The Goulburn River Rail Trail is the longest continuous rail trail in Australia. Traversing 125km through farmland, along the Goulburn River and in the foothills of the magnificent Victorian High Country. It uses the route originally laid down in 1883 for the steam railway, which closed in 1978. In June 2012 it was opened as a cyclist’s dream. AllTrails have now created a 3 day ride completely off the road, on nice hard-packed gravel surface, no steep climbs, stunning scenery, native wildlife and farm animals, stylish accommodation, great local food and Susan’s home cooked muffins.
This is a very different ride for AllTrails compared to our usual long distance road bike tours so we are really looking forward to enjoying the change of pace and scenery that this ride will provide. We love to ride rail trails ourselves and when we saw this trail open up we could not wait to get up there and test it out. It was so good that we decided to design a tour around it. Three unforgettable days on the bike. Book it, you will love it.
As featured in the Herald Sun Weekend Travel Editorial. Read here.
The individual highlights of this ride are numerous, however the biggest highlight is just being there and enjoying the entire experience of a great Rail Trail, being looked after by the best tour company in the business, and sharing it all with a small group of like-minded people. Why not rent a tandem and do it as a couple? Ask us for more details.
"Arrived home yesterday – the Rail Trail experience was fabulous. Thank-you for your detailed coordination, and also for the birthday card – that was quite a surprise. Kaye and I wish to thank the All-Trails team for hosting and supporting us, and please pass our sincere gratitude to Ben – we couldn't have asked for a better host." Don & Kaye
Video footage courtesy of Goulburn River Valley Tourism
Towns and settlements along the way offer great places to explore, including historic landmarks and buildings, art galleries, museums, food and wine, shopping and markets
Magnificent scenery, beautiful natural features such as rivers, lakes, ranges and mountains
The animals, both farmed and native, seen on our reconnaissance tour including kangaroos & wombats
Cycling more than 40 historic railway bridges including the 380 metre long bridge across the 97% full Lake Eildon
Riding the 130 year old long brick Cheviot Tunnel
Historical railway stations alongside the trail
Three days of traffic free riding with the assurance of full time small group support
Scrumptious morning teas along the track & afternoon teas at your accommodation
2 course gourmet dinner at the famous Yea Peppercorn Restaurant
The blissful quiet. Only the sound of your bike on the trail and the birds in the trees
Susan enjoying the views on the reconnaissanse ride
Indulge in a beautiful evening meal at the Peppercorn Hotel in Yea (included in tour price)
"Mansfield to Tallarook Rail Trail"
You wake up to the morning bird calls and are feeling good after yesterday's invigorating ride. If it's Bonnie Doon you step out to enjoy the serenity - if it's Yea you step out onto the balcony to greet the day. You're up into the shower then joined by the others for a wholesome bike rider's breakfast. Then it is back on your bike and after about 15km down the rail trail we spoil you with morning tea and Susan's home-made muffins. Further along the trail you buy your own lunch from a choice of lovely little local cafes or historic pubs. After a day of high country sights we provide you with a cuppa and afternoon tea. Before dinner, explore the town or relax at our accommodation. Then share a delicious dinner, a celebratory drink and a few stories before bed. Tomorrow the riding continues. It is quite amazing the fun that can be had riding on this old train route, now a cyclist's paradise.
Meal and accommodation inclusions noted as B, L, D, A (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accommodation)
MANSFIELD to BONNIE DOON, 24km Saturday, 13th April 2013
To get to the start of the ride some cyclists will drive to Tallarook (near Seymour, approx 75 mins from Melbourne) and park there for the weekend. For those that want to get a lift from Melbourne, our 12 seater bus will leave at 8am from our office in Port Melbourne and also do a pickup at a CBD hotel if required and pre arranged. We take you, your bike and luggage to Tallarook, where we will pick up those that drove their cars, then we all travel together in the AllTrails bus for the 1.5 hr drive to Mansfield. Try and spot the rail trail which runs parallel with the road at times.
Arriving in Mansfield we suggest lunch at a great local produce cafe that also serves as an art gallery, then prepare ourselves and your bike for the ride. This 24 kilometre ride has a hard gravel surface, no significant hills and passes through a deep natural stone cutting, before crossing the 385 metres long Golden Gate style bridge over Lake Eildon. Along the route to Bonnie Doon, made famous by the movie 'The Castle' you might look back up at the way you came with the view of Mount Buller in the distance and think 'Oh, the serenity!'(Quote from movie) Accommodation tonight is in a nice country motel with dinner at the new restaurant 'The Bonnie Bar' famous for their great gourmet wood-fired oven pizzas.
