Trail Open

Tumbarumba to Rosewood (Riverina Highlands) Rail Trail

NSW country and ACT

3.7 based on 7 reviews
Location: 470 km south of Sydney, 460 km north of Melbourne
Length: 21 km
Surface: Sealed
Start / End: Tumbarumba to Rosewood
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • PramsPrams
  • Scooters and Inline SkatesScooters and Inline Skates
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • NSW’s first true rail trail on a government rail corridor passes through beautiful subalpine countryside and farmland. 
  • The trail is sealed and family friendly, suitable for most types of bicycles, scooters, mobility scooters and prams.
  • Interpretive signs along the trail explain the history of the rail line and the region.
  • Since opening in 2020, the rail trail has been a very popular NSW tourist destination. 

The rail trail connects:

  • Tumbarumba (Figures Street trailhead)
  • Rosewood

Nearby Attractions

  • Tumbarumba is in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains 
  • Several vineyard cellar doors 
  • Tumbarumba has a great pump track and an increasing network of mountain bike trails
  • The historic Hume and Hovell Track can be reached using Tumbarumba as a base

The gradient is gentle, dropping from Tumbarumba to a low point about halfway along the trail, then rising slightly to Rosewood.

Tumbarumba provides all the facilities of a regional town, including accommodation, cafes, supermarkets and hotels. Rosewood has a general store and a cafe, garden centre, gift shop and post office…and a gnome garden. 

Section Guides

Tumbarumba to Rosewood (21 km)

In Tumbarumba the trail begins at Figures St, which has a large car park, an amenities block and historic artifacts. There is a multipurpose off-road path leading to the trailhead from Tumbarumba’s main street. Detailed directions from town to the trailhead can be found at:  

https://visitsnowyvalleys.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/SVC_T2R_Railtrail_flyer_QuadFoldDL_Nov2020_noMarks-1.pdf

The trailhead and gnome park at Rosewood is just near the general store and has toilets.

The stations at Glenroy, Wolseley Park and Rosewood have been partially recreated by enthusiastic locals and are well worth a stop to take in the information displayed there. Toilets are also available at Glenroy. 

There are bike repair stations at Tumbarumba, Glenroy and Rosewood. 

Note for road bikes:  the trail has some sharp bumps at bridges and cattle grids which may not suit bikes with narrow high-pressure tyres.

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8 reviews of “Tumbarumba to Rosewood (Riverina Highlands) Rail Trail”

Rode this trail on 19 April 2022. There are always improvements each time we visit. On this trip, the picnic seats and table at Glenroy are now installed – with Men's Shed rebuilding the platform and now toilets there as well, the whole site is a perfect stopping point.
Enjoyed a coffee at the Rosewood rail trail cafe, then rode back to Tumbarumba in drizzling rain – but no problem, minimal dirt on the rear end due to the trail surface.

The first of our rail trail rides on our trip to the Flinders – Tumbarumba to Rosewood return. A wonderful ride with nearly ideal conditions! If you are considering a rail trail, put this one on your list for a day ride perhaps with a picnic or lunch stop at either end.

Kudos to those who worked so hard to make this happen, I know it was neither easy or quick! It will be wonderful to see the rest of the way done and this becomes an overnight ride.

Sorry for the lack of pics but there are many on the Rail Trail sites already.

Pro tip #1: E-bikes are not essential with this sort of gradient but it is a great ride to try one and apparently easily arranged for in Tumba.
Pro tip #2: Take a picnic or morning or afternoon tea break at the many spots along the way.
Pro Tip #3: Look at the gradients. If starting from Tumbarumba it’s a quick downhill and a longer but less steep ride back up to Rosewood. The return will mean you need to leave something in reserve in the tank (or battery!) especially if the wind comes up.
Pro Tip #4: There are shady areas but a lot of the ride is in the open so slip-slap, carry sufficient water and be mindful to avoid the hottest part of the day in warmer months.

Final words: Do this ride!

We travelled this trail on a perfect November spring day on touring bikes, starting with the steep climb out of Tumbarumba and lunch at Rosewood, where there are a couple of cafe options. What a magnificent trail through pretty farmland and with some nice interpretive signage at points. We loved the bitumen surface but also noticed that it was a bit "sticky" in parts, which we put down to being a warm day. There were lots of birds and a brown snake hiding out in one of the underpasses.
We stayed the night either side in an Airbnb behind a shop in Tumbarumba – which was a great location with quite a few options to eat out or buy food in the IGA.

