This well developed bike trail consists of three separate trails, all with a sealed surface for their entire length. As usual with the longer Rail Trails you can either complete this in a 2-4 day cycle tour, or ride a small section of it.
This rail trail is right in the middle of a wine and food mecca so their is plenty to see and do whilst in the area.
- The main "Mountain" section from Wangaratta to Bright and Beechworth is 97 km in length. It has moderate grades between Wangaratta and Bright and a significant grade from Everton up to historic Beechworth. The trail follows the picturesque Ovens Valley and has beautiful views of Mt Buffalo.
- The "Murray" section from Rutherglen to Wahgunyah is 8 km in length. The trail traverses this famous wine producing area and is basically flat, ending on the Murray River.
- The "Heritage" section from Wangaratta to Oxley is 9 km in length. The trail traverses farmland and is basically flat as it heads towards the gourmet region of Milawa.
The main section inlude:
Wangaratta Station to Bowser (8km)
The railway to Bright left the main Melbourne to Albury line at Bowser, 8km north of Wangaratta and a network of pathways, levee banks and disused roads are now used to reach Bowser.
- Follow the signs from Wangaratta railway station to the trail start at Apex Park next to Ovens River.
- From the park, a pathway runs under the road and onto a flood levee bank before parallelling the Wangaratta Rd to Bowser, which has the first of three unique steam locomotive themed rest areas. Also at Everton and Eurobin.
Bowser to Everton station (18km)
- The trail now crosses flat farmland with distant views of the Everton Hills.
- After 11km the site of Tarrawingee station is reached and the trail climbs gently to the Everton station site, which was a junction to Beechworth or Bright.
- It's also a junction for the rail trail: Beechworth heads off to the left; Myrtleford and Bright to the right.
At the Wangaratta – Eldorado Rd, cyclists can make an on-road diversion to the impressive Cock’s dredge at Eldorado, returning to the trail on the Eldorado – Tarrawingee Rd (18km round trip).
Everton station site to Beechworth (16km)
- This section is peaceful and attractive with a mixture of bushland and farmland surrounds. This has one of the steepest grades allowed for a broad gauge branchline so some may find the gradual climb challenging.
- The last section is a gentle descent to the old Beechworth station. Turn left at Albert St and follow it into town, or continue on to the Lake Sambell Reserve trail and Chinese Gardens.
Historic Beechworth has many attractions and numerous festivals and events throughout the year.
Everton station site to Myrtleford (26km)
- This section undulates through farmland and native bushland up toTaylors Gap. The original cutting here has been filled in to improve the Great Alpine Road.
- A gentle descent begins into into Myrtleford.
- At Myrtleford much of the railway easement has been sold so follow the signs through town.
Myrtleford is a major regional centre with plenty of accommodation and facilities.
Myrtleford to Bright (30km)
- The trail resumes the original alignment at Jones Reserve and crosses the Great Alpine Rd 600m later.
- The trail rises at a gentle continuous grade as it follows the Ovens Valley up to Bright. Mt Buffalo looms on the right and the high country approaches in front.
- Farms growing berries and grapes may tempt you to make a detour to taste their wares.
- At Porepunkah the trail passes under the highway bridge. Take a dip in the nearby Ovens River if the day is warm enough.
- The trail follows the Back Porepunkah Rd and returns to the railway corridor.
- The end of the trail is reached 2km later at the old Bright railway station, now a museum open Sundays or by arrangement.
Bright is also a very popular tourist town with its deciduous trees and proximity to the alpine area..
Rutherglen to Wahgunyah (8 km)
- The station at Rutherglen is easy to find, look for the wheat silos behind the historic main street.
- The trail traverses vineyards and farmlands to Wahgunyah, signalled by the large Uncle Toby's production centre.
- At Wahgunyah some of the track has been left in place for possibly use by the local rail heritage group. The trail then continues on to finsh alongside Australia's iconic Murray River.
Both Rutherglen and Corowa / Wahgunyah are well set up to cater for tourists.
Wangaratta to Oxley (9 km)
- The formal rail trail commences adjacent to Targoora Park recreation reserve and travels in the Wangaratta to Whitfield Road reseve as did the rail line.
- Before reaching the Hume Freeway the path crosses to the east side of the road reseve to pass under the Freeway adjacent to the King River.
- After rejoining the road reserve the trail crosses to the west side and continues to and crosses the Glenrowan to Myrtlefordf Rd which is the current terminus of the rail trail.
A shared path continues by crossing the Wangaratta to Whitfield Road and proceeds adjacent to the road towards Oxley and Milawa townships.
The branch railway to Beechworth opened in 1875, and was extended to Yackandandah in 1891. A second branch line was built from Everton to Myrtleford in 1883 and extended to Bright in 1890. Everton was an important regional railway junction but little evidence of it remains now. The line to Yackandandah was closed in 1956 and the last train ran to Beechworth in 1977.
Beechworth, originally known as Mayday Hills, was a major goldmining centre in the 1850s. You can explore traces of this activity at Woolshed Falls, the Gorge Scenic Drive and the Old Powder Magazine. Beechworth Historic Park surrounding the town, has unusual cypress-pine/box woodland and box-leaf wattle.
The line to Bright was popular in the early 20th century with tourists visiting the picturesque town of Bright and the Mt Buffalo Chalet, built and owned by the Victorian Railways. The line closed in 1987. Construction of the present rail trail began in Bright in 1993 and finished in 2002 to Wangaratta and Beechworth.
The rail line from from Springhurst to Wahgunyah was opened in 1879. The passenger service was withdrawn on 13 April 1962, the last branch line mixed train to operate in Victoria. Goods services were suspended in 1995. The rail trail between the winery town of Rutherglen and Wahgunyah, on the Murray River was completed in 2009.
The original King Valley rail route which ran 49 km from Wangaratta to Whitfield was Victoria's original narrow gauge line built to the two foot six configuration after a last minute change from two foot. The line first ran on 14 March with an official opening on 29 April 1899. The line closed on 12 September 1953.
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