Getting your exercise whether you enjoy biking or walking is easy with the many interesting rail trails around Australia and New Zealand. Most of the rail trails are well-made and maintained and you’ll find that a lot of them are fairly flat or have only slight inclines. And if you’ve made the move to an over 55s community, you can lock up and leave whenever you’re ready.
There are so many different rail trails around Australia and New Zealand that you’ll always have somewhere interesting to explore. Whether you’re looking for interesting new places to walk the dog or you enjoy a relaxing cycle through amazing countryside, you’re bound to find a rail trail near you.
Rail trails around Australia
Great Victorian Rail Trail
This is the longest rail trail in Victoria covering a total length of 134 km. It starts in Tallarook and takes you all the way to Mansfield. Features include a long rail tunnel and a 385-metre bridge that takes you across Lake Eildon at Bonnie Doon. Towns from which you can access the trail include:
- Bonnie Doon
Riverina Highlands Rail Trail
The Riverina Highlands Rail Trail takes you from Tumbarumba to Rosewood in NSW. The trail is 21 km in length and is situated 470 km south of Sydney. Most of the trail is sealed and takes you through the foothills of the Snowy Mountains.
There are interpretive signs along the rail trail that give you an insight into the history of the original rail line and the region that it covers.
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is the longest rail trail in Australia and covers a length of 161 km. It starts in Wulkuraka near Ipswich and takes you all the way to Yarraman. You’ll travel the beautiful Brisbane Valley through farmlands and natural bush areas in the north. You can access the trail from the old railway stations in the following towns:
Riesling and Rattler Rail Trail
This is South Australia’s best-known rail trail and takes you through the gorgeous Clare Valley. The trail is 53 km long and goes from Riverton to Barinia. You can even visit several cellar doors along the way and enjoy the beautiful vineyard vistas as you walk or cycle along. The trail can be accessed from several towns along the way including:
- Rhynie Siding
Rail trails in New Zealand
The most popular rail trail in New Zealand is the Otago Central Rail Trail. The trail takes you from Clyde near Queenstown all the way to Middlemarch near Dunedin. It’s a total of 152 km in length.
The surface is mostly gravel with just a gentle gradient, so it’s easy to traverse whether you’re on a bike or walking. It takes you through spectacular countryside and interesting towns and villages.
You can even take advantage of one of the many tour packages available. The tour managers will organise your perfect itinerary that includes your accommodation and bike hire if you wish.
Other easy rail trails in New Zealand include:
- Maungatauhoro and Perimeter Track Loop
- Karangahake Old Rail Tunnel Trail
- Karangahake Windows Walk
- Ohakune Old Coach Road
- Little River Rail Trail
- Greytown to Woodside Trail
Rail trails further afield
If you’re in the mood for travel, there are exceptional rail trails right around the world; for example, the Waterford Greenway in Ireland. This trail, opened in 2017, is 46 km long. It takes you through the stunning Irish countryside, over 11 bridges, and through a 400-metre tunnel.
The trail starts in Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, and takes you to Dungarvan, a lovely coastal town with a picturesque harbour. Along the way, you can spot medieval ruins and Norman castles.
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