Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore rail trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

Rail trail reserve helping to retain endangered species

The O’Keefe Rail Trail is the focus of a project to install nest boxes along a section of the trail, for Brush-tailed Phascogales (Tuans) and Sugar Gliders. These new nest boxes, built by students at Catholic College Bendigo, should become homes to these small threatened animals in the trail reserve’s natural environment.

Brush-tailed Phascogale Photo: Jerry Alexander

Brush-tailed Phascogale Photo: Jerry Alexander

The location for these boxes is along the O’Keefe Rail Trail, between Knul-doorong Woodland (Somerset Park Rd) and the Junortoun Flora and Fauna Reserve (Trotting Tce) Junortoun. Funding for the project has been provided by a City of Greater Bendigo Council’s Community Grant, awarded to the Junortoun Community Action Group

The public can witness the boxes being installed, which is to occur on Monday 24th April at 2:15pm at the O’Keefe Rail Trail crossing on Wilkie Road Junortoun.

Media Release by Junortoun Community Action Group.

Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail Feasibility Study Closing!

The Wallan to Heathcote feasibility study’s community feedback stage is drawing to a close. The final date for feedback is 5pm Monday 10th April, therefore members of the various communities that are likely to benefit from such a trail, or individuals who would like to raise any points of view,  plus general trail users, are all encouraged to complete the feedback form.

This feedback can easily be completed on the Engaging Mitchell web page’s ‘Complete form‘ link.

'Pink Cliffs' cutting, Pyalong. Photo: G Long

‘Pink Cliffs’ cutting, Pyalong. Photo: G Long

Further information can also be obtained from http://wp.me/ptMbe-2kM

O’Keefe Rail Trail Supports Disability Users

With the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon only 2 weeks away, running the 42kms may be difficult for some yet exciting for others. Marney Lamb and Rohan Lee are definitely excited, as being disabled people they never thought that being involved in a marathon is what they would be doing this month!

Against the odds Rohan Lee, 43 and Marney Lamb, 26 are set to take on the 42km in the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon, despite both using wheelchairs full-time. This is all due to two local heroes Dan O’Bree and Travis Edwards and the Loddon Shire Council who have loaned a trail rider – an all terrain wheelchair.

https://www.facebook.com/9NewsCentralVictoria/videos/1704798643146425/

For Rohan and Marney to be able to compete in a marathon in a wheelchair is beyond their expectations. It’s definitely a enormous physical challenge for both Rohan and Marney, as well as for Travis and Dan to manouver the trail rider wheelchair through the natural terrain of the trail. There will certainly be a lot of intense emotions from everyone, when they all cross the finish line!

The O’Keefe attracts cycle tourists

The love of travelling is one of the reasons why Queenslanders Phil and Sheryl Bennett have been exploring parts of Australia.

Following retirement, they found that cycling was another way to explore many areas. With their small motorhome able to carry their bikes, they now make annual journeys to various locations around Australia to also ride off-road trails.

On their current trip to Victoria, Phil and Sheryl explored central Victorian trails, which including the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Having based themselves at a Bendigo caravan park, they explored Bendigo via the Bendigo Creek Trail, then rode the rail trail from Bendigo to Heathcote for an overnight stay.

Sheryl and Phil Bennett enjoy a coffee, riding the O'Keefe Rail Trail. Photo Les Lewis

Sheryl and Phil Bennett enjoy a coffee, riding the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Photo Les Lewis

Of course the return ride to Bendigo incurred a small diversion to the Axedale Tavern, as Sheryl had heard that the Tavern’s Coffee House made a great coffee! Once their time in Bendigo was over, they planned to travel to Western Victoria exploring other off-road trails.

Since the O’Keefe Rail Trail has been extended and upgraded, it is now attracting the likes of Phil and Sheryl, as cycle tourists who usually stay longer in an area so benefiting the local economy.

 

Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail Study seeks public feedback

A proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail has the Victorian State Government, Mitchell Shire, and City of Greater Bendigo co-funding a study to assess the feasibility of a new 65km rail trail, from Wallan to Heathcote for recreational walkers, cyclists, and possibly horse riders.

Such a trail may connect, via a safe off-road trail, the communities of Wallan, Heathcote Junction, Wandong, Kilmore, Pyalong, Tooborac, and Heathcote. Linking with the O’Keefe Rail Trail, such connection may also link with the communities of Knowsley, Axedale, Junortoun and Bendigo.

The study is at the community and landowner consultations phase, with a series of Listening Posts being conducted. The Engaging Mitchell web site has details of these Listening Posts’ dates and more information.

The Heathcote Bush Market's Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail Listening Post. 4 March 2017. Photo: G.Long

The Heathcote Bush Market’s Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail Listening Post. 4 March 2017. Photo: G.Long

Feedback by the public on the proposal is also being encouraged, either by completing the feedback form at the Listening Posts, sending a completed form via Aust Post, or an on-line survey using the Engaging Mitchell web page’s feedback link. Such feedback will be received until by 5pm on Monday 10 April 2017.

More reasons to visit the O’Keefe Rail Trail!

Wanting another reason to visit central Victoria to cycle or walk the O’Keefe Rail Trail? As well as the peaceful off-road natural environment of the rail trail, Heathcote, Axedale and Bendigo have much more to offer.

Vahland Fountain and Pall Mall. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

Vahland Fountain and Pall Mall. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

Bendigo has a number of iconic buildings, many from the 19th century gold rush era. Take a stroll around the CBD by night, see the city’s attractions light up the past and present.

