Walk or ride this fantastic rail trail to experience the delights of country Victoria. Enjoy the region's vast landscapes, art, history and nature.
This is an easy-to-ride section, with Maffra’s access point situated at the Macalister River Park (beside the road bridge). Described as one of the prettiest towns in Victoria, Maffra boasts numerous historic buildings and beautiful gardens. Vintage car enthusiasts can check out the Gippsland Vehicle Collection Motor Museum. A visit to the Sugar Beet Museum and the restored Maffra Court House are other great ways to discover the area. There are several great eating options at cafes, restaurants and a local winery. With a growing industry of salad and vegetable farming in the surrounding area, it’s a popular town for working travellers.
The final 10km stretch of the trail winds to the east through farming enterprises such as sheep, cattle and horse breeding and vegetable cropping. The views across to the Great Dividing Range are breathtaking, and it’s a very pleasant way to explore the mix of remnant vegetation and industry. At the halfway point, pass the original 1850 Powerscourt Homestead (now a private residence).
Cross the Avon River before concluding at Stratford’s Apex Park, located just near the M1 Highway Bridge. The Park includes an award-winning medieval playground and bike track, suitable for toddlers up to the adventurous teenager, with plenty of space to kick a ball. There are good BBQ facilities, toilets, a nature walk and a sculpture series. At the other end of town, the Memorial Park opposite the Courthouse Theatre and Segue Arts Cafe has another great playground. You’ll find numerous coffee shops and cafes, a cellar door for a local winery, Design Gallery, model railway shop and the local pub. The annual Shakespeare on the River Festival runs between April and May. Take a 3km side trip along Stratford Arts Trail; MP3 hire and maps are available from Segue Arts Cafe.
Three kilometres south-east of Stratford is the 56-hectare Knob Reserve (formerly known as the "Forest of Arden"), part of the Gunaikurnai nation’s Bataluk Cultural Trail that winds its way through East Gippsland. At the crest of the Reserve’s hill, look down upon the farmlands, the foothills and the Avon River. There are picnic facilities, as well as an annual country music festival.
The V-Line service from Melbourne to Bairnsdale stops at Stratford, although you need to check the timetable. The towns along the Rail Trail provide excellent accommodation options, interesting histories, some lovely architecture, cultural sites and great eateries.
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 1: http://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/3088
Rail trail part 2: http://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/3089
This is a delightful way to discover the wild and wonderful world of a wetland.
In recognition of the influence of the dairy industry and as a celebration to cows, check out this zany iron sculpture installation.
A must for any motoring enthusiast (& even those that aren’t!), this vintage car museum showcases an extraordinary array of the beloved car.
It’s hard to imagine just how much work this old truck did over the years, but it’s one more example along the trail of the previous lives of other Gippslanders.
You don’t have to follow the rail trail on wheels. Lots of locals use the trail as a great place to walk the pooch.
A side trip in Stratford is recommended, making sure you take the short trip beside the Avon River to enjoy the fantastic sculptures dotted along the way.
Whether you start from the Trail’s most eastern end or return by train, this is a lovely old station to visit.