Yea to Molesworth Rail Trail

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesYea Station Precinct
FinishMolesworth Rail Park
Suitable ForFoot Cycle Horse 
Distance17.76 km
Average Speed10.72 km/hr
Travel Time1 hr 39 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 route into 6 smaller Treks. This one covers the 18km between Yea and Molesworth. After completing this trek you can continue on to the section Molesworth to Yarck.

For the first 3km the trek follows the Yea River southwards before turning east into rolling farmland. After travelling 9km from Yea the trail passes through Cheviot Tunnel – the longest rail trail tunnel in Victoria. Made in 1889 from bricks handcrafted on site, the tunnel is accessible from a nearby carpark. Bike riders will encounter a gentle gradient either side of Cheviot tunnel.

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.

The first stage from Tallarook to Yea was opened in 1883 but it took nearly years of agitation, deputations, many setbacks and numerous changes of Government, before work finally began on the Yea to Mansfield section in April 1887. Alexandra had lobbied long and hard for the line to Mansfield to be routed directly through the town but was beaten by nature and the engineering realities of the hilly terrain and the steep gradients that surround the township. The direct line to Mansfield was built to the north.

In September 1890, a short compromise branch line was constructed (7.1km) from Cathkin in to Koriella, the direction of Alexandra. In August 1908 work began on the Alexandra Township Railway Extension. This was through rough, steep, 1 in 30 grade country and was costly to construct.

Molesworth is located approximately 4.5 kilometres away from the Alexandra turnoff at Cathkin. It is also home to the Molesworth Nature Conservation Reserve.

The local people played a key role in the construction of the Cheviot Tunnel, providing labour and housing the visiting workman.

The railway line was closed and dismantled in 1978 and was disused until 2012 when the heritage trail was built for tourism.

TrekID: 13462

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

Eildon Fire Tower
Distance from Trek Mid Point 31.71km E
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C27.326.822.918.213.210.19.110.513.516.521.023.5
Mean Min. °C13.413.811.49.16.54.83.84.35.77.29.811.0
Mean Rain mm36.446.939.040.355.067.266.776.763.551.861.242.3
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Map

Working on it...

Get Traveller App Get the ExplorOz Traveller App to download all ExplorOz Treks for navigational use on your tablet, phone, iPad or laptop.
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Embed this trek map directly into your website or page. It is easy and free, click the button to retreive the embed code and copy and paste it to your website or page.
Download Trek
Use this download for GPX, Hema Navigator and OziExplorer. Geo data only no map included.

Directions

Yea Station Precinct to Cheviot Station
Cycling: 5.68 km
Heading: 111°
Avg Speed: 6.52 km/hr
EST Time: 52:16
  • Head east on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 0.06 km time: 00:25
  • Turn left to stay on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 0.03 km time: 00:15
  • Turn right to stay on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 5.59 km time: 51:33
Cheviot Station to Cheviot Picnic Shelter
Cycling: 1.82 km
Heading: 59°
Avg Speed: 6.81 km/hr
EST Time: 16:02
  • Head northeast on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 1.82 km time: 16:01
Cheviot Picnic Shelter to Cheviot Railway Tunnel
Cycling: 1.51 km
Heading: 39°
Avg Speed: 14.99 km/hr
EST Time: 06:02
  • Head northeast on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 1.51 km time: 06:03
Cheviot Railway Tunnel to Harveys Gully Historic Site
Cycling: 7.74 km
Heading: 37°
Avg Speed: 6.97 km/hr
EST Time: 01:06:37
  • Head northeast on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 7.74 km time: 01:06:37
Harveys Gully Historic Site to Whanregarwen Rd & Rail Trail
Cycling: 0.85 km
Heading: 53°
Avg Speed: 14.03 km/hr
EST Time: 03:38
  • Head east on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 0.83 km time: 03:28
  • Turn left onto Whanregarwen Road for: 0.02 km time: 00:10
  • Turn left for: 0 km time: 00:01
Whanregarwen Rd & Rail Trail to Molesworth Rail Park
Cycling: 0.16 km
Heading: 222°
Avg Speed: 15.03 km/hr
EST Time: 00:38
  • Head south for: 0.16 km time: 00:38
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

Yea has a number of hotels and motels plus B&Bs and farmstays in the area.

Services & Supplies

Wildflowers

Related Travel Journals

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