East Gippsland Rail Trail

East Gippsland Rail Trail


DESCRIPTION=East Gippsland Rail Trail Signage
NAME=East Gippsland Rail Trail
LENGTH=96 km
DIFFICULTY=Easy to medium
HILLS=Extended shallow gradients, short hills to and from original track height, undulating hills
HAZARDS=Uncontrolled crossings of major highways, isolated locations
WATER=Available in most towns
PATH=Sealed, gravel and dirt
BUS=Available in Bairnsdale and Orbost
TRAIN=Bairnsdale line to start of route
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is a rail trail located in the East Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. The trail begins in Bairnsdale and extends to Orbost, following the route of the former Orbost railway line and is a popular cycling route.

The trail is convert|96|km long and passes through a variety of forest and farmland landscapes with occasional views of the Gippsland Lakes.

Route description

Bairnsdale to Nicholson (9 km)

The rail trail does not officially begin at the Bairnsdale railway station itself due to the poor condition of the old rail bridge over the Mitchell River. The trail begins on the south side of the Princes Highway opposite the Howitt Park sports grounds at McEacharn Street.

The rail trail is accessible from the town via the road or footpath on the Princes Highway road bridge across the river. Toilets and good car parking facilities are available in the main section of Howitt Park on the north side of Princes Highway. Safe access to the south side of the highway and the rail trail can be obtained by following the path alongside the Mitchell River under the road bridge and up to road level, then along between the highway and the Howitt Park sports grounds.

The trail travels east from Bairnsdale following the route of the old railway line and roughly follows the line of the Princes Highway. The trail initially passes between industrial and retail properties leading out of Bairnsdale, then travels mainly through open farmland, predominantly for cattle and horse grazing, to the town of Nicholson. There are distant views of the Gippsland Lakes in some sections. The surface is sealed with asphalt and is in fair to good condition as far as the Nicholson River bridge in Nicholson, 9 km from the start of the route. A number of crossings of minor roads are required, as well an unmarked crossing of the Princes Highway.

The trail passes just to the north of the Nicholson township. Access to the town itself can be gained either by turning south at the Nicolson-Sarsfield Rd, or by following a minor track along the west side of the Nicholson River. Toilets, water and BBQ facilities are available at the Nicholson boat ramp on the west bank of the river to the south of the Princes Highway.

Nicholson to Bruthen (21 km)

The rail trail crosses the Nicholson River on the former railway trestle bridge. The bridge surface has been sealed with concrete and affords excellent views. Beyond the bridge the track surface becomes smooth gravel and the trail heads inland away from the Princes Highway. The trail goes for 9 km through undulating farmland to the old Bumberrah Railway Station. From there it travels 8 km on to Mossiface, passing through various cuttings, fills and tunnels from the old rail route. Mossiface, a tiny locality of only a few houses, was also the site of a former station.

From Mossiface the trail heads north for about 2 km and crosses the Great Alpine Road at the site of a former railway trestle bridge. From there it travels alongside the Great Alpine Road for a further 2 km to Bruthen, the largest town en route. Major facilities such as food, drink, toilets and accommodation are available in Bruthen.

Bruthen to Nowa Nowa (30 km)

The trail leaves Bruthen and crosses a former railway bridge over the Tambo River. From there it climbs into an open eucalyptus forest, the Colquhoun State Forest, on a fine gravel surface with some sandy sections. At Seaton Track in the Colquhoun Forest, 11 km out of Bruthen, the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail provides a connection to Lakes Entrance, approximately 25 km away.

The main East Gippsland Rail Trail continues east through the Colquhoun State Forest. About 3 km west of Nowa Nowa is the spectacular Stony Creek Trestle Bridge. Due to its poor condition the bridge itself is inaccessible, and trail users must travel down and up the steep slopes of the creek valley to reach the far side.

Nowa Nowa to Orbost (36 km)

The 36 km Nowa Nowa to Newmerella section opened in January 2006. At Nowa Nowa the newer trail connects to the existing section via a path onto the Princes Highway. There is plenty of parking on the old station site and a pedestrian/cycle bridge is planned for this area.

The surface of this section of the trail is a fine hard compacted gravel that is easy riding on most bikes. The trail is wide enough for three bikes, except in a few sections with excessive camber. The trail in this area has quite a lot of shade making summer riding quite pleasant.

There are three major wooden trestle bridges in this section which have low level diversions. This gives a good view of the bridges but the approaches are quite steep, particularly at the largest middle bridge.

At Newmerella the access point is at Burn Rd, north of the Princes Highway where it descends to the river flats of the Snowy River. It is about 2 km short of the original terminus of the line, which never actually crossed the Snowy River into Orbost. At this there are no plans to reopen this section, which is mostly wooden trestle bridges crossing the river flats.


* [http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrenrt.nsf/FID/-E481D92C51B780944A25680F0028F617?OpenDocument State of Victoria, Department of Sustainability and the Environment - East Gippsland Rail Trail ]
* [http://www.visitvictoria.com/displayObject.cfm/ObjectID.0008F823-4353-1A62-88CD80C476A90318/vvt.vhtml Visit Victoria - East Gippsland Rail Trail]
* [http://www.pigswillfly.com.au/?p=394 Pigs Will Fly - Victoria’s 100 km East Gippsland Rail Trail to open 5 years ‘ahead of schedule’ - December 15th, 2005]

External links

* [http://www.railtrails.org.au/guides/vic Map of trail at RailTrails.org.au]
* [http://www.eastgippslandrailtrail.com/ East Gippsland Rail Trail]

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