BONNIE DOON to YEA, 63km Sunday, 14th April 2013
B D A
The trail takes you through the back blocks of the high country to the historic Merton Railway Station for a scrumptious morning tea. Then the trail follows a gradual climb to the highest point, which is only 80 metres higher than Mansfield. The long downhill that follows rolls along through stunning farmland offering beautiful views of the adjacent valley and leads to the historic township of Yarck for lunch. Here you can choose from three quaint cafes or the stone built pub. After lunch the trail leads you through the Goulburn River flood plains and many historic bridges that afford great views. It is also the best area to spot koalas. After crossing the Goulburn River on your private cyclist's bridge, the trail veers well away from any road and begins the slight climb to Cheviot Tunnel; a 200 metre long tunnel made in 1883 from over 600,000 handmade bricks. The tunnel is still in great condition and a real highlight of the ride. Then a gentle 8 kilometre downhill winds its way down the hill to the historic township of Yea for our overnight stay in the boutique Peppercorn Hotel, right next to the rail trail. Here we not only enjoy the beautiful accommodation, but also a dinner at their restaurant with a reputation for unique, top quality food, recently covered on Channel Nine's TV show postcards.
YEA to TALLAROOK, 38km Monday, 15th April 2013
You are 'Homewood' bound as the station name suggests. We rejoin the rail trail at the Yea Station building, which has been restored, as has the goods shed which is occupied by local artists. The cycling today is perhaps the prettiest part of the rail trail. The Goulburn River flows past massive old gum trees on your right as the trail cuts a flat, yet bending path through the landscape. Often it sits high above the surrounding farms and cuts straight through the tops of hills.
We enjoy morning tea at the historic Old School House Tearoom that displays work from local artists, including hand-made jumpers. While enjoying our scones with home-made jam we might ponder upon what the hundreds of men who toiled away for many seasons over 130 years ago might be thinking about the beautiful 'cycle path' that they created. We continue to the last railway station at Tallarook. Here we say our goodbyes to those returning home in their cars and travel back to Melbourne in the AllTrails bus.
Question not answered below?
Feel free to contact us at any time through our website ‘Contact Us’ page, phone or email. We love what we do and want to get you on the best bike ride for you. Speak to us about what's on your mind and we'll help you make your decision.
Getting there and back
Drive yourself to Tallarook, or for those that want to get a lift from Melbourne, our 12 seater bus will leave at 8am from our office in Port Melbourne and also do a pickup at a CBD hotel if required and pre arranged. We take you, your bike and luggage to Tallarook, near Seymour, where we meet those who have driven up, then all go to Mansfield in the AllTrails fun bus. Upon arrival in Mansfield we have lunch and prepare ourselves and our bikes before riding 24km to Bonnie Doon.
Type of bike and riding surface?
The primary riding surface is hard gravel, best suited to Mountain Bikes, though Hybrid and Road Bikes are also fine.
Is the riding safe?
Yes, that is one of the great things about a Rail Trail. With your own cycle trail there is no traffic to worry about, or cars overtaking you. You cycle the old rail trail route for the distance with no cycling on roads, you can't get lost, you cycle at your own pace with your friends two or even three abreast. If you do need support, our bus is never far away.
Can I get in the bus if needed?
Yes, our support bus is never far away if you need to jump for any reason.
Accidents - who can help?
We have a great safety record, but accidents can happen. We have comprehensive First-Aid Kits with trained 1st aiders as tour guides and drivers, mobiles and a satellite phone for emergency calls and the locality of hospitals in the areas that we travel through. We also have vehicles that can take anyone injured or sick for further treatment.
What sort of training do I need to do for this Rail Trail?
You really need to be a reasonably fit person, however not necessarily a fast or a highly experienced 'cyclist'. If you can sit on an average speed of 20 km/hr on a flat road, you will be fine. There is plenty of time to build your kilometer total distance in training, to gradually attain about 50km a day for 2 days straight.
What is the accommodation like?
We choose the best and most welcoming motel for cyclists and our tour group needs. Bonnie Doon is a good country motel where you will lap up the famous 'serenity' of the area, while Yea is a beautiful authentic heritage country escape.
Sharing rooms – how does it work?
On the online entry form you can nominate any travelling companions that you would like to share a room with and/or be accommodated close to so that couples or friends can be roomed together. This can be in a double bed or in twin beds. If you are travelling alone like many of our riders, you can choose to 'twin share' where single riders are paired with other riders of the same gender and sometimes changed at each accommodation to create interest in sharing rooms. Single Supplement is also available for those that would like their own room for the whole trip. If you are a chronic snorer or have other habits that may affect your fellow room-mates we suggest booking your own room.
Not a problem! You’ll find other like-minded cycling companions taking part in our rides. If you’re a solo traveller we will pair you with other solo travellers of the same gender in twin share accommodation or you can opt for Single Supplement (additional cost) to receive a room of your own.
Meals and Food
Always a big part of any cycling holiday! Check tour details for meal inclusions on your ride. Our emphasis is on fresh food and balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, fruit and vegies catering for a cycling holiday. We successfully cater to most dietary requirements, however feel free to contact us with any questions. Most meals are included as part of our tours, however you may be required to purchase some meals. See the 'Day to Day' tab for more details, or click the 'Generate Itinerary' button.
Do I need to carry anything on my bike?
We suggest you carry a spare tube, a full water bottle and your own personal goods such as camera, wallet and perhaps rain gear if it’s threatening. We transport your luggage, day packs, food & extra water. A detailed list of what is required and provided will be sent to you in your pre-tour info pack.
