Get Away with Dre – Rail Trails around Australia
A rail trail is a recycled and repurposed railway line for you to enjoy on foot, bike, scooter or horse back.
If you think about it, we have multiple railway lines that run throughout the country from way back when. They use to run through local towns to transport certain agricultural products between different sites. A lot of these railway lines closed down either because certain industries utilising the trains ceased production, the trains were too expensive to run, or the line became obsolete.
So what do we do with all these old railway lines? Local councils built and manage a shared-use path recycled from these abandoned railway corridors. A brilliant initiative to repurpose those lines, get people out and push tourism in local rural villages and towns! It also brings back the tourism these towns lost when the train lines closed.
The trails are usually made up of sealed pathways or gravel paths, so it’s pram and wheelchair accessible. Some sections may leave off to single track for you to do some dirt exploring on foot or bike.
Each rail trail varies in length, so you can choose to do the entire length and back, or in sections. If it’s a long trail, you can do what we did and do a bikepack by stopping and staying the night in a town or camp site along the way before continuing on.
Here are some rail trails you can do:
- Northern Rivers Rail Trail, NSW – 24kms
In North East NSW, via Murwillimbah and Casino. Only one section of this trail is open and ready to take on, which is the Murwillimbah to Crabbes Creek sections which just opened in March this year.
It goes through World Heritage Listed region, starting at the heritage listed Murwillimbah Railway Station, before travelling through beautiful scenery and passing through four villages before arriving at Crabbes Creek.
What’s even better is that you’ll be passing through the Tweed Region – an area known for it’s art, music and award winning restaurants. So before setting off check out the Tweed Regional Gallery, Margaret Olley Art Centre and the Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillimbah.
While doing the trail, stop at the local markets for replenishments, and why not treat yourself to lush meal – you deserve it!
- Riverina Highland Rail Trail, NSW – 21kms
In the southern NSW, inbetween NSW and Victoria, this rail trail runs between Tumbarumba and Rosewood. It opened in 2020, and is NSW’s first rail line trail on a government rail line. You’ll find remnants of the railway tracks in Rosewood.
It passes through sub-alpine countryside and farmland, and you’ll get to see the Snowy Mountains and Mt Kosciusko along the way.
What’s even better is that there are a few winery cellar doors close to Tumbarumba so you can stop for a much needed “break”.
There’s Paddy River Falls, a Pioneer Women’s Hut Museum, and Tumbarumba has an awesome network of mountain bike trails at Police Paddock with a good pump track there as well.
- High Country Rail Trail, VIC – 80kms
Highly recommend this one on bike or foot. We did this as an out-and-back over two days on bike. The trail goes from Wodonga to Shelley and runs alongside Lake Hume, through the high country (which is exquisite), and through private land.
It’s 80 kms one-way, making it 160kms in total for an out-and-back. We only rode 130kms because the last 26kms is a steep gradient between Bullioh and Shelley – it’s the steepest gradient trains can manage. We only made it to Koetong, literally just 15 kms shy of Shelley. But overall, we had a great ride so I’m not fussed.
It’s a well maintained and sign posted pathway that also takes you over several bridges. The Sandy Creek Bridge is the longest and most picturesque. You pass several reserves to rest and take a dip – it was really hot on our trip so that was a refreshing stop-over.
I would advise to stop at the town of Tallengatta along the way. This would be roughly your halfway point and you should stock up on water and food there because it becomes remote after.
If you’re interested in all the rail trails Australia has to offer, visit www.railtrails.org.au. You can search per state and choose one to go out and explore,