Trail Open

Red Hill Rail Trail

Victoria - Melbourne region

2.8 based on 5 reviews
Location: Mornington Peninsula, 90km south of Melbourne
Length: 7 km
Surface: Coarse gravel, Compacted earth
Start / End: Merricks to Red Hill
Public Transport: None
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • Horse RidingHorse Riding
  • WalkingWalking

Map Legend:

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

DETAILS

Why visit the Red Hill Rail Trail?

  • The trail is 100 per cent off-road
  • Excellent cafes at each end of the trail
  • Best in dry weather

Attractions

  • Wineries, galleries, and peaceful rural and sea views combine to make this a great trail for a day trip or weekend visit
  • The section near Merricks is popular with horse riders: part of it does not follow the original alignment so it is steeper than a typical rail trail

Options

  • Start at either end of the Trail, cycle or walk one way or both ways
  • Ride on the roads to visit wineries, galleries or beaches on the way back. Note: take care if you choose not to return on the trail. There are no bike lanes on these roads, some of which roads carry very fast traffic.

Trail Guide

There is a carpark and bike repair station near the corner of Point Leo Rd and Shoreham Rd, at the Red Hill Station Reserve behind shops. Story boards tell the history of the area. It is a downhill ride to Merricks: about 200 m along the trail, look for the plaque at the former station site, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the railway opening.

Section Guides

  • From Merricks it is all uphill (except for a short 100 m downhill) to Red Hill. Park at Merricks Station Ground (look for the mobile phone tower at the entrance) on the Frankston-Flinders road, close to Stoniers Winery, about 150 m from Merricks General Store. There are public toilets here.
  • Look for the ‘TRAIL’ sign on the cyclone fence, near the mobile phone tower. The narrow track runs beside the fence in the reserve to the start of the trail proper.
  • Turn left and climb steadily for 2 km, with good views over Western Port to Phillip Island. After a sharp right turn the trail continues down the steep hill (with grapevines on the left) and through a horse jump where it meets the end of Tonkins Rd. The trail continues to the left and is now on the original rail easement. It ascends gently to Red Hill, first through pine trees (look for colourful fungi in autumn), then two small cuttings.
  • The trail continues to Point Leo Rd behind Red Hill shops. Explore the shops, café or bakery and either return via the trail or other local roads.
  • The trail is shared with walkers and horses and is very narrow in parts. It can also be muddy, and is unsuitable for road bikes in winter.
  • There are excellent cafes at each end of the Trail, and Stonier Winery at the Merricks end.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

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

Rail Line History

The line to Red Hill was built after a long campaign by local people, beginning in the 1880s. Opened in 1912 as a branch from Bittern on the Stony Point line, it mainly carried fruit such as apples, pears and strawberries to market in Melbourne. Six hundred people gathered to greet the first steam train climbing the steep 1 in 30 gradient to Red Hill.

As roads improved the train timetable was reduced to one train a week and the line closed in 1953 after only 32 years of operation. The rest of the former railway land between Bittern and Merricks is now in private ownership.

PHOTOS

REVIEWS

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5 reviews of “Red Hill Rail Trail”

8/27 Next Railtrail on my journey to ride every trail in Victoria in my 60th year to promote organ donation. Red Hill Railtrail is on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. I started at Red Hill to take advantage of the downhill run. Lovely sunny conditions but a rough surface with tree roots and rocks mean it’s not a great cycling track. At the point the track leaves the railway verge there is a gate that is too narrow to ride through before a very steep (but short) climb. Signage is pretty poor once you leave Red Hill, and I had to consult Google Maps once near the end when there seemed 2 options to go on. To get to the rather non-descript end you need to ride around the equestrian centre, which was pretty busy on the day I was there. But it is an interesting ride with beautiful views, and probably better tackled on foot. 6.5km.

You can follow all my railtrail rides on FB Warwick Duncan – The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides

With 2 friends I cycled this trail on Tuesday 3rd January 2017, but we soon became concerned that it was not very suitable for riding on a hybrid bike. We started at the Merricks end and were immediately confronted by bumpy impressions left in the ground from horses hoofs, which would have been made when the trail was wet. Further on there were many sections with exposed tree roots which made for a rough ride. Then near a vineyard there was a big hill and very loose gravel, so we played safe and walked our bikes on the grass beside the trail. The trail became a bit flatter and better at the Red Hill South end, and after a coffee, it was mostly downhill riding back to Merricks. Even though some people regard it as a rail trail, we saw very little evidence of station buildings or signs, cuttings, track or sleepers. Officially the 5km trail is known as the Peninsula Equestrian Trail. I would recommend you leave it to walkers and horses, and for safety sake ride on the very pleasant Warringine Park Coastal Wetlands Boardwalk at Hastings, which we did on Wednesday 4th January. The only good long cycle/walking path on the southern Mornington Peninsula is the one from Safety Beach to Sorrento. But being summer and school holiday, we decided to postpone this ride to a quieter time. I would like to see Mornington Peninsula Shire create some other long off road shared paths for walkers and cyclists. This would attract more tourists to the area and provide a healthy activity for them.

Rode the Red Hill trail on November 9th 2014. A good short trail with a great down hill ride from Red Hill – the gradient is deceptive and you pick up speed very easily. The short rise along the vineyard is in poor quality and bikes are liable to slip when climbing. Agree about the dog owners being everywhere – but had no problems with any dogs.

A small pleasant trail that runs uphill from Merricks to Red Hill, on a dirt/pebble/tree root covered trail, used by horse riders and dog walkers. You need to be careful coming back down the hill from Red Hill as you pick up speed and there are a few corners that present trouble if people are coming the other way.
It is difficult to find, with little to no signage marking the trail start and end. If you park at the winery and head towards station ground reserve the trail begins on your left before the reserve entrance. Enjoy!

Although this is a great trail, I have found lately that there are alot of dog owners who are using this rail trail as a leash free run. I had a dog have a go at my horse, the dog came off alot worse than the horse. I asked the owners “what if a child was riding a bike past and the dog got nasty” they stated that I should get lost and mind my own business.

NEWS

Red Hill Rail Trail (VIC) Seeking Feedback on Station Reserves

Posted: 25/05/14

Anyone who has ridden the Red Hill Rail Trail (Mornington Peninsula, VIC) and gone through ...

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