Start/end: Tallarook to Mansfield (extension to Alexandra)
Distance: 134 km
Surface: Fine gravel
Suitable for: Hybrids, touring bikes and mountain bikes
The Great Victorian Rail Trail officially opened in June 2012 and is the longest rail trail in Australia. It stretches 121 km from Mansfield, and along the Great Dividing Range past Yea to Tallarook. The trail follows the route of the former railway line, and includes a 13 km extension into Alexandra.
Escape to the great outdoors and explore central Victoria in the best possible fashion. The trail offer a safe and enjoyable way to experience the great outdoors and can be ridden by riders of all abilities. Its a journey which will not only take you back to nature. But will take you to a world where you will remember the simple pleasure of riding your bike. Away from the hustle & bustle from traffic, it is a pleasure to go cycling across the quiet open stretches of rail trail.
The highlight of the trail is Cheviot Tunnel which was originally built in 1899 at a cost of £88,661/2/11. There were many compications with the work delayed by accidents, floods and several industrial disputes. The tunnel runs through the Black Range at McLouglin’s Gap. Roughly half-way between Yea and Molesworth. The tunnel is over 200 meters in length. With the tunnel being built from an estimated 675,000 handmade bricks that were sourced locally from Quinlan’s pit in a nearby paddock. Just west of the tunnel.
Due to its length, its best to choose a small stretch of this trail to ride. If you want to do the whole trail you will most likely have to stay overnight, at one of the many towns along the trail. It will most likely take several days to make the return journey from Mansfield to Tallarook (or even vice versa). This trail has been an important boost to tourism to the area, and its refreshing to travel to distant towns that welcome cyclists with open arms.
The original railway line which was used to transport passengers and cargo between 1882 to the 1970’s.
Apart from the Bonnie-Doon bridge. Which opened in 2000, the first major stage of the rail trail opened in August 2010. The entire trail was opened by Autumn 2012. In January 2014, branding as the Great Victorian Rail Trail was completed.
The Great Victorian Rail Trail (at a glance)
- Australia’s longest rail trail
- Features the only tunnel on a rail trail in Victoria
- The long bridge crossing across Lake Eildon is a truly amazing experience
- There are several crossings of major rural highways (take extreme caution)
- The surface is either a bitumised granite, and compacted gravel
- Public transport options via V-Line stops at Tallarook Station.
Major access points are:
- Bonnie Doon
- Mansfield – Visitor Information Centre
- Alexandra – Old railway station
Please note that this rail trail was previously known as the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail.