Victoria is regarded as Australia’s premier rail trail state, and the Great Ocean Road region certainly has its share.
Rail Trails are disused railway corridors that have been converted to paths for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Pedallers and strollers alike can experience the wide range of rail trails in our region. Families will enjoy the tiny but scenic Tiger Rail Trail situated at the scenic mountain biking town of Forrest. Those who enjoy a challenge can try the gradients of the pretty Old Beechy Rail Trail. Further inland, the Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail passes over the historic Nimmon’s Bridge.
Visitors to the about-to-open Twelve Apostles Trail will be able to continue their journey on the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail. The Trail passes by a number of disused trestle bridges in spectacular rainforest.
The Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail links two popular seaside destinations. Along the way, walkers and cyclists can familiarise themselves with local Irish heritage in the village of Koroit.
For information about all of Great Ocean Road’s rail trails, visit Rail Trails Australia.
Here are the details on a couple to get you started.
The official opening of the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Railway line took place on 25 February 1890 with the biggest ceremony and banquet that Port Fairy had ever enjoyed. The last train came in September 1977. Railway Place was the site of the Station, The Goods Shed and the Station Master’s Cottage both of the latter still remain.
The Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail is a continuous 37.32km walking/cycling pathway which meanders through a highly scenic, diverse and relaxed part of south-west Victoria. Encompassing historical, agricultural, Indigenous and nature-based themes, it is a ‘must do’ for anyone visiting the region.
Making its way through rural landscapes and farming communities, the user will travel through dairy and beef farming country as well as remnant forest, skirt the north side of a 25,000 year old volcano (Tower Hill) and traverse wetlands and coastal sand dunes.
The trail encompasses the historic towns of Port Fairy and Koroit, rural countryside, woodlands and native vegetation, extensive sea views of Killarney, extensive woodlands, coastal sand dunes, the Merri River wetlands and Warrnambool breakwater precinct.
The trail has a gentle gradient and is suitable for use by cyclists and walkers of all ages and levels of fitness. Township sections are bitumen, allowing for use by mobility scooters, wheelchairs and the elderly. There are three major entrance/exit points to the route – Port Fairy, Koroit Railway Station and Warrnambool Breakwater – allowing users to determine their own length of travel.
Energetic walkers are able to continue on the 22-kilometre Mahogany Walk, which creates a circular route along the coast.
Enjoy this challenging trail along the historic Camperdown to Timboon rail line. The trail traverses volcanic lakes, open farmland, wet sclerophyll forest and spectacular trestle bridges on an even descent via Cobden into Timboon.
Location: Camperdown to Timboon
Length: 34km one way
Grade: Level 2 – Suitable for most ages and fitness levels, some riding experience recommended
Start: Camperdown V/Line station
Finish: Timboon Railway Shed Distillery
Note: Section between Merretts Road and the Curdies River Bridge contain some sections of steep narrow path bypassing historic trestle bridges. Cyclists and horse riders are advised to dismount and walk these short sections. Riders should also be aware of a steep on road ascent/descent between Lake Bullen Merri and Lake Gnotuk (Sadlers Road)
Getting there: Travel via V/line or the Princes Hwy (A1) to Camperdown. Return bus trips are currently available in both directions on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with short trips to sections of the trail available on some Thursdays and Sundays. This ride can be done in either direction.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.