Rail Trail Self Guided Cycle Tours.
Take yourself on a journey over rivers, under trees, beside farmland and through forests on the East Gippsland Rail Trail, stretching for nearly 100 km between Bairnsdale and Orbost in Eastern Victoria, Australia. Just bring yourself, your clothes and a camera while we provide your bikes, maps and information, transport your luggage, book your accommodation and arrange your return transport.
You may also be interested in our Rail Trail Ride events in April and October 2016 .
Bike Hire: good quality mountain bikes with rack and bag, basic tools and spare tube, men's and womens seats and a breakdown replacement guarantee. - from $40 per day.
Maps and Information: Rail Trail map and locality maps, comprehensive information including emergency contacts, where to eat and sights along the trail.
Luggage Transport: $15 per person. (One bag up to 12 kg, plus 1 closed crate or esky between 2 people) Weekend surcharge may apply.
Accommodation: Options include luxury B and B, self contained houses or cottages, basic pubs and backpacker style accommodation. Price varies with group size and accommodation type.
Return transport: From $50 per person, Orbost - Bairnsdale or Bairnsdale - Orbost. Minimum fee applies.
See the movie! Three days from Orbost to Bairnsdale, made by one of our riders in March 2014: http://youtu.be/iRdlPjdmsMk
Booking Enquiry Form. Send us this form and we will send you a proposed itinerary and quote based on your preferences for dates, number of days and accommodation. The information provided below will help you decide what will suit you best. If you have any questions, just pick up the phone!
Our fleet consists of mountain bikes in a range of sizes with front suspension, comfortable mens and womens seats, fat tyres with deep tread and a wide range of gears to make riding in any conditions comfortable. We have both standard MTBs and womens style with the low step through frame. Bikes come with a rack and bag on the back, water bottle holders, spare tube and basic tools.
For small people we have 24" wheel 10 speed kids MTBS, and even a 20" 3 speed. We also have a tagalong, giving small kids independant seat, handlebars and pedals while attached to an adults bike. For very small people we can provide a bike seat - this is generally best suited to short distances each day for the comfort of the child.
We have a 'replacement guarantee': if your bike has a breakdown other than a flat tyre, we will replace (or repair) it for you on the trail.
The trail can be ridden over 2, 3 or 4 days, depending on how far you wish riding in one day and whether you add up to 33 kilometres by riding the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail loop. Below are some possible itineraries, which can be ridden in either direction.
Three days, 99km. Day 1: Bairnsdale - Bruthen (30km); Day 2: Bruthen to Nowa Nowa/ Tostaree (27/37 km) Day 3: Nowa Nowa/ Tostaree to Orbost ( 40/30 km).
Four days, 132 km. Day 1: Bairnsdale - Bruthen (30km); Day 2: Bruthen to near Lakes Entrance via Gippslannd Lakes Discovery Trail (approx 30km); Day 3: Lakes Entrance to Nowa Nowa (approx 30km); Day 4: Nowa Nowa to Orbost (42 km).
Two days, 99 km. Day 1 Bairnsdale to Nowa Nowa/ Tostaree (57/ 65 km); Day 2 Nowa Nowa/Tostaree to Orbost (42/34 km).
Three days, 132 km. Day 1: Bairnsdale to Bruthen (30km); Day 2: Bruthen to Nowa Nowa VIA Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail loop (54); Day 3: Nowa Nowa to Orbost (42 km).
There are also several options for extending the trip by 15 - 20 km at the Orbost end of the trail, leaving the trail a little before it's end to loop out onto roads that follow the Snowy River back into Orbost.
Rail Trail Day:
Ride the rail trail from Orbost to Nowa Nowa (40 km), and get picked up in Nowa Nowa for return transport to Orbost. More info.
There is a variety of accommodation available along the trail including luxury bed and breakfast, self contained cottages and houses, basic pubs and backpacker style accommodation. Not all accommodation types are available at each township along the route. Based on your accommodation and itinerary preferences, we will recommend the best fit to your needs.
Bairnsdale and Orbost at the start and finish of the trail both have a wide array of accommodation including motels, bed and breakfast and pub accommodation. We can book your accommodation here for you as well.
We can provide return transport to your starting point in our comfortable air conditioned bus, with safe and secure transport for your bike as well.
Price: $50 per person (includes bike )
Minimum fee of $200 applies (ie four passengers)
If your travel dates are flexible, we will try and match you with another group travelling on the same day, keeping the price down for everyone.
We are happy to provide return transport only for riders travelling on the trail independantly.
Vline, the state country rail service provides several coaches each day connecting Orbost to Bairnsdale, however they will not accept bicycles.
Travelling by Train
Travelling to East Gippsland by train is a comfortable, relaxing and carbon neutral way to get to the start of the Rail Trail. V- Line, the state rail service operates 2 to 3 train services per day from Melbourne to Bairnsdale. Travelling time is around 3.5 hours, similar to the time taken to drive, without the hassle!
For the V-Line train timetable between Bairnsdale and Melbourne click here.
Leaving your vehicle.
