Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

Category Archives: Activities

Heathcote, the Hub of Trails

Thinking about visiting Heathcote, Victoria for a day or weekend, yet wondering if there are enough opportunities locally to cycle or walk? Well if you are looking for some serious challenges, then choose the access road to Mount Ida to cycle up, take in the views, and then do the down hill ride! Or put the boots on to do a spot of bush walking in the same area, capped off with panoramic views.

Apart from the many forest tracks in the One Eye Forest or Heathcote-Graytown National Park, perhaps you are looking for something a little more relaxing, closer to a brewery, a winery cellar door, a cafe or a bakery? Then there are five (5) local close-to-town trails, which are provided with helpful way-finding signage.

Heathcote’s Trail Map, at the O’Keefe Rail Trail head, Herriot St. Photo: G.Long

Can’t decide whether to do the Liquid Amber Trail, the McIvor Creek Trail, the Pink Cliffs Trail, the Viewing Rock Trail, or the O’Keefe Rail Trail (doing a local section, or further to Lake Eppalock/Axedale/Bendigo)? Then do them all within one visit, or the return trip to Heathcote! Details and directions related to these trails can be viewed on street located maps (e.g. at the rail trail head in Herriot St, or in High St), otherwise chat to the friendly staff at the Visitor Information Centres in Heathcote and Bendigo.

World Bicycle Day

We may not be able to ride together as ‘normal’* during these uncertain times, but we can still

stay connected through our love of bike riding.

Jump on your bike Wednesday 3rd June for #WorldBicycleDay and send through a snap of your ride to show that we are a nation of bike riders. #JustRide #BicycleNetwork – https://bit.ly/2WLTnpB

*Note: As of 1 June, riding in groups up to 20 riders is allowed in Victoria (refer Dept of Health https://bit.ly/2M54rbr For other States, please refer to that State’s Health Dept COVID19 advice)

Trail Options to Explore

The Greater Bendigo area has many formal trails that await to be explored. While some of these trails are great for sharing a short walk or brief bike ride within urban areas, ie the Mulga Bill Trail, Back Creek Trail, there are other trails that allow for more challenging exercise over a greater distance i.e. O’Keefe Rail Trail or the Goldfields Track.

Back Creek Trail’s bridge art, Bendigo. Photo: Mar 2018 Garry Long

If an all-weather asphalt surfaced trail is the priority, then the Bendigo Creek Trail, Long Gully Trail, Back Creek Trail and Spring Gully Trail are some of the options available. Not only do many urban trails reveal ‘hidden’ points of interest, like under-bridge public art not able to be easily seen from urban streets, some trails enable a close connection with local lakes/reservoirs. The Grassy Flat Creek Trail, the Bendigo Creek Trail and Mulga Bill Trail link directly with local water recreational locations.

Grassy Flat Creek Trail, Kennington Reservoir, Strathdale. Photo: Feb 2020 Garry Long

More trail options and details can be found on this Friends’ web page ‘Local trail options, and on Bendigo Tourism’s web ‘Outdoors & Nature‘ page.

 

COVID19 Restrictions while Exercising

The COVID19 restrictions in Australia have impacted certain activities, such as closing outdoor gyms and boot camps etc. Public gatherings are being restricted, refer Department of Health for the latest information for your State.

Communities are being asked to stay at home where possible, except for essential activities like obtaining food and employment commitments. For the health and wellbeing of individuals, daily exercise is being encouraged while social distancing is being observed. Many will be asking themselves where can they exercise locally, while maintaining at least the 1.5m separation required?

Increasing numbers of family members and individuals are choosing to cycle, walk or run in their local neighbourhood, large public recreation areas and along trails. Like many, Justin and Brianna Maddern decided their local O’Keefe Rail Trail was a safe place, a means for their family to exercise in a natural environment.

The Maddern Family out exercising, O’Keefe trail. Photo G.Long 28 Mar 2020

Crossing the rail trail’s Axe Creek bridge while running at pace, Justin had his daughter Lilah peddling hard in keeping up with her dad, while mum Brianna was cycling with their daughter Sylvie tucked into the bike’s child seat enjoying the family’s activity.

Cycling on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. 28 March 2020. Photo G.Long

Cycling couples and individuals were being observed on the O’Keefe trail, while social distancing is easily able to take place on this popular trail. Take-away coffee facilities for trail users at Junortoun (McIvor Hwy crossing), Axedale and Heathcote add to the experience, perhaps as a well earned rest stop for some!

Of course the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail encourage first time and regular users of O’Keefe Rail Trail to provide feedback of their experience. This feedback can be easily be provided using the on-line O’Keefe Rail Trail User Feedback form, which may only take less than 10 minutes of your time.

Take-Away Coffee while on the O’Keefe Rail Trail

With the current imposed Government restrictions on communities, caused by the COVID19 pandemic, encouraging people to stay home, its important to also to do an amount of exercise. Exercising is good for the body’s health and mind, as well as improving its immunity.

While gyms and other public venues are closed, the O’Keefe Rail Trail is still open 24/7 with free access! The trail is a great place to exercise, to enjoy a peaceful natural environment, while having lots of social distancing possible over the trail’s 50km length.

And another bonus is to get a take-away coffee, while out on the trail in the Junortoun area, the Axedale General Store and Axedale Tavern’s cafe and Heathcote’s cafes. A new coffee van ‘Coffee Storm‘ has just set up in the Junortoun area, at the Bendigo Baptist Church car park, McIvor Hwy Junortoun, open 7 days a week 8am – 12.30pm.

