Great Victorian Rail Trail vs the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail

Cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail near Bright
Cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail near Bright

Great Victorian Rail Trail vs Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail

In the state of Victoria, there are two iconic Rail Trails that make for great cycling experiences.

In this article, we’ll discuss the cycle routes of the Great Victorian Rail Trail and the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail. Hopefully, you’ll be able to choose which trail you want to complete on your next cycling adventure! 
Cyclists near Yea Station in Victoria's high country

About the Great Victorian Rail Trail

The Great Victorian Rail Trail is one of Australia’s longest continuous rail-trails, stretching 134km from Mansfield to Tallarook (about 100km north of Melbourne). Like all rail trails, it follows a former railway line. Fortunately, all the rails have been replaced with granitic sand so you can enjoy smooth cycling the whole way. 
The Great Victorian Rail Trail opened in 2012 as part of the Australian government’s efforts to revitalise the region after it was devastated by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. It was formerly known as the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail.
Cyclists crossing the Goulburn River |  <i>Robert Blackburn</i>

Highlights of the Great Victorian Rail Trail

Cycling through Victoria's longest rail-trail tunnel, the historic Cheviot Tunnel. This is a 200m tunnel created in 1883 and features 675,000 handmade bricks using local clay. It’s the only tunnel on the Great Victorian Rail Trail.

Absorb idyllic Australian landscapes during the whole journey. You’ll cycle alongside the Goulburn River, through the beautiful Trawool Valley and admire panoramic views of the High Country. Plus, there’s the magical Yea wetlands and don’t forget to detour to the famous Bonnie Doon ‘The Castle’ holiday house.
Great Victorian Rail Trail |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

A standout is the scattering of local businesses on the trail, from home made lemonade in a honesty based stall to Dindi Naturals just off the trail in Yarck where all their natural soap products are showcased, and Koala Cherries with its sublime cherry ice cream. Staying in old world hotels in Yea and Alexandra with their impressive gourmet meals and tastefully decorated rooms and common areas, offers a chance to discover true Victorian hospitality.
The historic Cheviot Tunnel is a key feature of the Tallarook to Mansfield Rail Line |  <i>Robert Blackburn</i>

Review of the Great Victorian Rail Trail Cycle

"Great trip - the Great Victorian Rail Trail is a beautiful trail. The surrounding countryside is picturesque - it has beautiful rivers, hills in the distance, grazing animals, small country towns …. 
The trail itself was well maintained, even after lots of rain. Although the water flooded the trail still in 2 sections, it was easy to ride those sections on the highway ( not particularly busy and with a side track for bicycles). The accommodation chosen by Australian Cycle Tours was good - quaint country hotels, comfortable, with storage for bicycles. The people were very welcoming. Each town I stayed in was interesting to explore and there were some great food options, from pub grub to fine dining. 
Australian Cycle Tours were very responsive to any issues I raised, both prior to and during the trip. On-ground partners (wjho managed transport of luggage each day, pick up on the last day etc) were very efficient, friendly and helpful." Kauaiguest on TripAdvisor.
Cycling the leafy bike paths of Victoria |  <i>Ride High Country</i>

About the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail

The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail highlights the stunning scenery of Victoria’s alpine region. This cycle path links Wangaratta to Bright, in the north-east of the state, and follows the former Bright railway line for approximately 100km.  
The whole length is sealed, allowing users an enjoyable, gentle ride. It’s been labelled as Victoria’s best-developed rail trail.

Cycle up Mount Buffalo, a nice challenge off the main Murray to Mountains Rail Trail |  <i>Josie Withers</i>

Highlights of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail

Encounter picturesque views with every bend of the trail. You’ll be amazed by Eucalyptus lined farmlands, sublime mountain ranges, sprawling vineyards and hidden valleys.
Reward yourself with regional delicacies. The fertile valleys of northern Victoria are ideal for growing produce and as such the area is abundant in gourmet foods, craft breweries, cellar doors and artisanal delights. Foodies - this cycling trip is for you.
Explore the well-preserved historic town of Beechworth, which was once a thriving centre in the mid-19th century gold rush boom.

You'll encounter interesting cyclists on the Murray to the Mountains rail trail |  <i>Bruce Baker</i>

Review of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Cycle

"Our Murray to the Mountains short break was superb. The bikes were comfortable, the support crew awesome, the accommodation excellent and the gentle ride and autumn views were so so beautiful! We’d highly recommend this activity." B. Linsell.
Victoria's High Country is pretty to cycle in autumn |  <i>Ride High Country</i>

Trip Gradings

Due to the high maintenance of the trails and generally flat terrain, we grade both of these routes as introductory. There are some gentle ascents and descents that cyclists of all abilities can handle. The Great Victorian Rail Trail is slightly more strenuous with an average of 37km per day.

As these tours are all self-guided, you determine the pace and schedule. Both trails are shared by walkers and horses, and neither has any road traffic.
Cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail near Bright

Self-Guided Rail Trail Cycling Tours

We have segmented the Murray to the Mountains trip into 2 different adventures. For those after a little getaway there’s the Short Break, which is a 4-day trip. And for those with the luxury of more time, you can complete the comprehensive Murray to the Mountains Downhill Edition over 5-days.

The Great Victorian Rail Trail Trip is a 6-day self-guided adventure that takes you along the entire route. It starts in Mansfield, at the foothills of the Victorian Alps, and finishes in Tallarook – the end of the line! 

All tours include daily luggage transfers and comfortable, hand-picked accommodation that’s been chosen for their local charm, location, and value. We provide 27-speed hybrid bikes that include helmets, panniers and locks. E-bikes can also be used at an additional cost. Take a look at the specific trip for detailed information.
The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail starts at the Beechworth Gardens |  <i>Chris Buykx</i>

Which Rail Trail will you be pedalling along? Let us know in the comment section below.


Comments (2)

Kimberley McEwan

Can you give me more information for the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Cycle dates for 2025, cost and whats included. We are a group of 6 Canadians.

3 weeks ago

Hi Kimberley,

Thanks for reaching out! One of our team members have gotten in touch with you directly over email with 2025 tour information. The Murray to Mountains is a great way to see regional Victoria - you're in for a fun time!


3 weeks ago
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