- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential RT
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Great excuse to visit the beautiful Mornington Peninsula
- Wineries, galleries and serene rural and sea views combine to make this a great trail for a day trip or weekend visit
- Excellent cafes at both ends of the trail
- Interpretive signs at Red Hill Station Reserve explain the history of the area
- Best in dry weather but surface has improved
- Arthurs Seat State Park
- Coolart Wetlands and Homestead
- Two Bays Walking Track and many others
- Portsea beach
- Point Nepean Quarantine Station
Last updated: 20 August 2023
You can start at either end of this trail, or in the middle. Merricks is a good option if you want a downhill run for your return trip after a decent lunch! The 2.8km lower section, which is popular with horse riders, does not follow the original alignment so it is steeper than a typical rail trail. The original line rose at 1 in 44 up to Red Hill, steeper than normal for branchlines but quite manageable on a bike. Unfortunately, the rail corridor up to Tonkins Rd was sold and the diversion is even steeper. The trail is very narrow in parts and can also be muddy, so it’s unsuitable for road bikes in winter.
- Merricks: The Merricks Station Ground car park entrance is obscured from Frankston-Flinders Road (C777). Look for the mobile phone tower about 150m east of Merricks General Wine Store. There are public toilets here.
- Tonkins Rd: There is limited parking but the road is narrow and unsuitable for horse floats. The trail up to Red Hill starts next to #22.
- Red Hill: There is a carpark with room for horse floats, toilets, BBQ and bike repair station at the Red Hill Station Reserve. It’s off Point Leo Rd and behind the shops.
- Look for the ‘Trail’ sign on the timber railing fence, near the phone tower. A narrow track runs beside the equestrian centre to the start of the trail proper. You can avoid this section by using the shared path on the other side of the horse area, next to Merricks Rd.
- Turn left, climb steadily for 2km and enjoy the views over Western Port to Phillip Island. After a sharp right turn, the trail continues down a steep hill (with grapevines on the left), where it meets the end of Tonkins Rd. The trail continues to the left after #22 and is now on the original rail easement. It ascends gently for 3.6km to Red Hill, first through pine trees (look for colourful fungi in autumn) and then two small cuttings.
- Next to the mountain bike pump track at Red Hill the station has been partially recreated, with a plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary of the railway opening.
- The trail continues to Point Leo Rd behind the shopping strip. Explore the area, visit the cafés or bakery and either return via the trail or local roads. There are asphalt and dirt shared paths from here along Arthurs Seat Rd.
- There are several wineries at the Merricks end and a cafe.
One of the proposals in the massive Peninsula Trail project is to build a 10km shared path along Frankston-Flinders Rd from Bittern to Merricks, more than half of it close to the alignment of the Red Hill line, but the cost was estimated at $11m in 2022 and other parts of the project are taking priority in what is expected to be a 10-year undertaking dependent on outside funding. If you’re desperate to arrive by train and unwilling to wait that long, you can already ride or walk the Western Port Bay Trail from Bittern station to Balnarring Beach and then watch for marker posts featuring a Peninsula PathLinks logo to get you along Library Rd and Bayview Rd to the continuation of Junction Rd. This gets rougher as you approach Merricks, is 6km longer and is only suitable for mountain bikes and experienced walkers.
The car park entrance at Merricks with replica level-crossing gate 
The public toilets near the Merricks equestrian centre are not for horses 
The start of the trail is obstructed by bollards and is narrow for a few hundred metres 
Riding up the first half of the off-formation section 
View of Western Port Bay from near the top of the lower half 
Taking a break after the climb and before the descent to Tonkins Rd 
There is a short, steep descent to Tonkins Rd to get onto the railway alignment. The surface has been improved since this photo was taken. 
Start of the rail trail proper at Tonkins Rd 
The trail is very popular with walkers 
It’s also popular with horse riders 
Wineries abound on both sides of the rail trail 
Further views out to Western Port Bay and Phillip Island near Red Hill 
The vegetation is very lush around Red Hill and a bit more management is needed given the number of people using the trail! 
Approaching Red Hill station 
The former Red Hill station site 
Red Hill Station Reserve now has a retro shelter on the rebuilt platform, overlooking the pump track 
Red Hill station site behind the shops 
Red Hill shops near Frankston-Flinders Rd 
Bike repair station and information shelter at Red Hill 
The trail at Red Hill starts from this car park, which caters for horse floats 
Cycling Vine Tours
Cycle, food & wine tours through Victoria’s premier food & wine growing regions: Yarra Valley | Mornington Peninsula | Bellarine Peninsula. Experience amazing countryside & coastal areas. Enjoy local food & wine. Cycle in the morning on idyllic back roads and rail trails past vineyards and local food producers then indulge in the afternoon with wine tasting at intimate boutique wineries away from the crowds. Self-Guided & Guided Tours available.
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 1921 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.
Anyone who has ridden the Red Hill Rail Trail (Mornington Peninsula, VIC) and gone through ...More...