Great Victorian Rail Trail
Great Victorian Rail Trail
4.5

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4.5
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bubbles135
Greater Melbourne, Australia146 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Couples
We had long anticipated our visit to the Mansfield area to try out our new gravel bikes, having been thwarted once by a Covid lockdown! So with Easter approaching we made a run for it. But boy, we’re we disappointed! We did three sections between Mansfield and Merton but apart from the trail there was nothing on offer- not a cafe, produce stop, winery, nothing! Perhaps closer to Yea and Tallarook there maybe something to stop for, but this section pretty dull. We enjoyed crossing the bridge at Bonnie Doon, but apart from the pub it’s hard to know if there is anything else. There certainly weren’t any signs suggesting it! I’m hoping the Gippsland trail offers a little more.
Written 4 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Todds38
Melbourne30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • Friends
Now called the Great Victorian Rail Trail, this is probably the best in Victoria. With the trail running from Mansfield to Tallarook, plus a spur to Alexandra, there is 130km of farmland, bush and lakes to explore. The grades are gentle, the track well constructed and will suit most riders. Food and coffee stops abound (think Bonnie Doon, Yarck, Yea). and now there's a bus shuttle available so you only have to ride one way!
Written 12 October 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rod g
Melbourne, Australia1,033 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Solo
This rail trail could have been brilliant, however and I am not entirely sure why, it falls short.
Having ridden a few other rail trails and also living in Mansfield and being a keen cyclist I often use this trail to stay off the roads during busy tourist peak times when the lunatics control the bitumen.
The surface which the shires have used is sharp and easily punctures touring tyres, so bring plenty of spare tubes, bottles of gas or repair kits. In the space of 4 months I had 5 punctures. This is with heavy duty tires and Mr Tuffy inner liners as well. I would have thought being a rail trail mainly for cyclists the overseeing body would have made it more cycle friendly???
At the Mansfield shire end, at each road crossing there are barriers which require some skill to ride around, many riders dismount and often people with trailers have to stop and open gates. These are impractical, the rest of the trailing the other shire zones are much easier to ride and in my opinion safer to us cyclists to use.
Recently the sides have been slashed by a tractor, be careful as the slasher has gouged deep ruts into the trail surface and these are dangerous. Once again no attempt to repair this potentially hazard.
There are a couple of private drive way crossings to look out for too, one near Yarck, which has deep white gravel, this is dangerous to cross, so be careful, the other of note is near Woodfield, it is wearing down, but it's on a downhill,run and if you hit it fast be ready to attempt to jump or hit the deck.
Thankfully the magpie season is over now but when they have their hormone imbalance in full flight wave a small stick above your head!! A few years ago I was riding Mansfield to Alexandra and back. A nasty magpie had taken a dislike to me between Yarck and Alex, for maybe 500m he relentlessly hammered my helmet and back. On the return trip I picked a stick maybe 2m long. What was I thinking? Maybe teach him a lesson?
How stupid am I?
The stick, I placed across my handlebars, it protruded either side maybe a couple for feet, 600mm for young people.
Satisfied I was going to do my best Dirty Harry on the punk magpie I hurtled down a fast 35kmh down hill section, treed either side, daydreaming about roast magpie I glanced down to see one side of my magpie mashing stick just hit a rather large tree....
Next thing I knew, I face planted into the tyre slashing surface, nothing broken other than skin, buckled front wheel, blood ect everywhere!
Lots of pain but after backing off my front brake, I gave up on the magpie mauling stick idea due to a very painful right wrist where it had been jerked around by the force of the bars being wrenched from my grip.
Limping along front wheel wobbling, me in pain and bleeding I approach the magpie danger zone. I felt certain he would sense my damaged state.
And so he did.
Another 500m of helmet pecking, much worse this time due to the injuries not only
to body but pride as well.
I called my wife after 5 Kms of pain wracked wobbling along and asked her to meet me at the Yarck pub so I could get a lift home. The girl behind the bar couldn't believe her eyes when I walked in. Looking in the bar mirror I could see why. My face was covered in blood and gravel, my shirt torn, both hands bloody and also covered in gravel and my helmet badly damaged. She reckoned I had just been cleaned up by a B double and survived to tell the tale! Ha!
Hope you enjoyed that little diversion!
Anyhow back to the rail trail and what else I know...
Food places are getting much better, at bonnie don, there is a little cafe bar called the bonnie bar, with coffee and snacks, pizza and it's licensed too. The other place is hardly cyclist friendly when I went in there the fried food and scowling bloke behind the counter both looked at me with disdain.
Merton is ok for a stop but again the fast food is what you would expect.
Yarck is booming although with the Tea Rooms closing it has lost a little gloss, however the goat is firing on all fours and the pub is worth a visit too. The general store has reasonable pies too although the goat gets my vote.
Yea has plenty of bakeries too, most are ok and the fast food joints are just that so be careful. The red plate cage is worth a look and also the peppercorn hotel in the past has been very good.
The riding.
A little while ago I rode from Mansfield to tallarook, it was around 5 hours ride time with a luch stop at yea. The trail is easy riding although the cheviot tunnel is very dark inside so take a little while to let your eyes adjust to the darkness.
During summer there are plenty of snakes present. Stay well clear, stamp your feet heavily or toss small stones or sticks near them from safe distance. Mostly browns although I have seen blacks too. The browns are the most agresssive, I have yet to see a tiger, late February/ march is breeding season and it is around this time they are most aggressive.
As for hills, the most severe is around 4-5%, imagine a train going up these things! none are too hard although where the old rail bridges are no longer in place thee are some steeper pinches which require a little effort.
Probably the trail near the goulburn river is most picturesque, although the bridge across the lake at doon is quite speccy too.
I guess on the whole we are lucky to have this asset to use, too bad it is not sealed like the trail from wang to bright. Eventually more and more tourist operators will spring up and the trail will be serviced by cycle friendly vendors as they realise the potential of us as customers.
Written 19 November 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fleur P
Melbourne, Australia34 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Family
Our family of 4 (kids 10 & 12) rode the section from Maindample to Bonnie Doon. It's not a long stretch but it takes you over the bridge at Bonnie Doon. It was 33 degrees the day we rode. We should have started out earlier as there isn't much shade along the track. The ride is not too taxing with a few down hill stretches.
Written 14 March 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