What bike mechanical assistance is provided?
A tour guide with bike mechanical knowledge will be part of our crew and will have most items that are required, including a good stand-pump for different valves. The bike parts used for replacement will be charged at shop prices. Labour is free for the first fifteen minutes, there after costs may be incurred at the mechanic's discretion. Cyclists with rare or different bikes are asked to contact us at AllTrails as parts can often be very difficult to obtain.
Can I bring a non-riding partner or a part-time rider?
Yes! We realise that often our riders want to spend their holidays with loved ones who may not be as keen on the bike as they are themselves – we are happy to accommodate those non-riding partners and part-time riders who want to only ride part of each day, or only certain days. We will generally try to allocate pickup points along the route every day.
Can I rent a bike?
We do not have a fleet of hire bikes ourselves however we have a few options for bike hire for those that do not have an appropriate bike for a rail trail. Get in touch with us for more details.
Can we rent a tandem bike?
Yes, you can. Our good friend Peter Howell hires tandems (including e-bike tandems) and if you want a tandem, he is your man. Pegasus Tandems stock a wide range of great imported tandem bicycles for you and your partner. Call Peter on 0427 200 533 or check out his website www.tandembicycles.com.au.
Can I talk to someone who has done one of your tours?
Absolutely. We will be happy to give you the names and telephone numbers of people who have participated in the ride or a similar ride that you are considering. Where possible we will provide you with the details of someone within your city or state.
Another good place to look is our ‘Testimonials’ page.
Do I need insurance to join the tour?
Travel Insurance for lost deposits and cancellations:
Lost deposits: We very strongly recommend you take out travel insurance for your trip. This should include cover for cancellation fees, lost deposits, and stolen or lost luggage (including your bike). We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. There are many unforseen reasons why cyclists may need to withdraw from a ride - injury, health, weddings, business, personal and many more. Cancellation fees can be a major financial loss to you and as a small business we need to adhere to our cancellation policies. Please go to the ride page on our website for your ride and click the 'Terms & Conditions' button to see the ride's cancel policy.
Travel Insurance: Domestic travel insurance cover tends to be significantly cheaper than international cover (approx $50 for one week). Above are two websites that offer both international and domestic travel insurance that you can look at. You can also speak to your local travel agent, or often airline booking websites will offer travel insurance as an optional extra as you book your flight.
This is also very strongly recommended. We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. Cycling can be a dangerous activity and you must be prepared for the worst. You may have an accident in training for the ride, on the ride itself, or cycling down to the corner dairy. If you are a cyclist coming on our tour you should be 100% prepared for the unexpected.
Cyclist insurance can be bought separately, or it comes with cycling memberships such as Bicycle Network Victoria or Bicycle Queensland. If you are involved in a crash or collision they will support you with personal injury costs, loss of income, third party liability insurance, assistance in completing your claim paper work & free legal consultation.
Life Insurance and TPD Insurance (often paid through your superannuation), and Private Health Insurance are also worth considering.
Bring your friends and save some money! For all groups of 3 or more entrants you will receive 5% discount off your respective entry fees, and 10% for 4 or more. This excludes any optional extras such pre and post tour accom, cycling jersey, t-shirt etc. Contact our office for more details and information.
I have a group who would like to know more. Can I book an info session?
Contact us if you would like to find out about booking an info session for your group of friends, or if you would like to find out about a travel talk happening near you in the future.
Be inspired, hear from the experts, learn more about a destination and even book your tour on the night.
What is the weather likely to be?
Our tours have been specifically scheduled to take into consideration the best time of year to travel to that destination. This takes into account the temperate range, possible rainfall and the prevailing winds. Of course, we can’t ever control the weather however this only adds to the adventure and excitement of your travel experience!
For more specific weather and climate information visit www.bom.gov.au or for our international tours visit www.worldweather.org
What if I need to change or cancel my tour?
We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance for all our Australian rides at the time of deposit and ensure that it includes coverage for cancellation fees if for some reason you are not able to travel. For our international tours we require all participants to have Travel Insurance to assist you in the event of a medical emergency, lost baggage, personal liability, cancelled tour or any other trip related issues.
Should you wish to change your booking with AllTrails to a different tour, there will be a very reasonable service charge. We try to keep this figure as low as possible to allow flexibility where we can as we want to make sure that you get on the right tour for you.
For cancellation and refund policies for your tour click the ‘Terms & Conditions’ button on the relevant tour page of our website.
What sorts of people join our rides?
People from all parts of Australia and overseas. Ages generally range from 30 - 70 with the average age about 50 years old. Adventurous cyclists usually about 40% women & 60% men with a mix of singles, friends and couples.
What to pack?
We recommend you bring a soft bag or backpack. We advise against bringing a suitcase as they are bulky, difficult to stow on board vehicles or trailers and heavy. You may be required to lift or carry your own luggage from time to time, e.g. into accommodation. Any excess luggage may need to be stored or forwarded on to your final destination at your own expense.
Information about what to pack is included as part of your Pre-Departure information. Generally we advise that you pack as light as possible.
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