Some of the enjoyment of being a member of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group is to experience various trails, with friends and family. Such was the case recently when members stayed in Warburton, a country town east of Melbourne, for some trail riding experiences.
With a number of trails to choose from, the first was the O’Shannessay Aquaduct Trail, a lesser known yet highly attractive trail. Unlike a rail trail that follows the route of a former railway, the O’Shannessay Aquaduct Trail follows a decommissioned aquaduct that once transported water for Melbourne’s population. Riding past tall Mountain Ash trees and large native Rough Tree Ferns, being on this trail is like escaping into a wilderness seemingly untouched by timber logging or intense agriculture. Cycling to the O’Shannessay Weir, the 49km return ride to Warburton included being dwarfed by the ‘giants’ while within the amazing Cement Creek Redwood Forest.
The next day’s trail ride was along the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, a very popular trail easily accessible by train (Lilydale station) or car from the metropolitan Melbourne. With just a short ride from Warburton to a morning coffee stop at the Millgrove Bakery, the group then cycling through changing landscapes stopping at some former railway station’s points of interest, before arriving for lunch at the Carriage Café, Seville. This cafe didn’t disappoint, with meals being delivered by staff directly into the 1910 heritage carriage’s individual originally furnished compartments.
The last ride day saw the group ‘trail test’ the most recently opened rail trail in Victoria, the Yarra Valley Rail Trail’s ‘stage 1A’. Starting at the trail’s Yering carpark, riders enjoyed the trail’s smooth gravel surface and interpretive signs along its relatively short length, passing by Coldstream and then terminating in Lilydale. Following the important morning coffee break, it was a turnaround back to the Yering carpark to round off a 17km ride. Noting the trail’s next planned ‘stage1B’ extension to Yarra Glen expecting to be completed in early 2022, taking into account the many old timber pile and missing bridges, the riders already talked about returning to ride the ‘1A’ and ‘1B’ sections next year.
That’s often what rail trail experiences cause for the users…….positive experiences, and return visitations with friends that stimulate local economies!