g0girlmelb0urne
Melbourne, Australia59 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Family
We did these 2 bike trails with our 12 year old son: Yea to Tallarook & Mansfield to Boonie Doon. Both stretches are very picturesque with lush pastures, eucalyptus trees and gently rolling hills. While we are experienced riders, the trail is well laid and an achievable ride for beginners. We discovered a lovely Devonshire tea room on the trail in Trawool. Delicious homemade scones and a pot of tea were enjoyed in the garden overlooking the distant hills.
The information office distributes a bike trail booklet which can be a little misleading. The booklet mentions 3 towns: Granite, Kerrisdale and Homewood - none were sign posted so don't rely on them for refreshments or toilet stops. There are environmental type toilets along the track - but no drinkable water so be prepared.
Written 12 April 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kitcaboodle1
Melbourne, Australia1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014
We rode the entire trail from Tallarook to Mansfield via Alexander and return in 5 days over Australia day weekend. It was one of the best trails we have done, beautiful scenery consisting of rolling hills, gum trees, old farming sheds, sheep, cattle, rivers, dams, all what you expect in country Victoria. The trail is not difficult as gradient is manageable. You will need a mountain bike or hybrid as surface can be gravelly in some areas and hard compact sand may have some ruts developed after riding on it during a wet day. I highly recommend the trail. You can easily do smaller sections as parking is available in most towns. All of the trail is fabulous no matter where or which direction you are traveling
Written 27 January 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marjorie J
Brisbane, Australia199 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Couples
My husband and I planned to ride from Yea to Bonnie Doon on one day, ride Bonnie Doon to Mansfield return the next then ride back to Yea on day 3. However, the night before we were due to start it rained heavily and we only managed to get about 4 or so km out of Yea when we struck wet gravelly, goopy light coloured sand. With cycle touring loads we just sinking into it and when we stopped just couldn't get started again as we couldn't get enough speed up in the goop to get our balance. We ended up going back to Yea where fortunately we had our car and just drove to Bonnie Doon. On the way we could see that the track was dark in parts and when we rode from Bonnie Doon to Mansfield return, that dark surface was absolutely fine. Much more compacted and firm. The trail seems to keep on changing from fine sandy gravel to dark little rocks but we don't know if we hit the one and only goopy bit or whether it is like this on several parts. Such as shame as we were so looking forward to it. The Murray to Mountains from Wangaratta to Bright is an all weather surface. We also did the High Country Rail Trail from Albury to Old Tallangatta in dry weather but I think that would have been fine after rain as it seemed well compacted.
Written 6 November 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ivan S
Melbourne, Australia6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Family
The scenery is varied and interesting - avenues of trees (both natives and introduced), farm land, Bonnie Doon bridge, gentle gradients and a robust surface all make for a great ride. In addition to farm animals (including calves and lambs), we also saw deer and birds of prey. The trail is in good condition (no ruts or water damage). However don't try it on a road bike, there are areas where the gravel is a bit deeper than ideal and in some places the shoulders are soft so keep concentrating. The barriers at road crossings aren't a consistent size and shape and if you have cleats it's probably best to unhook when navigating the barriers. The towns are ideally placed and we had great food and accommodation in Mansfield and the cars were untouched overnight at Yarck and Alexandra. I love that so many men worked so hard to build the railway line over a hundred years ago (with pick, shovel, bullock and dray) and even though it's no longer used as a railway line - us and future generations get the benefit of a great ride through the Australian bush and farm land. Well done and a very big thank you to everyone involved in giving us this rail trail.
Written 7 April 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patrick_Keogh
Canberra, Australia249 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2013 • Solo
I have ridden rail trails in Spain, New Zealand and Australia and this one would have to rate as one of the best. The surface is good and the scenery varied. There are enough towns along the route for lunch, coffee etc. The navigation is easy with the trail being effectively continuous from Mansfield to Tallarook.

