Bonnie Doon to Mansfield Rail Trail

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesBonnie Doon
FinishMansfield Railway Station
Suitable ForFoot Cycle Horse 
Distance23.19 km
Average Speed5.95 km/hr
Travel Time3 hrs 53 mins
Page Updated: 2 Sep 2020

Description

At 134km, the Great Victorian Rail Trail is Australia's longest rail trail. It follows the route of an old train line from Tallarook on the Hume Highway about 100km north of Melbourne to Mansfield in the Victorian High Country. It is designed for cyclists, walkers and horse riders and due to the route passing through numerous townships, accommodation, food and supplies are readily available along the way.

There are numerous rail trails throughout Australia, being shared-use paths recycled from abandoned railway corridors. The numerous access points make it easy to plan day trips, or the journey can be done as a multi-day trip without the need to be fully self-sufficient.

For the purpose of providing ease of navigation and planning, we have split the Tallarook to Mansfield route into 6 smaller Treks. This one covers the section from Bonnie Doon on the northern arm of Lake Eildon to Mansfield, a distance of 23.7km.

This section of the trail crosses the upper reaches of Lake Eildon on an elevated rail bridge. Gradients from Bonnie Doon to Mansfield through rolling farmland are mild.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • Purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This Australian-made GPS & Navigation app will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Treks to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route as per the Directions shown on this page. The app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. Viewing the Trek in the Traveller app also includes all the words, images and POIs exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another raster mapping software program (or an HN7 device) you can try downloading the route line data files via the Download Trek button shown below the map on this page (OR purchase EOTreks Route Files). Be aware that this doesn't include maps or text just the route line.

TIP

To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase an EOTopo map licence (available either in App Version, or Raster Version).

History

Indigenous History

Scar trees, rock shelters, rock art and place names all indicate that the Taungurung people (Daung wurrung) have been in this part of Victoria for thousands of years. Many Taungurung people still live on their country and participate widely in the community as cultural heritage advisors, land management officers, artists and educationalist.

European History

In 1824 Hamilton Hume and William Hovell were commission to lead an expedition to find new grazing land and attempt to discover where New South Wales's western rivers flowed.

Yea was established in May 1837 as the first service centre for the early squatters and settlers of the district and in the gold rush era of the 1850s it became a stopping place for gold prospectors.

In the 1860 the first section of railway line from Melbourne to the North East reached Essendon and then extended to reach Tallarook in 1872. By 1883 it had been extended further to Wodonga however a junction was built at Tallarook and a branch line built from Tallarook heading east into mountainous territory. This became the Mansfield line which is the route of this Trek.

During the 1840s settlers occupied land west of Mansfield and by the end of the decade occupation had spread eastwards. In 1851 land was set aside there for a surveyed township. It was first named after Mount Battery, about 4 km to the east. The name proved to be unpopular and it was replaced by Mansfield in 1856, at the prompting of a local station manager who apparently had fond memories of Mansfield, near Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.

By 1856 gold had been discovered at the Jamieson River south of Mansfield, and in 1861 it was discovered at Woods Point. The most suitable route for transporting mining machinery was through Mansfield. Small amounts of gold were also discovered around Mansfield.

The area round Mansfield was also location of the novel The Far Country by Nevil Shute which featured logging on Mount Buller. Nearby is the Howqua Hills Historic area. Forest fires, having swept through Howqua obliterated almost all traces of a former settlement.

Mansfield is also famous as part of the Ned Kelly Trail. Significant memorials include the Memorial to Police erected in the centre of the town's roundabout. Mansfield Cemetery is the burial ground for police officers slain by Ned Kelly and his gang at Stringybark Creek.

The entire railway line was closed and dismantled by 1978 until in 2009 after the Victorian bushfires, the Victorian Government announced a project to utilise the railway corridor to build a cycle trail. The Great Victorian Rail Trail was opened in June 2012.

TrekID: 13420

Preparation

Permits

This is a cycle/walking/horse trail only. Motorised vehicles are not permitted.

Best Time To Visit

The Trail is suitable for use all year round. The climate is generally mild by Australian standards, but can be hot in summer and cold in winter, depending on what you're used to. Average summer maximums are about 30C but may rise to low 40's on extreme days. Winter maximums average about 16C, but may be as low a 0C on occasions. Autumn and Spring are ideal seasons for this trek.

Closest Climatic Station

Lake Eildon
Distance from Trek Mid Point 21.9km S
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C28.829.025.620.816.112.611.913.616.519.823.526.2
Mean Min. °C12.612.810.67.85.94.13.54.25.67.29.410.9
Mean Rain mm46.543.052.759.478.493.093.599.382.178.768.056.1
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Map

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Directions

Bonnie Doon to Junction Railway St & Rail Trail
Cycling: 8.98 km
Heading: 91°
Avg Speed: 6.33 km/hr
EST Time: 01:25:07
  • Head east on Maroondah Highway (B300) for: 0.03 km time: 00:18
  • Turn left onto Jones Street for: 0.19 km time: 00:46
  • Continue right onto Arnot Street for: 0.19 km time: 00:50
  • Turn left for: 0.02 km time: 00:08
  • Turn right onto Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 8.55 km time: 01:23:00
Junction Railway St & Rail Trail to Picnic Shelter Maindample
Cycling: 0.22 km
Heading: 330°
Avg Speed: 5.24 km/hr
EST Time: 02:31
  • Head east on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 0 km time: 00:10
  • Turn left onto Railway Street for: 0.09 km time: 00:30
  • Turn left onto Main Street for: 0.01 km time: 00:03
  • Turn right for: 0.02 km time: 00:16
  • Keep right at the fork for: 0.1 km time: 01:32
Picnic Shelter Maindample to Pikes Rd Picnic Shelter
Cycling: 9.82 km
Heading: 102°
Avg Speed: 6.19 km/hr
EST Time: 01:35:11
  • Head southeast for: 0.12 km time: 01:50
  • Turn left onto Main Street for: 0.38 km time: 01:33
  • Turn left onto Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 9.32 km time: 01:31:51
Pikes Rd Picnic Shelter to Mansfield Railway Station
Cycling: 4.17 km
Heading: 102°
Avg Speed: 6.06 km/hr
EST Time: 41:17
  • Head east on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 4.17 km time: 41:20
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Facilities

Where to Stay

There are many hotels, motels and B&Bs in Mansfield and surrounds.

Services & Supplies

Wildflowers

Related Travel Journals

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