I did this trip in September and it covers 15 days in the saddle on mainly
bitumen and some gravel roads along the picturesque western slopes of the Great
Dividing Range. It is best done in spring or autumn and it includes riding the
Wodonga-Cudgewa Rail Trail, Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail and the East
Gippsland Rail Trail. Refer to Rail Trails Australia website shown on the
I crossed the Victorian snowfields at Mt Hotham. There is
a 36km climb from Harrietville to Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain. I did this
section of the trip by “taxi” to the top of the mountain from Harrietville as
the road is very narrow, windy, steep with no road shoulders and a sharp drop on
the road edge. I recommend adopting this approach to avoid a hazardous
section of road. It will also save a day’s extremely hard riding. Arrange a lift
to Dinner Plain with the owner of the Harrietville caravan park a week or 2
before the trip.
I started the trip from Newcastle and caught an early
morning train to Lithgow. I finished cycling at Orbost and caught a V-Line
coach to Bairnsdale and then by train to Melbourne before flying home. I camped
at caravan parks or rough camped on a few occasions.
Unfortunately my camera
malfunctioned on this trip, and I lost most of the great photos that I
The following climate statistics are
for the weather station at Mt Hotham. For more information on this
location, including wind roses, go to "Climate Statistics for Australian
Locations" on the Links page. You
can also obtain similar details from other locations enroute from that
|Av Max Temp oC
|Av Min Temp oC
|Av Rain mm
|Av days of rain
≥ 1 mm
Towns listed below that have distances marked
( ) are those where
food/drink is expected/known and those marked [ ] are points of interest
Early train to Lithgow
Check timetables from Sydney at CityRail website (included under
Links on this site).
All types of accommodation
are available, but I
stayed at Lithgow Tourist & Van Park - 58 Cooerwull Rd - 1km W of
Information Centre, just off the Great Western Highway and about 5kms
from the railway station.
Day 1 - Lithgow - Tarana
(27) - Oberon
1,250 m climbed
This was a hard day with some hills
that I walked up, but the countryside was great. Food/drink is
available as above, although the pub at Tarana has limited supplies for
light meals. Apart from the pub, there are only a few houses at
Tarana and a railway station that is apparently no longer in use.
From Tarana to Oberon, the opportunity for the rail trail along the
abandoned railway line is frequently evident. It would have been
much easier than the 9% gradient that we walked for 2kms about 10kms from
Oberon. Some progress has
been made in the construction of a cycleway adjacent to this rail line
and it is usable several kilometres out from Oberon, although there
seemed to be fewer ups and downs on the road.
All types of
accommodation were available and I camped at Jenolan Caravan Park -
Cunynghame St - 600m N of Oberon Post Office which was convenient to all shopping.
It had a bbq area with tables and chairs under cover.
Day 2 - Oberon - Rockley
(32) - Neville
1,080 m climbed
Very limited food/drink is available
at the pub at Rockley, and the town had no other supplies. The countryside is mainly undulating
farming areas and much of the ride is on good gravel back roads.
Neville has the Showground, a pub (not sure about accommodation,
but it appeared doubtful) and cabins about 1km west of the pub
and close to the general store. The store has a reasonable
range of food, and serves a great hamburger. If you plan to camp at the
Showground, you should contact Kevin Radburn (phone 02 6368 8413), who
lives opposite, to ensure that the water is turned on for the toilets.
It is turned off during winter to prevent the water from freezing and bursting
There may also be showers there, but we did not have access to all of
the buildings during our stay.
Day 3 - Neville - Mandurama
(16) - Walli - Cowra
Food/drink is available as
above with a general store at Mandurama.
Cowra is a major regional centre with
a great bike shop and a number of historical places to visit. You
will ride past the Japanese POW War Memorial as you come into the town.
All types of accommodation are available. I camped at Cowravan Park -
Lachlan St - 1k W of Post Office, but near the shopping centre. It
had a camp kitchen with a communal fridge, microwave oven and
tables and chairs under cover.
Day 4 - Cowra - Boorowa
750 m climbed
There are no villages before Boorowa.
The road passes through undulating farming country that is good riding.
Boorowa is a small regional town with all facilities, except a genuine
All types of accommodation are available. I camped at
Boorowa Caravan Park - Brial St - 1k N of Post Office and adjacent to
Day 5 - Boorowa -
Murrumburrah (40) - Cullinga - Cootamundra
The road is all bitumen and passes through
open grazing country. Murrumburrah has a general store/road house
opposite a nice park with good toilets and tables. Cootamundra is
a major regional town with all facilities. The RSL club (good
bistro) and pubs are close to the caravan park.
All types of
accommodation are available. I camped at Cootamundra Caravan Park - 55
Mackay St - 500m W of Post Office and close to a major supermarket.
