Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

Work soon to begin for O’Keefe facilities

With temporary fencing and a project information sign now in place, it is expected that the O’Keefe Rail Trail related construction work will soon commence.

Project information sign. Photo: A.Cummins

This project will provide toilets, a shelter with tables and seats, bike racks, and carparking at Longlea Lane, Longlea, which will enhance the experience for the popular O’Keefe Rail Trail.

The rail trail will remain open for use in the immediate area of works at Peppercorn Park, yet trail users are to take note of advisory directional signs.

New Facilities for Rail Trail Users

Improvements for safety and accessibility along the O’Keefe Rail Trail will soon be provided, with a $250,000 project funded by the City of Greater Bendigo council.

Bendigo Advertiser, 17 May edition extract

The project will be at Peppercorn Park, located off Longlea Lane, Longlea, adjacent to the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Included in the project’s delivery will be the construction of two unisex toilet facilities, a new car parking area (for up to 16 vehicles), installation of a shelter with picnic tables and five bike racks, and improvements to the entrance at Peppercorn Park.

“The O’Keefe Rail Trail is used for horse-riding, cycling and walking, with cycling and walking numbers having grown rapidly over the last two years,” said Ms Amy Johnston, City of Greater Bendigo Active and Healthy Communities Manager.

Bendigo Advertiser, 17 May edition p.5 extract

The works are planned to begin in late May and are expected to be completed by the end of July, depending upon weather conditions.

Further details are available on the City of Greater Bendigo council website.

O’Keefe Challenge 2023 Success

The 2023 O’Keefe Challenge marathon event attracted entries from regional Victoria, Melbourne and interstate. It was a spectacular day for competitors out on The O’Keefe Rail Trail, with a wonderful warm community atmosphere to combat the chilly weather.

With the event’s Light the Trail night ride this year occurring a week prior, all the main running events were held on the following Saturday. Events included the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km run, 5km run, and Ekiden relays for female and male teams.

Light the Trail Night Ride. Photo: O’Keefe Challenge

The drone footage of the runners travelling over Lake Eppalock in particular was just stunning. Photos and more details can be seen on Facebook

Marathon runners at Knowsley Photo: O’Keefe Challenge

It was amazing to see smiling faces and the sense of camaraderie at the start line, plus at the finish zone. The 2023 Challenge for all those involved was successfully completed! Event organisers extended a big thank you to all of the volunteers, sponsors, and athletes for being a part of the day.

Friends Share Trail and Lunch

The thought of riding the O’Keefe Rail Trail and having lunch in Heathcote with friends is a popular activity for many.

This thought saw members of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail out for the group’s monthly ride in April. Whether using a gravel bike, mountain bike, or e-bike, riders chose distances to suit their ability.

Riders at Lake Eppalock Photo: G. Long

Most riders chose to start at Axedale while others commenced in Bendigo. After crossing the Campaspe River and keeping an eye out for wallabies in the Knowsley Forest, all riders stopped at Lake Eppalock to enjoy the views.

Crossing the Mt Ida Creek bridge Photo: G. Long

Next came riding through the One Eye Forest on the way to Heathcote for a bakery style lunch. Rested and all fuelled up, the riders soaked up the sunny Autumn day and shared their return through natural environs.

Riders in the One Eye Forest Photo: G. Long

With the next monthly ride activity planned, new members are welcomed. Check out this web page for related membership information, or email

Bikes on Buses gain popularity

As a support or option for O’Keefe Rail Trail users, the PTV Heathcote-Bendigo bus is fitted with a bike rack to carry two bikes. It is great to see people making good use of the bike rack on this bus.

Bikes on Bus in Heathcote. Photo: Margie Joyce

This particular bus service does not have the MYKI card facility. So be sure to take a credit or dedit card or some cash with you when heading out on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. It could be ‘bike rescue’ that becomes the reason to use the bus!

Whether a planned or unplanned use of this ‘bikes on bus’ service is to happen, access to any of the bus stops is within easy reach of the rail trail. Catching a bus with your bike could just make your day so much more enjoyable!

Fabulous Feedback

With recent upgrading works completed in time for the ANZAC Day extended weekend, the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s traffic has been busy.

Putting on the finishing touches before the weekend. Photo: Mick Monigatti

Feedback from cyclists using the rail trail over recent days has been very positive. “OKRT looking its best for a glorious morning ride joining many others as the ☀️ warms the day.” stated Bendigo resident Nev Shand upon logging his ride on Strava, “There were so many cyclists, families, groups, pairs and solo riders, along with the many local walkers taking their fur children for a stroll!” Nev later stated.

A couple of ‘locals’, trail watching! Photo: Nev Shand
Riders passing Axedale Station’s wagon. Photo: Nev Shand
Trail crossing of the Axe Creek. Photo: Nev Shand

With the Victorian public holiday on Tuesday 25th April, its likely that many will enjoy the off-road experiences that the attractive O’Keefe Rail Trail provides.

A Taste of Trails, Food, and Wine

Wondering what memorable experiences can be had in central Victoria this weekend, especially if you turn it into being a 4 day weekend with the ANZAC Day Holiday?

The magic of the O’Keefe Rail Trail on show. Photo: Les Lewis

An escape with friends while being out on the O’Keefe Rail Trail can become a truly amazing experience. Choose interesting trail linked attractions, local wines and dining options in Heathcote, Axedale and Bendigo, yet take your time……. there is no need to hurry!!

New Bus Stop for Rail Trail

Life can be all about connections, and the access to the O’Keefe Rail Trail continues to be improved for many trail users.

A new public bus facility has recently been installed right at the rail trail’s crossing of Wilkie Road in Junortoun. Providing two new shelters, new marked asphalt indents for bus access and timetables, this stop (‘Trotting Tce/Wilkie Rd’) is on PTV’s Bendigo – Heathcote bus route. The route has a number of closeby stops to the O’Keefe Rail Trail, suited for relatively easy access by trail users

The Trotting Tce/Wilkie Rd bus stop and O’Keefe Rail Trail Photo: G. Long

With 5 services each way Mon – Fri and 3 services each way on weekends, plus buses with front mounted bike carry racks, then all that is needed for a ‘rescue’ is a Myki card!

Route map:


If only wishing to ride or walk one direction, for all or part of the trail (total distance 50kms), then plan to catch the PTV bus for the return journey. Somethings in life can just get that little bit easier at times, and this is one!

Trail Construction Works – Caution

Recent wet weather conditions had interrupted upgrade works being undertaken for certain older sections of the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Yet the good news is that the City of Greater Bendigo council’s contractor is now back carrying out these works, as of Monday 17th April.

The O’Keefe Rail Trail section currently under reconstruction is located between Bowles Rd and Giris Rd in the Longlea area.

The works commencing Monday 17th April will be adding a compacted gravel mix, as the final trail surface, and it is expected that depending on weather conditions that these works will be completed by Saturday 22nd April. With this section of the rail trail still remaining open for use by the public, trail users are asked to be patient while obeying warning signs and directions given by works staff at the site.

Students walk the O’Keefe, Raising Funds

On the last day of school term one, 700+ students and staff from Catherine McAuley College, Coolock campus (Junortoun) walked 6.1km along the O’Keefe Rail Trail.

The Caritas K’s walk is a solidarity walk where students from the college raise funds for Caritas Project Compassion.

Caritas is the Catholic non-profit charity organisation, the project helping vulnerable communities forge a path out of poverty.