My wife and I have had the pleasure of riding the Tumbarumba – Rosewood Trail a few times over the past couple of days. The scenery was amazing and the track layout has been well done
My wife rode the track on a road bike and got her first puncture on a raised edge on the Bells Creek Bridge. Fortunately we had a spare tube we were able to use
but on the return trip my wife got the second puncture at the Mannus Creek bridge so she had to walk back to the Tumbarumba railhead. The track is not suited for road bike tyres and I have written to the council suggesting that small ramps be placed at any points where there are sharp rises likely to cause punctures.
There are no water refilling stations at either end of the track. As other reviewers have reported the track had several soft spots where our tyres sunk into the surface – not sure if this is always there or as a result of the recent heavy rains or hot days. Ian

Hi Ian – sorry to hear about your wife's experience with punctures. I will ensure the local rail trail group is made aware of your comments.
I will also add wording to the trail description about risks for road bikes.

Will Owens – Rail Trails Australia representative.

Loris Cassar
23rd November 2021
Myself and a group of cyclists from Victoria cycled the new Rail Trail and found it to be a wonderful Rail trail, easy gradient and suitable for hybrid bikes. Lovely scenery along the way and as it was a warm day there was a welcomed stop in the shade at Woseley Station . Lovley cafe in Rosewood and as the day was warm 25deg C the asphalt started to melt on the way back to Tumbarumba, creating a dragging sensation on the tyres,feeling like your tyre is flat. Saw 2 snakes and one echidna. Very enjoyable ride.

Definitely a high quality rail trail – great rural and mountain scenery, and fun to ride or walk. The Tumbarumba trailhead is a short distance from town, but quite easy to find. The trail has really good interpretive signs about the history of the railway line, and there are toilets at Glenroy station site and at Rosewood.

Stage 1 of this trail, from Tumbarumba to Rosewood, is set to open on 3 April 2020.
This will be the first rail trail in NSW constructed on abandoned ex-government tracks.
Look out for Jolly Berries, 247 Tumbarumba Road, adjacent to the trail! Excellent blueberries.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

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

Rail Trail development 

The Riverina Highlands Rail Trails will develop in four stages to a full length of 129 km:

  • Tumbarumba to Rosewood (21 km) – Stage 1, open 
  • Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith (19 km) – potential next stage 
  • Rosewood to Tarcutta (56 km)
  • Ladysmith to Tarcutta (33 km)

The Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Steering Committee was formed in 2004 under the Riverina Regional Development Board to promote the development of two trails.

Extensive consultation with local communities saw concerns from some but generally great support for the proposals. All four local Shire Councils involved also expressed support, along with the NSW Lands and Transport Ministry.

Development looked close to starting in 2009 with $220,000 of federal funding, but legislation to close the line was not passed.

In 2012, the Riverina Highlands Rail Trail group was formed to continue the process of getting this rail trail established.

Given reservations about constructing rail trails in NSW, Rail Trails Australia suggested the establishment of one or two shorter ‘pilot’ rail trails to demonstrate the benefits of a rail trail on a disused government branch line.

This resulted in support from the NSW Government and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood section of the railway was officially closed in June 2017.

Former local MP Greg Aplin was instrumental in obtaining $5.7 million in funding to construct the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail. Construction began in 2019 and the trail was opened in April 2020.

Wagga Rail Trail Inc is working to develop a rail trail between Wagga Wagga and Ladysmith (around 21 km). It is envisaged that this section would become a commuter path between the city centre and Forest Hill, 10 km from Wagga Wagga.

Railway history

The railway branched from the Main South Line at Wagga Wagga and passed through Tarcutta to Tumbarumba, rising to 800 m above sea level. It opened in stages from 1917 to 1921. Operation beyond Ladysmith ceased in 1974 after significant flooding, and all operations ceased in 1987.

Most of the line is not officially closed but little infrastructure remains. The line has been cut by construction of the RAAF base at Forest Hill, near Wagga Wagga, and the Hume Freeway at Tarcutta. Significant sections of track and other infrastructure have also been illegally removed.

The only stations remaining on the line are at Ladysmith (maintained by the Tumba Rail historical group) and Borambola.

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