I rode Mansfield to Yarck on day 1, which got me there early afternoon despite an 11am start and a leisurely lunch at Bonnie Doon. The first section down to Bonnie Doon is almost exclusively down hill, with views of farmland and the mountains. The ride over Lake Eildon on the rail bridge is quite spectacular. We had lunch (and a couple of local beers) at the Bonnie Bar. After lunch the ride to Yarck is undulating and rather exposed, so be wary of days with a strongish westerly.

Accommodation mixup at Yarck (in combination with the very busy Easter weekend) meant that we stayed the night beyond Alexandria. So day 2 started from Alexandria rather than Yarck. This was excellent: the entire ride to Yea is quite beautiful. A 5km uphill at the very beginning was enough to get the body warmed up, then it was gently downhill untill the climb from Molesworth to the Cheviot Tunnel, then all downhill to Yea. This is where the ride finished for me, although glimpses from the road would indicate that the section from Yea to Tallarook is just as pretty.

The surface is not suitable for 23mm-25mm road tyres - I was on 37mm tourers and they were perfect. The track is fairly busy, I passed around 50-60 riders in the two days.
Written 1 April 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John N
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Friends
we rode slowly and gently from Tallarook to Mansfield via Alexandra, Taungurung country, over 4 days. You could easily do short rides from any of the main towns. Well made gravel track, a bit loose in parts. I was on a flat bar road bike with 700 x 32 tyres and good tread, and it was easy enough riding. Couldn't do it on slick road tyres. Good toilets along the way, but no drinking water except in the main towns. There's a mix of well shaded and open stretches. It's a very peaceful ride, and absolutely beautiful country. The best bike ride I've been on. Sincere thanks to those who built the track, (and those who built the original railway)
Written 19 February 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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GREAT VICTORIAN RAIL TRAIL (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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