We had a lovely trip a late last year cycling some of the rail trials in Victoria.  We have received a number of enquiries from people who are interested in doing this. 

What we usually do is we select a base from which to do most of our rides and add something in the beginning and at the end.  This time we decided to make Foster our base. 

We left home and stayed in Cooma for the night before driving on the next day.  Whilst driving the road to Cann River Willemina mentioned that next time she would drop me off at Bombala and I could cycle all the way down to Cann River (about 60 kms) as the road seemed mostly downhill with some undulations, and as it was a Sunday there was hardly any traffic on the road.

We stayed in Orbost for two nights as we had driven past the place a few times in the past and it looked very attractive to us.  We got a cabin in the caravan park with the river across the road.  We did find a good coffee shop too. We decided to do a section of the East Gippsland Rail Trail from Orbost to Nowa Nowa which is 80 kms return.  This section of the rail trail is quite rough but rideable, we reduced the air pressure in the tyres and decided to take it very easy, it was in better condition than the previous time we did this section.  We have not been able to locate a good coffee shop in Nowa Nowa yet, but yes there was coffee. The other sections of the rail trail are much easier, from Nowa Nowa to Bruthen was a good gravel surface when we did it a number of years ago and from Bruthen to Bairnsdale was bitumen.  

We then went on to Foster to do the Great Southern Rail Trail and stayed in the caravan park, the cabin was good.  Foster is a lovely town and just before we left they finished the road works so now the centre of town looks quite attractive - there are a few coffee shops and one pub with reasonable meals.  The first day we cycled the section from Foster to Port Welshpool, about 50 kms return.  There was not a lot of shelter and as it was supposed to be a hot day we left early in the morning to beat the hottest time of the day.  Lovely ocean views in Port Welshpool and we did find a lovely coffee shop.  The next day we cycled from Foster to Meeniyan, 60 kms return, the map shows a hill but as it is over a long distance and not really very high the hill was hardly noticeable.  The views were lovely and there were a number of coffee shops to choose from.  The next day we put the bikes on the car and went to Mirboo North to cycle the Grand Ridge Rail Trail (less than one hour's drive) about 28 kms return, yes I know it is quite short but very enjoyable, one way is slightly downhill the return ride is slightly uphill, coffee was only available at the start or finish.  The day after we put the bikes on the car again and went to Wonthaggi to do the Bass Coast Rail Trail (less than one hour's drive).  We had done this one before as well and at that time it was about 35 kms return but we discovered that it had been extended a bit and now it is about 45 kms return, there was one coffee stop only in Kilcunda.  We had to ride back a bit faster as we had not noticed that during our coffee stop the thunder clouds had started rolling in, we made it back to the car just in time.  The next day we put the bikes on the car again to do the final section of the Great Southern Rail Trail from Meeniyan to Leonghatta, 35 kms return and you can make it a bit longer by discovering Leonghatta. 

We then decided to stay in Warburton in the caravan park for a few days and did the Warburton to Lilydale Rail Trail, 80 kms return.  As it was another hot day we were a bit concerned about the return trip but as there was quite a bit of shade and most of it slightly downhill it was not too bad.  The next day we did a section of O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail.  We cycled to the start at Dee Road in Millgrove where there was a very steep hill to get to the start and we had to walk up the hill but it was well worth the effort, the trail along the aquaduct was lovely, we only did a 6 km section and could have gone further but as it was going to be hot again we decided to leave that to another time. 

We then decided to do some sections of the Great Victorian Rail Trail, but as the weather forecast was not too good we decided to do rides a bit closer to the caravan park where we were staying, in Taggerty.  We did a ride one day from Taggerty to Eildon on the highway, hardly any traffic, a couple of undulations and a lovely coffee stop in Eildon, with some lovely views of the lake, around 50 kms return.  We also were going to do a ride from Alexandra to Eildon via Back Eildon Road but as there were a number of hills we decided not to go all the way as it was another very hot day, all up it would have been about 50 kms return but we did about 30 kms return. 

We have done other rail trails as well in Victoria and they are all different and have their own attractions, some have beautiful views, others have leafy areas, some have nice cycling paths, others are really quiet.

We did notice a number of signs in some of the towns that their accommodation is bicycle friendly, some even mention lock up bicycle storage facilities.

On the way back home we decided to stay in Tumut for a few days in the caravan park as we always enjoy our spot on the river.  As it was going to be another hot day we decided to do a ride on the Lacmalac Road for about 1 1/2 hour and then return, it goes for about 20+ kms and then becomes gravel.  We were really surprised how lovely the countrywide was.  When having a coffee before the return drive home we were surprised to see with another BikeNorth member in the coffee shop who had been walking and cycling in the area - you can ride but not hide.

All in all we did about 550 kms in 11 rides and if the weather would have cooperated we would have done more kms.

Information about all rail trails in Australia: https://www.railtrails.org.au/