Explore one of Victoria’s most picturesque regions as you walk, cycle, or ride your way through the Central Gippsland countryside. The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail starts at Traralgon in the west – only a short train ride from Melbourne – and winds through Glengarry,Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Heyfield, Tinamba and Maffra, before concluding at Stafford. The eastern end of the trail can be reached by train from Bairnsdale. Encompassing many sites and locations with natural and historical significance, there’s plenty to see and do along the trail.
With gentle grades, a wide range of amenities, and eight towns to explore, the trail has something for everyone.
Check out some of the Trail’s top experiences
A Gentle Walk, Cycle, or Ride
The trail is essentially flat over its 63km journey from Traralgon to Stratford. The total elevation over the duration of the trail is only 50 metres, with the highest point of the trail located at the C105 road crossing approx 3 kilometres from Cowwarr. This spot features amazing views of the Great Dividing Range, as does a portion of the stretch between Heyfield and Tinamba. The usual wind direction over the length of the trail is from the southwest, making the journey from Traralgon to Stratford a pleasant ride with a tailwind during windy conditions.
The trail is great for parents with prams, and we’re always working to make improvements to the trail so it’s accessible to people of all abilities.
Getting to the Trail
The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail officially commences at the top of Princes Highway and the Traralgon-Maffra Rd (C105) which is approx 4 km from the Traralgon station and CBD. Or alternatively can be accessed from Marshalls Rd.
Parking is available at the Burnetts Road carpark, approx 1.5km along the trail towards Glengarry, via the Traralgon Vineyard turnoff. At this location there is plenty of safe off road space to load and unload bikes, organise kids and gear and there is also a trail map and information shelter.
Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Code of Conduct
The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail is a shared recreation pathway for walkers, cyclists, runners, and horse riders. It’s used by visitors as well as locals. We ask that you please respect the space of other users so that everyone can enjoy a safe and pleasant journey.
Keep to the Trail
All users must remain within the trail’s clearly marked boundaries. Please do not enter or disturb private property.
Leave the motorbikes at home
The Rail Trail is for use by walkers, cyclists, equestrians, and wheelchairs/mobility scooters only. Other motorized vehicles are prohibited unless authorised by the GPRT Committee of Management
Bring your dog! (and lead, and bags)
Dogs are welcome on the trail, but must be kept on a lead at all times. Please clean up after your dogs on and around the trail — there are bins available in every town to dispose of waste.
Sleep in style
There are plenty of great spots for you to book accommodation along the trail. Camping is prohibited, though, as are fires (except for Fire Management Authorities).
Use the amenities
Public toilets are available in every town along the trail. Please keep the trail clean and respect other users, as well as the people who live and work along the trail.
As the trail is a shared path, we ask that those on horseback keep to the side of the trail and off the formed gravel pathway. Please be aware that some bridges are not accessible to horses due to safety reasons, and riders will need to seek an alternative route.
Hold an event on the trail for an exciting day out!
History of the Railway
For the most part, the trail follows what was the railway line between Traralgon and Stratford (via Heyfield and Maffra), which was opened in 1883 to connect Far East Gippsland and Central Gippsland with Melbourne via an alternative route (Traralgon to Stratford via Rosedale and Sale being the other). Given that timber was already being transported by rail to Melbourne from Orbost, the alternative route would allow rail transportation of the timber being produced in Heyfield, and service the thriving sugar beet industry in Maffra.
In later years the line would become an important part of Gippsland’s growing dairy industry. The line remained a vital artery in regional Victoria’s transportation system until the 1980’s. However, in 1986, the line between Traralgon and Cowwarr was closed, and closure of the Cowwarr to Maffra section occured in 1994, thereby rendering the Maffra to Stratford line redundant. Almost all of the tracks were removed shortly after, but still today, a number of tracks remain and are visible in several areas along the trail.
From those humble beginnings, the trail today is a wonderful and exciting asset for all to enjoy; locals and visitors alike, and an important example of flora and fauna indigenous to the Gippsland region
The line has now passed into history after performing its role in the development of the region, but lives on as a Rail Trail for future generations to enjoy.
History of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail
The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee of Management work diligently in ensuring the preservation of the trail complete the Trail which, is a significant community asset and provides a wide range of benefits socially, environmentally (retention of remnant vegetation) and economically as a tourist destination and an essential component of the local, regional, state and national transport networks.