Day 6 - Cootamundra - Brawlin - Bongongalong - Gundagai
400 m climbed
More undulating farming country with
reasonable quiet roads, with no shops until Gundagai. A walk
around the town is worthwhile, particularly near the old railway bridge.
All types of accommodation are available. I camped at Gundagai River
Caravan Park - Middleton Dr - 1k from Post Office. I had ice on my
tent at 7am on a late September morning.
Day 7 - Gundagai - Brungle -
Tumut (38) - Batlow
1,310 m climbed
I found this to be a tiring day, but the
rewards are worth the effort. There are 2 roads to Tumut from
Gundagai. The eastern route is the one that I used because
there is little traffic on it, although it does start with a walk up a
hill a few kilometres out of Gundagai. It levels out to good
cycling country through to Tumut, where you can get most things, and it
has some good bakeries. About 14kms out of Tumut, I used the two
foot gear up
some of the mountain to Batlow with its 6.4% climb for 2kms. Beautiful country, with
more orchards as you get closer to Batlow. Everything is available in Batlow
on a hill. The RSL serves a good meal and the pubs also serve counter
All types of accommodation are available. I camped at Batlow
Caravan Park - Kurrajong Ave - on the left just over the bridge as you
come into the town.
Day 8 - Batlow - Tumbarumba
(38) - Jingellic
1,050 m climbed
The day starts with a few kilometres of
climbing up from Batlow through some forest and, after nearly 20
kilometres, starts its gradual descent to Jingellic. Tumbarumba is
a major regional town, and it is best to get supplies there for
Jingellic and the overnight stay at Granya. While Jingellic has a
supermarket, a few houses and a pub,
supplies tend to be limited and expensive. If you intend to camp
in the reserve near the pub,
bring some toilet paper/tissues, as they are not necessarily supplied.
There is cabin accommodation available at the pub, or you can do as I
did and free camp in the park behind the pub and adjacent to the Murray
River. The pub will sell you a token to use their shower, and they
provide toilets for park users, but they do not guarantee to supply
toilet paper. Bottled water can be purchased or taken from the river and
boiled. This is a popular free camping area and may be crowded at
holiday times. The pub does serve some evening meals as well
having as a great open fire place. This was a really nice place to
Day 9 - Jingellic - Burrowye
There are no food stops between Jingellic
and Tallangatta (Day 10), so if you are short on supplies, stop at the
supermarket before you leave Jingellic. This was a great day
riding alongside the "mighty" Murray River. Unfortunately, we were in
drought when I rode this trip. Some of my notes on the days riding
through this area were remembering
the dawn mist rising from the river as the sunbeams danced
across the rippling river;
dead trees standing like skeletons in memory of good times past;
dry creeks with weeping willows on their banks crying out for a
Granya is a small village with a number of houses, a community hall,
phone box and not much else. There is a park for camping about 2 kms down the gravel road that is off to the right opposite the community
hall. There are claimed to be toilets there, but they are well
hidden. I decided to camp behind the community hall and had
toilets and water.
Day 10 - Granya - Bullioh -
rail trail from Old Tallangatta - Tallangatta (27) - Tangambalanga (44)
- Allans Flat - Osbornes Flat - Yackandandah
990 m climbed
This day started with a climb up Mt Granya
and then the long descent. The hard packed gravel rail trail
started about 20 kms from Granya at the right turn to Old Tallangatta. Tallangatta is a large town with
a great bakery. The rail trail is about 16 kms long and plans are
underway to reinstate the bridge top across the Hume Weir to Huon.
This will then provide an off road link through to Albury-Wodonga.
(Check on its progress via the Rail Trails Australia website on the
Yackandandah is a town with all accommodation facilities. I stayed
at a nice Yackandandah Caravan Park - Dederant Rd - 500m S
of Post Office, on the left on the way into town. It had a bbq
area with tables and chairs under cover.
Day 11 - Yackandandah -
Beechworth (23) - rail trail to Everton Junction - Myrtleford
750 m climbed
The only food/drink along the way is at
Beechworth, and it is worth spending a few hours here. It has a
number of historic buildings close by the main street, as well as the
famous Beechworth Bakery and the equally well known local lolly shop.
Here, you will join the bitumen Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail.
Most of the ride on the rail trail to Everton Junction is downhill.
Try to slow down to see some of the scenery, and be on the lookout for
snakes mating or basking in the sun on the rail trail during the spring.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PICK THEM UP OR GO NEAR THEM - THE CHANCES ARE THAT
THEY ARE HIGHLY VENOMOUS. From Everton to Myrtleford is through
agricultural land, where tobacco and hops seem to be the main produce.
This section of the track seems to harbour more than its fair share of
aggressive magpies in the spring.
Myrtleford is a major rural town
with all facilities and all types of accommodation available. I
camped at Arderns Caravan Park - Willow Gr - 1 km E of Post Office.
