Location: Wangaratta, Bright, Rutherglen, Milawa, Beechworth, Myrtleford, Wandiligong
Open: No seasonal closures
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
More information: murraytomountains.com.au
Whisk yourself away to the best developed rail trail in Victoria, the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail and dive into the heart of the Victorian alpine region. Savour delightful hidden valleys with views, spectacular mountain scenery and the bounty of gourmet producers, renowned cellar doors, cafes and craft brewers. Cool down in rivers and streams along the way.
Meandering through the Ovens Valley, the 100-kilometre sealed off-road trail is a spine from which a web of interconnected trails take you from the flatlands around Wangaratta to the famous alpine town of Bright, or Beechworth, Milawa, Rutherglen, Wahgunyah and Wandiligong.
No matter your age or riding ability, the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail offers sections to suit cycling adventurers or casual cyclists
Along the old railway line
Easily accessible via V/Line train from Melbourne, Wangaratta is a convenient place to begin. Starting from the Old Wangaratta Station in the middle of Apex Park and follow the path taken by the old railway line – first north to a tunnel under Wangaratta Roadd, following the levee and a brief section beside the road before you arrive at Bowser, the first of the steam locomotive–themed rest areas.
Take care as you proceed from Bowser through the narrow tunnel under the highway, and don’t miss the sharp right-hand turn on the other side. Once through you are greeted by flat farmland and soon you arrive at the junction at Old Everton station.
Beechworth or Bright? You decide
At Old Everton station you have two options: break away and take the trail uphill to the historic town of Beechworth; or continue on the main trail through the valley and on towards Bright.
While not arduous, the climb to Beechworth is steady going through beautiful bushland and birdsong, and the reward is the gorgeous town at the summit. Beechworth offers visitors many excellent history, dining and accommodation options.
Back on the main trail
The main trail pushes on through farm and pasture that gives way to bushland at the crest of Taylors Gap – an impressive cutting in its time – and descends gently into tranquil Myrtleford. Discover local history, including the historic tobacco-drying shed and the Big Tree. Myrtleford makes the perfect place to spend the night if you have a leisurely schedule.
When leaving Myrtleford take care to follow the signs through the town as the trail predominantly follows roads here. Picking up the dedicated rail trail once more on the other side of Myrtleford, you cross the Great Alpine Road and continue the gradual ascent to Porepunkah. If it's a warm day, don't miss the chance to take a dip in the Ovens River.
The valley deepens and as the mountains on either side rise above you, the plateau of Mt Buffalo looms to the west as you arrive in the gorgeous tourist town of Bright. Bright is home to many eating, drinking and accommodation options.
The trail is highly accessible, with each town providing the opportunity to join the trail. There are many more points where you can get on or off outside of these town boundaries, which makes tailoring your journey a breeze.
Suggested shorter options
Everton – Beechworth – Everton, 32km return
A great out-and-back experience. An adjunct to the main trail, the Everton to Beechworth leg asks you to work hard during a steady climb up from the valley floor through bushland, paddocks and wineries to the scenic and historic town of Beechworth. Spend the night in this famous town and enjoy fine dining at Provenance Restaurant. If you're doing it in a day, get a takeaway lunch from the famous Beechworth Bakery and eat it in the Chinese Gardens, then drop the gears to low and cruise downhill right back to Old Everton Station. Mountain bikers shouldn't miss cutting a run on the purpose-built Flame Trees Mountain Bike Trail on the way down.
Suggested wheelchair accessible options
Bright to Porepunkah, 6km one way
A section offering a consistent downhill gradient that starts in beautiful Bright. As you make your way along the old railway corridor the plateau of Mount Buffalo looms as a constant presence to the west before you arrive to Porepunkah and the cool waters of the Ovens River.