A new coffee van outlet is now on the O’Keefe Rail Trail in Junortoun

So while things may be looking a little dark for many people right at the moment, one option is to put on your walking or running shoes, pump up the bike tyres, and head out to exercise on the O’Keefe Rail Trail……and while out on the trail, take some time out to have a take-away coffee!

Ride with Bicycle Network on Bendigo Trails

Bicycle Network joins Bendigo Saturday bike riders on Saturday 14 March, with Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members assisting the BN staff to catch-up with local riders. Come join in one of the rides, to have a chat about what would make it easier for you to ride? Select one of these ride options, roll up for the ride and let Bicycle Network know what regional Victorian riders need support for.

BN LogoRide Details:

Ride #1: Friends of Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail members will lead a partially off-road ride, with Bicycle Network staff joining the ride group departing 7.30am sharp from Spring Gully Cricket Oval carpark (Spring Gully Road). This easy pace 21km ride will include the Back Creek Trail, part of the Bendigo Creek Trail, part of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, a sealed trail through the Greater Bendigo National Park, plus some selected urban streets to return the group to the Bath Lane area at approx. 9.15–9.30am.


Ride #2:
Bicycle Network reps will be joining the Bendigo road ride groups, which meet at the ‘Sternberg St roundabout’ (corner Townsend and Somerville Streets). The reps will be joining the ‘7.15s’ and ‘7.30s’ groups departing at 7.15am and 7.30am. Hop in if you’d like to both enjoy the ride and also to have a chat.

Post-ride ‘Coffee n Chat’: All rides will return to cafes in the Bath Lane area for coffee and muffins (courtesy of Bicycle Network) where Bicycle Network staff will be also happy to chat with riders.

Bicycle Network comes to Bendigo

Bicycle Network representatives will be in Bendigo on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March. They are keen to chat with riders like YOU, about what’s important when it comes to riding in the Bendigo area and beyond.

BN LogoWhat would make it easier for you to ride? What support would your family or social ride group seek to improve urban bike infrastructure, to link up existing off-road trails, or extend the O’Keefe Rail Trail to Tooborac, Kilmore and Wallan? Join Bike Bendigo and Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members, to voice regional Victorian rider’s concerns, needs and wants.

Bicycle Network Drinks and Chat – 13 March
Location: Bridge Hotel, Bridge Rd, Bendigo
Time: 5:00pm – 6.30pm
Cost: Free. Nibbles provided, drinks at bar prices.
RSVP: Via Bike Bendigo’s Facebook

Drop in for a quick chat and snack from 5pm, and feel free to stay on for a meal (Pay Your Own after 6.30pm).

Its Nearly Christmas, enjoying Dinner with a Moonlight Ride

A Christmas Moonlight Ride in Bendigo was again enjoyed by the ‘young’ girls and boys of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail last Saturday. Riding from Spring Gully to White Hills, fun was had along the off-road Spring Gully Trail, Back Crk Trail, and Bendigo Crk Trail, while the riders’ excitement was growing. Nearing their destination, they went searching in the Bendigo Botanical Gardens for Santa’s reindeers who might have been there grazing, before the rider group dined with the non-riders at the Botanical Hotel.

Bendigo Botanical Gardens, Moonlight Ride 2019. Photo: Kevin Thiele

On the return ride, a visit to the Garden of the Future’s events stage didn’t find Santa awaiting with gifts, as these ‘young’ riders had forgotten to send off their Santa wish list letters!! With the lure of supper on their minds, wearing hi-vis colours and with bright bike lights, the riders headed towards the South (Pole?) hoping to see the promised full moon. A diversion around Lake Weeroona, with the lights dancing upon the water, their bike headlights showing the way along Bendigo’s popular off-road urban trails as they headed for Spring Gully.

Finally, there was the enjoyment of a fruit cake supper at the Kevin and Linda’s residence, while it was joked that Santa must have opted for other transport that night and was probably having just as much fun on his bike!

Missing??

Have you been out enjoying the O’Keefe Rail Trail recently and wondering where it has gone? What is missing? The historic railway wagon, previously relocated from the Korumburra station and placed at the former Axedale Railway Station site on the O’Keefe Rail Trail in 2018, has been removed.

The company BRW (Bendigo Railway Workshops), which is located at the former Victorian Railways North Bendigo Railway Workshops, is enthusiastic to be working with the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group to restore this ‘GY’ 4-wheel wagon. The wagon was transported by A2B Move It P/L to BRW this week. The planned work is intended to, as near as possible, return the wagon to its original condition when wagons were manufactured in the former VR railway workshops during the late 1950s.

The ‘GY’ 4-wheel wagon being delivered to BRW Bendigo. Photo: Rob Jarvis

This wagon’s original ‘spoke’ wheels had previously been replaced by the later ‘full disc’ type. With a set of the ‘spoke’ wheels located, and kindly made available by the Central Victorian Goldfields Railway, these wheels were then transported to BRW and will be installed on this wagon.

A set of ‘spoke’ type railway wheels are delivered to BRW. Photo: Ken Hanson

Stay tuned for news updates on the restoration of this wagon, which will be returned to Axedale as the only item of historic railway rolling stock on public display in the Greater Bendigo area.

Age No Barrier for Bicycle Riders

A chance to exercise away from busy roads, meet new friends, learn about interesting local attractions were some of the things experienced by bicycle riders during Seniors Week in Bendigo.

One of the week’s program of activities was a shared bicycle ride along a section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail. “It was open to all, whether you felt like you were a senior or not, the ride proved popular” said Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail’s activities coordinator Greg Ralton, “Participants were able to join the ride at different points along the trail, with commentary provided on railway history, new tree plantings, signs and developments on this popular trail.’

Of course like most bicycle rides, this ride also finished with another popular activity, having coffees and social chats at Lake Weeroona!