Location: North East Victoria (approx. 250km from Melbourne)
Route: Wangaratta – Beechworth – Rutherglen – Bright – Myrtleford
Surface: Sealed (some sections with compact gravel)
Terrain: Farmland, bushland
Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is one of the country’s finest rail trails. Offering views of some of Australia’s most spectacular mountain ranges. The trail follows the route of the former Bright Railway line. It’s a journey which will take you through a wide diversity of environments. Such as open farmland and natural bushland. The trail offers much diversity and is great for riders of all ages and fitness levels. A ride like this is all about the experience. Stopping along the way to take photos. And getting a chance to savour some of the high country’s finest gourmet produce. Renowned wines, and handcrafted beers in one of the many towns along the way.
The Murray to Mountains Rail trail is broken up into three main sections
- The longest section of trail is between Wangaratta to Bright. This is 85km in length, and has moderate grades as it follows the beautiful Ovens Valley. Which is a region which provides a variety of crops including tobacco, hops, berries, nuts and grapes. The trail also offers some amazing views of Mount Buffalo and surrounds, and includes two hills along the way.
- The section from Rutherglen to Wahgunyah is famous for its Wineries and is 9 km in length. The trail is quite flat and follows the Murray River.
- The section from Wangaratta to Oxley is 9 km in length, and as flat as a pancake. This region is famous for its farmland and gourmet including the Milawa Cheese factory. Which develops delicious Australian farmhouse cheeses which are inspired by European methods. All the cheeses are lovingly handmade and if you love your cheese. Is a must do!
The rail trail is not a point to point rail trail. There are several deviations you can choose from (see map below). Given the design. It’s a trail which is more suited to riding a particular section rather than attempt the whole trail in the one ride.
This is a must do trail
The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is a trail which can be taken on by all types of riders. Its family friendly and quite safe to ride with kids of any age. The trail is sealed, and can be ridden on any type of bike. However is a bit course and you will want to be running at least a 28mm tyre. Whether you’re a weekend warrior. Or the type of rider that likes to tackle long-distance rides. This trail has something for everyone. Take a day or even a week to take on the whole trail. The rail trail is a great way for riders to experience the region, and to learn about its history. There are numerous historical buildings all along the route. The towns are as much of an attraction as the trail is itself, offering Cafes, wine and beers, and fresh produce.
In the 1850’s the high country was a major goldmining centre. The Beechworth line was constructed to service the area. This was one of the oldest railway lines in Australia, being built in 1875. The line was extended to Yackandandah in 1891. A second line was built between Everton to Myrtleford in 1883, and extended all the way to Bright in 1890. This line was popular in the early 20th century with tourists who used the line to visit Bright and the Mount Buffalo Chalet. The line was closed in 1977.
The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail follows the old railway tracks that serviced the area for over a century. Construction began in 1993. The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail has turned a disused corridor into a popular tourist attraction which attracts a lot of tourism to the area each year.
Wangaratta is a 250km drive from Melbourne (Hume Freeway). You can also access the Murray to Mountains rail trail through a number of other towns along the way.
VLine offers train services to Wangaratta (refer to VLine’s policy on carrying bikes.)