Day 12 - Myrtleford - Ovens
(5) - Porepunkah (24) - Bright (31) - Germantown - Harrietville
440 m climbed
The ride through to Bright is mostly along
the rail trail. It is worthwhile spending some time looking around
Bright. It is picturesque and a popular town during holiday
periods, as well as having a good bakery. It is best to buy any
provisions here, as the general store at Harrietville is limited and
quite expensive. The ride to Harrietville is a gradual climb
through some interesting country. Harrietville has a general
store, 2 pubs, motel, a caravan park and a number of nice homes.
It is the base for many people who go skiing at Mt Hotham during the
winter ski season.
I camped at Harrietville Cabins & Caravan Park - 700m SE of Post
Office. Phone the owner ( 03 5759 2523) a week or two ahead to
arrange with him to put your bike in his truck and take you up the
mountain to Mt Hotham, JB
Plain or Dinner Plain.
Option - Harrietville - Mt
Hotham Village (28) - JB Plain
1,980 m climbed
I do not recommend riding this section.
The road is quite narrow and steep for much of the distance with an
average gradient of 5.4% for 24kms of the steeper section. There
are no shoulders, and the edges fall away quite steeply in most places.
Unless you are an extremely strong rider, I believe that you would walk
many parts of this section if you are carrying full touring
gear. There are also sections that are exposed and would create a
problem for a loaded bike in strong wind situations - which are
not uncommon it seems. Having said that, the views are great, either on a bike or
in a car, particularly if there is still some snow on the mountains.
Mt Hotham Village and Dinner Plain is quite seasonal, so food and
accommodation is a case of pot luck or book beforehand. There is
camping at JB Plain with toilets. It may be wise to bring
additional water. It is a further 2 kms to Dinner Plain.
There is no camping at either Dinner Plain or Mt Hotham Village, and
other accommodation is expensive.
Day 13 - Harrietville - taxi
to Dinner Plain - Omeo (42) - Swifts Creek
1,700 m climbed
When you get out of the car at Dinner Plain,
you will be about 1,100m higher than Harrietville. Wear warm
clothes! You will need them as you descend towards Omeo. The
high plains have a charm of their own. Unfortunately, the magpies
think that they are a part of that charm, right until you get down to
Omeo. Omeo is a small town with all facilities
and a great bakery.
Swifts Creek has a pub and caravan park. I
camped at the caravan park on the bank of the Tambo River 500m E of Post
Office. Pay and collect the shower key at the supermarket on the
right as you come into the town, then take the road to the left down to
the caravan park. It had a large sheltered area.
Day 14 - Swifts Creek -
Ensay South (21) - Bruthen
790 m climbed
The road becomes narrower and is used by
timber and other trucks as it is the only road from Omeo to the coast,
so some vigilance is needed to monitor what is coming from behind.
The road passes through some picturesque valleys as the river races to
the coast. There is a garage at Ensay South that was still closed
when I rode through about 8am on the way to try to avoid the coming bad
weather. Bruthen is a small town with most facilities, including
Accommodation can be obtained at the pub, although it is
wise to book as it is popular as a destination for those who travel
along the East Gippsland Rail Trail. I camped at the quiet,
pleasant Bruthen Caravan Park - Buchan Rd, just over the bridge from the
pub. It had a camp kitchen with bbq, a communal fridge, a microwave
oven and tables and chairs under cover.
Day 15 - Bruthen - use rail
trail - Nowa Nowa (27) - Orbost
660 m climbed
There is a service station/takeaway at Nowa
Nowa and a number of houses. This will be the only real
civilisation that you will see along the rail trail until Orbost.
Much of the rail trail passes through bushland with some sections of
open countryside. The trail is hard packed gravel.
Unfortunately they have not used the magnificent timber trestle bridges
that cross a number of the creeks, so there are times where there is a
steep descent down to the creek bed, followed by an equally steep climb
up the other side. This was particularly so at Stony Creek, and the push
up from the creek bed was hard work. Watch for snakes on the
trail. Apart from them, I heard only some birds, and was startled
as a flock of 7 emus ran alongside me in a cleared section for a couple of hundred
about 25-30 kph. What a great experience!
Accommodation can be
obtained at any of the pubs, although that may be at a premium in
holiday periods. I camped at Orbost Caravan Park - Lochiel St - on
the left as you come into town. It is close to all facilities and
has an eating area under cover with tables, chairs and bbq.
I caught a V-Line coach from Orbost to
Bairnsdale and then by train to Melbourne's Spencer St Station.
Check the website included in Links for timetables. As it was late
in the afternoon, I stayed overnight at the economical nearby Ibis Hotel
in Little Bourke St. The next morning, I caught the Skybus (use
the web address in Links) from
the northern end of the station to Tullamarine, however, it is possible
to ride most of the way to Tullamarine using off road cycleways (see the
Tullamarine to City and Suburbs Ride for details). There, I boxed
the bike and caught my flight home.