Walk or ride sections of this fantastic rail trail to experience the delights of country Victoria. Enjoy the region's vast landscapes, art, history and nature.
Heading east from Traralgon, the Rail Trail officially commences at the intersection of Marshalls Rd and Traralgon-Maffra Rd (C105), approx 4km from the Traralgon Railway Station and CBD. To get to the start of the trail from the railway station, head to nearby Victory Park and follow the path to the left which goes under the M1 highway and brings you up behind “Cold Rock Ice-Cream”. Follow the path towards the large ASIC building, turn right over the footbridge from which you can follow the signs.
The trail surface is fairly smooth gravel, although it can be soft when wet, best suited for hybrid and mountain bikes. The first 10km section from Traralgon to Glengarry includes crossing an impressively long embankment and four bridges across the Latrobe River’s floodplain, with picturesque views across the waterways and adjoining farmland to the Great Dividing Range and Strzelecki Ranges. At the historic Glengarry Station, there’s an old crane that was used for loading goods sent to Melbourne. Glengarry has a general store, pub, BBQ with playground and a very tasty bakery. The next 9km travels through a high quality patch of remnant native grassland that brims with wildflowers and bursts of butterflies in season. The trail crosses a deep gorge with stone walls and steel barricades that were installed in the 1950s to slow down the erosive effects of Fells Creek.
At Toongabbie, you can take a side trip to the Town Trail before the next 9km to Cowwarr. This section provides a peaceful car-free ride through rich dairy country. Several original railway bridges are still in place. Once you arrive at the remains of the Cowwarr Station Platform, it’s worth visiting the renowned Art Space across the road at the restored 1918 Butter Factory.
The next 5km crosses the Rainbow Creek Bridge to the flora reserve at the Dawson Railway Siding some on-road riding along the back roads. After another 6km, your next stop is Heyfield on the Thomson River. Known as the gateway to the High Country, Heyfield sits at the southern extremity of the Snowy Mountains range. It's home to the largest timber mill in the Southern Hemisphere, which you’ll pass on your ride into town.
A V-Line rail service operates between Melbourne and Bairnsdale, stopping at both Traralgon and Stratford. A more regular daily service between Traralgon and Melbourne is also available. There are multiple entry points along the way, so you can walk or ride in shorter sections if preferred. You’ll also find great accommodation options and excellent eateries in each town.
The Park Tracks project is an initiative of the Latrobe City Council, which acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Gunaikurnai nation. Through their cultural traditions, the Gunaikurnai identifies this area as part of their Traditional Country.
Rail trail part 2: http://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/3089
Rail trail part 3: http://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/3090
Toongabbie Town Trail: http://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/3072
Heading east, you cross over a number of waterways but the first one across the Latrobe Valley floodplains involve an impressively long bridge utilising the old railway trusses and pylons.
No need to wade through water to enjoy the experience of being within the midst of numerous birds and aquatic wildlife!
Welcome to Glengarry, which has a bakery famous for its tasty pies that are well worth making a stop to experience (Bushies Bakery at 19 Main Street).
The diversity of agriculture in the region is beautifully illustrated by this field of poppies that are grown for medicinal purposes as well as being a superb sight in bloom.
At Toongabbie, the trail opens up to become a wide boulevard and the historic township is worth taking a side trip to explore.
Against a backdrop of farming enterprise, you will come across numerous examples of historic ruins that speak of this region’s rich history.
Just one example of the many innovative sculptures you’ll discover along the way is this upcycled representation of a cow, paying homage to the days when Cowwarr was home to a busy butter factory.
Internationally renowned artist-in-resident Clive Murray-White opens his studio at the Cowwarr Art Space to show interested parties the magic of transforming stone into sculpture.
Take some time to wander around the adjacent Flora Reserve before heading onto the quiet back roads towards Heyfield and then returning to the gravel path.
This is an excellent spot to pull over to enjoy the sound of frog song at sunset and a rich habitat for birdlife at any time of day.