alignment here would be appropriate.
Once again, congratulations to all the volunteers who do so much to make their RT attractive for oldies like us who have come from afar to enjoy.
Hint: look closely at the weather info. (eg Elders Weather) and try and avoid the head winds. We met others returning to Port Fairy who were really struggling into an unpleasant head wind.

I rode this trail yesterday morning. (4th Feb 2015). This is a great rail trail that is essentially a ride around the back of Tower Hill from Warrnambool to Port Fairy. The only negative was the wind – being an onshore it meant a hard ride into Port Fairy and on the return into Warrnambool. On the other it meant I made good timing riding out of Warrnambool and Port Fairy. The trail surface changes along the route – good around Warrnambool and Port Fairy, very poor as you approach Koroit. It is clear that they are increasing the trail signage – which is good. Just outside of Warrnambool I almost rode over the biggest brown snake I’ve ever come across – so other users watch out. All in all, an good rail trail.

Started off early from Warrnambool heading to Port Fairy. A very interesting ride along the Merri River and eazy going until Levy’s Point road where you travel on a vehicle track. Be careful if moving at speed along here of oncoming traffic and riders. Signage was eazy enough to follow though care is needed due to the sign size and is sometimes hidden.
Across Levy’s Swamp and through farm lands until you reach Illowa Road and then on to finally joining the original railway alignment near the Illowa Siding location. This site is fenced off but you can see the original platform mound and goods shed.
Up through a small cutting on the side of Tower Hill and into Koroit. This Station area is beautifully kept, and a beautiful Station building in the process of being renovated to it’s former glory. Here the friendly volunteer staff can offer advice on the trail or history of the lines through Koroit.
Koroit is roughly half way to Port Fairy and a junction for the line to Hamilton. The town is also a great place for a morning or afternoon tea break.
Down to Port Fairy is a much better ride with hard packed gravel. It is relatively smooth all the way. At Port Fairy look for the old Ganger’s or Fettlers Shed. Refurbished bridges along this section are well done and several of the original culverts can be seen. Great workmanship in these.
It is a pity that the Siding Names are not displayed with a brief history of the location for eg: what was loaded here, how many trains stopped here and what type of trains used the line.
Overall, a great ride for a sixty plus gent. You need to consider whether to go passed the Levy’s Point Meat Works if you are squirmish, as it could be an unsuitable site if un prepared. Second half was much better. Could do it all again. Good work to those involved.

We rode the trail from Port Fairy to Warrnambool yesterday. The Port Fairy to Koroit section was really enjoyable but we were disappointed with most of the Koroit to Warrnambool section. The signage was confusing close to Warrnambool, there were a couple of boring bits which went along next to the road for a few k’s, there were some sand drifts that we found scarey, and approaching the rending factory, we could smell and see the tracks of wild pigs which was quite disconcerting given that we had to walk those sections (sand drifts) The pigs would have been attracted by the rending factory which was like something out of a horror movie with great (20 foot high) piles of dismembered animal carcases, skins, flesh and bones as well as stinking, belching chimneys. The one saving grace for this section was the boardwalk covered wetland where we were able to see Magpie Geese, Avocets,Terns, Banded Godwits and Black Swans.

Did this trail 09/11/14 Loved the scenery but the trail is in dire need of an upgrade at several locations to make it a viable attraction for people to come all the way from Melbourne and outside of Warrnambool Port Fairy area.

We did this from pt fairy to koroit and return 1/02/14, was ok but found the section a little boring only farm land to look at. Track condition ok little bumpy in a few places looks like the farmers may use it in places, will return to complete the section from koroit to warrnambol sone.

Hi All.
Did this trail Port Fairy to Warrnambool on Jan 8 2014, with my 17 YO son on MTB’s. Could have done without the headwind, but that’s not the fault of the trail. Got to Warrnambool and popped into Browns Depot Bakery for some awesome nourishment. Picked up my other son, daughter and MTB tandem bike & headed back toward Port Fairy. Stopped at Koroit for a snack (Gravy Chips from the little fast food place over the pedestrian crossing) then on to Port Fairy for an ice cream (Rebeccas).

Great trail. Do it. Signage seemed adequate, as we didn’t get lost either way. Surface and scenery good and quite varied (fields, sand hills, wetlands, beach). Mainly hard packed sandstone, some paved & paved road. a few gravel & sandy spots on the road at the Warrnambool end, but nothing dicey. Hybrids would do it fine. Generally flat to slight hills, again nothing hard.

Just do it and enjoy.

We love this trail. We stay at Koroit and ride to Port Fairy and back then to Warrnambool and back. Thanks to those who look after the trail. It would be nice to have more shade along the way if possible? Port Fairy is such a lovely spot to stop for a while.

Have to say this track is a disppointment. The Warrnambool to Port Fairy Trail is currently under one metre of water in some sections and is poorly signposted near Warrnambool. With the high rainfall often in the area, more raised sections of track really should have been constructed but I guess the money ran out on this project. Here are some pictures http://sdrv.ms/16HBbKm

Travelling East
Hint 1: Don’t go up to Levy’s Point Park and off through the bush trail unless you want to do a bit of mountain biking. The trail is very sandy there. Better to go (as indicated) along the graded dirt road by the knackery.
Hint 2: The alternate route from the Lady Bay Resort is more pleasant than going up Stanley and McDonald streets. When you get to the old Woollen Mill wall (now much graffitied) turn left and you will find a narrow bridge across Merri Creek, then a short ride up the grassy hill to the road and the rest of the trail. You can see the bridge on the satellite version of the Google map on this site.

I ride the trail on a regular basis. An excellent initiative and a very worthwhile venture. It is amazing, regardless of the weather, just how many other people are utilising this wonderful resource. Well done to all involved.

Extension proposed for Port Fairy Rail Trail

Posted: 12/09/21

Moyne Shire has released a draft bicycle strategy for Port Fairy in Victoria's western district.  ...

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Koroit Station restoration

Posted: 22/10/14

A total of $80,000 will be spent in the restoration project on the Port Fairy to ...

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Good news on the Warrnambool to Port Fairy rail trail.

Posted: 05/03/13

Article text reproduced with permission from The Moyne Gazette (by Anthony Brady 6th Feb 2013). USE ...

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Opening of Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (Vic)

Posted: 06/06/12

The opening of the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail took place on 31st May 2012 ...

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Port Fairy to Koroit, Organised Fundraiser Ride (VIC)

Posted: 11/01/11

Murray Goulburn - Moyneyana Family Bike Ride. Saturday 15th January 2011. Port Fairy to Koroit (17 km ...

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Port Fairy to Koroit (Vic) Now Open

Posted: 02/07/10

Typical scenery on the Port Fairy Koroit section. Photo ...

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Port Fairy to Warnambool Rail Trail

Posted: 12/04/09

The April edition of the Moyne Shire Community News details progress on the Trail. Download ...

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Start of Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (Victoria)

Posted: 26/02/08

Turning the first sod. Photo credit: Pam Moore ...

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Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail (South West Victoria) Receives Funding

Posted: 23/11/06

The Moyne and Warrnambool Shire councils have been successful in obtaining funding of $850,000 from the ...

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Proposed Port Fairy – Denington Rail Trail Feasibility Study Released

Posted: 23/01/05

The Moyne Shire Council commissioned a feasiblity study into constructing a rail trail from Port ...

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