If you start your journey in Orbost we can offer off street parking on private property at no cost, approximately 2 km from the town centre. There are businesses in Bairnsdale where you can leave your car for between $5 and $10 per day - we can advise you on these.
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is located in the far east of Victoria, Australia, travelling through the low foothills of the Great Dividing Range that skirt the coastal lakes which open into Bass Strait at Lakes Entrance.
The Rail Trail enables cyclists, walkers and horse riders to travel along the disused rail line that transported passengers and goods between Bairnsdale and Orbost up until 1987. Now resurfaced with hard packed gravel it offers a chance to see the country side as rail passengers once did, and with no vehicular traffic and very gentle gradients it makes for a superb cycle journey.
The Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail is a rail trail in miniature, following an old tramline once used to transport stone from a quarry down a pretty bush valley towards Lakes Entrance. Returning to the Rail Trail along forestry roads adds an excellent loop ride to the main Trail.
The East Gippland Rail Trail is just under 100 km in length, with a loop on the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail adding 20 - 30 kilometres to your ride, depending on the route ridden.
At the western end of the trail is the sizable regional centre of Bairnsdale, close to the Gippsland Lakes, while at the eastern end is the country town of Orbost on the floodplain of the Snowy River, just 15 kilometres from the sea. In between are the villages of Nicholson, Bruthen and Nowa Nowa, each with it's own particular character.
Nicholson is perched contentedly by the river of the same name, it's broad width crossed by the original rail bridge while underneath water craft sit moored at the waters edge. Not far out of Nicholson a short diversion from the trail takes you to the Nicholson River Winery, and a little further along again is the Tambo Park Winery.
Bruthen sits atop a hill surrounded by rich farmland with the Tambo river threading its way past.It has several fantastic cafes and a number of craft and curiosity shops, one of which doubles as the information centre and is located in the historic old butchers shop in the centre of town. Lovers of retro and repurposed items should visit Bruthen Bizarre, a few metres off the main road up a side street. To replenish vital body fluids, choose between a traditional Aussie pub and an eco sensitive microbrewery.
Nowa Nowa sits at the junction of 'mingling waters' (the meaning of its aboriginal name) as a freshwater river emerges from its little rocky gorge to meet a quiet arm of Lake Tyers. Take one of the many walks along the water's edge and discover nude sculptures, a 300 million year old gorge, while in town there is the outstanding wood collection at Mingling Waters, and local hand made works at The Depot (who are also dedicated to the proper art of making tea).
Nowa Nowa also has a mountain bike park, with a range of dedicated single track trails winding down a hillside, as well as a 'pump' track. What is there not to like!
Tostaree is a 'locality' 10 km past Nowa Nowa, offering farmstay accommodation.
Natural and historic features.
The forests of East Gippsland are renowned, both as a rich timber source and for the controversy that has surrounded logging in some areas of forest. The Rail Trail passes through an everchanging panorama of forests: red gums border the trail in the west, redbox and stringybark forests on the hills, fern filled moist gullies and the huge southern mahoganys on the banks of the Snowy River. The forest is home to a huge variety of birds whose cries, chirps, screeches and songs resound through the trees, while wallabies and kangaroos can sometimes be seen grazing beside the trail.
Spanning the many creeks and gullies of the original rail line are numerous timber bridges, the from the 20 metre high bridge at Stony Creek to the long low viaduct snaking across the Snowy River floodplain above the flood level. Reminders of the trail's historic past are all around - cuttings through hillsides, two short tunnels and features like Costicks Weir, built as a water supply for the steam engines.
Snowy River Cycling supports the East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee of Management with a donation for each rider we support on the Trail .
The Committee of Management is a volunteer group who undertake management and maintenance of the Trail for the benefit of visitors and local communities.
Payments and Cancellations
When we receive your enquiry, we will send you a booking form with your proposed itinerary and quote. Booking forms must be accompanied by a minimum deposit of approximately 20% (amount will be specified on quote) to confirm your booking. This deposit is non refundable, but may be transferred to a different date at the discretion of Snowy River Cycling.The balance is due four weeks prior to the start of the tour.
If you cancel your booking up to four weeks prior to travel 50% of fees owing are forfeit. If you cancel 7 days or less prior to travel 100% of fees owing are forfeit. Cancellations must be made in writing.
We accept no responsibility for disruptions to your tour itinerary due to closure of the trail due to extreme weather events or other unforeseen circumstances, however we will make every effort to assist you in making alternative arrangements.
We strongly recommend that as a minimum you have Ambulance cover. We also strongly recommend personal accident cover such as provided by membership of major cycling groups such as Bicycle Victoria, and some travel insurance policies.
You may also wish to take out Travel Insurance for cover of cancellation costs.
Conditions and Waiver.
Our conditions for participating in our tours are listed on our booking form, with a space where you must sign to show you have read and accept these conditions. Any participants over 16 who have not signed the conditions on the booking form will be required to sign a 'Conditions of Participation' form at the start of the tour.
In addition we require you to sign an ‘Exclusion of Rights to Sue’ waiver form, which can be downloaded just below the entry forms. Have a look at our FAQ page for more information about why we ask you to sign this waiver.