Conservatory Gardens Bendigo. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

Conservatory Gardens Bendigo. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

 

Former Bendigo GPO, Pall Mall Bendigo. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

Pall Mall, Bendigo. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

 

Bendigo Town Hall. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

Bendigo Town Hall. 6 Mar 2017. Photo: G.Long

 

Axedale has now become the half way stop off point from the trail. If the Axedale Tavern’s quirky rooms with old photos on the walls could speak, many stories from the past would and can come to life while having a meal and a drink! Of course the Platypus Compass, located on the trail, is definitely worth a selfie!

Platypus Compass, River Reserve, Axedale Photo: G.Long

Platypus Compass, River Reserve, Axedale Photo: G.Long

 

Heathcote area is a wine makers delight, as it is ‘shiraz’ country plus many other varieties of wine locally produced. Boutique wineries and accommodation, cellar doors, restaurants, cafes and bakeries, there is even a locally milled natural timber rail trail shelter.

Heathcote Wine Hub 11 June 2016. Photo Lyn Furneaux

Heathcote Wine Hub 11 June 2016. Photo Lyn Furneaux

 

The Lions Club of Heathcote's O'Keefe Rail Trail shelter, 3 Jan 2016. Photo: Daryl Dedman

The Lions Club of Heathcote’s O’Keefe Rail Trail shelter, 3 Jan 2016. Photo: Daryl Dedman

Seeking your feedback for the Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail Study

The Mitchell Shire, City of Greater Bendigo and the Victorian State Government have enable a current study to assess the feasibility of a new rail trail from Wallan to Heathcote, for commuting, recreational walkers, cyclists, and possibly horse riders.

Spiral bike rack - High St Heathcote 11 June 2016. Photo Lyn Furneaux

Cycle tourism – High St Heathcote 11 June 2016. Photo L. Furneaux

The focus for a trail route is a former railway alignment, between Wallan and Heathcote, the connection with O’Keefe Rail Trail (Heathcote – Bendigo), and options to connect this to the Great Victorian Rail Trail as well as the Melbourne metro trail network.

The former railway bridge, Mollison Creek, Pyalong. Photo: Garry Long

The former railway bridge, Mollison Creek, Pyalong. Photo: G. Long

Members of the public are invited to have their say on the trail proposal, the possible route, and to share their related thoughts. up until Monday 20 March 2017.

To provide your feedback, please click this ‘Engaging Mitchell’ link, and complete the general survey or provide an online submission.

Events focus on the O’Keefe Rail Trail

The launch of both the Cycle the O’Keefe event and the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon event for 2017 took place in Bendigo on 9 February. The well attendance audience was provided with information about the overwhelming success of the 2016 marathon events, plus the inclusion to the 2017 marathon of a number of cycling events, by Event Director Sandra Slatter.

O'Keefe Rail Trail Users - Lake Eppalock. Photo: from City of Greater Bendigo Council

Families enjoying the O’Keefe Rail Trail at Lake Eppalock.

With the launch of the newest event focused on the O’Keefe Rail Trail, ‘Cycle the O’Keefe’, this is sure to benefit from the popularity of cycle tourism and cycle events as well as encouraging event participation by individuals, families and the communities of Heathcote, Axedale and Bendigo. Combined with the already successful initial O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon, these two events have the potential to be major flags on the event calendar for central Victoria plus highlighting the O’Keefe Rail Trail as an iconic trail.

WIN TV News Bendigo article

The Bendigo Advertiser news web article

Event dates are:

22 April – Cycle the O’Keefe events

23 April – O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon events

Registrations: www.theokeefe.com.au

Rail Trail Encourages Walking

Have you seen ‘Gerry’ on your ride or walk along the O’Keefe Rail Trail? Gerry is a regular walker, and has walked sections that incorporate the entire length of the O’Keefe trail at various times. As a keen walker, he has also enjoyed many of Victoria’s trails.

gerry

‘Gerry’ walking and enjoying the O’Keefe Rail Trail. 1 Feb 2017. Photo: Les Lewis

On a day when members of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail were out on O’Keefe Rail Trail involved in a working bee, Gerry was passing by just west of Knowsley. He was walking from Heathcote to Axedale, a distance of about 30kms.

“It’s a great way to appreciate the quite atmosphere away from busy roads and urban areas, be immersed in the natural environment, as well as keeping up my fitness level” said Gerry, “This trail, with its surface finish and low gradients, is excellent for walkers of any age.”

Space on your public notice board?

Do you know of a public notice board in your location, which has space for information related to the O’Keefe Rail Trail and the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail? Want to know more about trails in central Victoria?

The Friends group is keen to inform the public, walkers, cyclists, those interested in natural environments or railway history, about the O’Keefe Rail Trail and the positive experiences that can be had while using this off-road trail.

O'Keefe Rail Trail information displayed on notice board, Kennington Reservoir, Bendigo. Photo: G.Long

O’Keefe Rail Trail information display, Kennington Reservoir, Bendigo. Photo: G.Long

 

Suitable information is available to download directly from the Friends web page ‘Brochures, Maps, Apps, Files, Rides’ or from Bendigo Tourism’s web page O’Keefe Rail Trail. Also printed material may be made available by contacting Bendigo Tourism on 1800813153 or tourism@bendigo.vic.gov.au. Otherwise a request can be emailed to bendigokilmorerailtrail@gmail.com, yet an allowance for processing this last method of request will be required.