Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

Support for Small Town

The small community of Pyalong is being supported by a community group, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail. A cheque for $184 was presented to the Pyalong Community House’s President Moira Waye, by Friends member Judy McLaren.

Moira accepts the donation from Judy

From an annual social event, the Friends members donate spare cash to help other worthy community organisations. Moira and her team provide support to their community during events such as COVID19 lock downs, floods, droughts, and fires. During the presentation, Moira highlighted a number of wonderful stories about the involvement by local individuals during such difficult periods.

With the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group’s efforts to also extend the popular O’Keefe Rail Trail into Pyalong, a small town that has two large amazing heritage timber railway bridges, such a connected trail would also support Pyalong’s businesses and create new opportunities.

Interested in being more involved? Consider becoming a Friends member, seek more information from Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail , make contact or complete a membership application (via ) or send an email to:

A Week with Friends 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️

Ever wondered what enjoyment you could be experiencing while being away for a week with friends and their bikes?

The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group organises regular monthly ride activities, usually based around the Bendigo area. Added to these are at least a couple of yearly activities involving a week away exploring other rail trails usually. The first of these for 2023 was based in Warrnambool, Victoria.

..and then breakfast was next!🤣

Two rail trails, the Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail and the Crater to Coast Trail (incorporating the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail), as well local Warrnambool trails, were all included in the ride planning.

Not all of the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail was able to be accessed as planned, as a section had been closed due to failed structures of two trail bridges, yet forest views between Timboon and the amazing Curdies River trail bridge didn’t disappoint! Lunch was next back in Timboon, then the riders headed onto the trail’s new southern link to Port Campbell. The ride’s finish was rewarded by a coffee, while viewing the town’s pier and harbour area.

Riding the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail. Photo: G.Long

Port Fairy and Koroit towns never disappoints visitors, and following breakfast in Port Fairy, members rode the Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail to Koroit and onto Warrnambool to finish the ride. This adventure showed why that trail is popular, for cycling and walking. Meeting members of the Koroit based Rail Trail Committee of Management, who were working around the former Koroit Railway Station to weed it’s gardens, showed how passionate this group is for this trail.

A rider’s rest stop, at the former Moyne station. Photo: G. Long

Planning is already underway for the next adventure for the Friends group’s members. Where will that be, well members need to stay tuned!!

Interested in being more involved? Consider becoming a Friends member, seek more information from Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail , make contact or complete a membership application (via ) or send an email to:

Trail Upgrade Work Progresses

For those planning to enjoy experiences from one of Victoria’s premier rail trails, you will need to be aware of current works in progress. To maintain this asset that provides a quality experience for O’Keefe Rail Trail’s users, the City of Greater Bendigo council is continuing with upgrading the trail’s oldest sections.

Unfortunately, with parts of central Victoria being impacted by thunderstorm weather this past week, the O’Keefe Rail Trail was also affected. Heavy rainfall has made the reconstruction of the Bowles Rd to Giris Rd difficult, causing a small delay to complete the works. Yet the trail remains open to the public 24/7.

O’Keefe Rail Trail at Bowles Rd. Photo: P. Ferguson

With the interim cleared surface being challenging to cycle and walk on, trail users are asked to be patient while exercising caution if passing through this area.

The expected outcome from this current reconstructed program will be a great reward for the future, so thanks to all for your patience.

O’Keefe Trail Upgrades Underway

Users of the O’Keefe Rail Trail are already benefiting from smoother trail surfaces that are expected to have better drainage for future high storm-water run-off events. City of Greater Bendigo contractors are current undertaking reconstruction of certain older sections of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, which have not had such maintenance undertaken since originally constructed 31 years ago!

Riders on the completed reconstructed section. Photo: Paul Russell

Construction work has already been completed in the section of the rail trail located between Wilkie Rd and Somerset Park Rd Junortoun, where riders using the trail have been very pleased with the outcomes.

Warning signs for works under construction ahead. Photo: G.Long

Currently reconstruction works are occurring between Hodges Rd and Giris Rd, Axedale, so trail users need to take note of warning signs as well as being near working machinery as contractors attempt to undertake work without fully closing the trail. Riders are asked to slow their speed, and ‘chill out’ while the work staff make arrangements to safely allow trail users to pass.

Local contractors reconstructing the rail trail. Photo: G.Long

The Hodges Rd and Giris Rd Axedale section had been severely impacted by the 2022 winter period that recorded unusual high rainfall, which significant storm-water runoff washed across the trail causing soil erosion. While hopefully not expected another extreme wet winter, such planned works by council should prevent future storm-water events severely damaging those older sections of the O’Keefe Rail Trail.

Social Ride with Friends

A night ride on bikes was the attraction for members of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group, their first social ride for 2023. This was a late afternoon and evening activity, in fairly hot conditions, riding from Spring Gully to the Botanical Hotel in White Hills for dinner. The planned ride route was along Bendigo’s off-road urban trails, completely bypassing streets and motor vehicle traffic.

Riders brief stop-over at the Gardens of the Future

Once dinner was finished, it was back on the bikes to explore some of Larni Garingilang, Gardens of the Future, with this area’s recently completed new garden section incorporating an indigenous focus, gathering and educational spaces, plus wetlands and ponds.

The riders then continued to retrace their route along the Bendigo Creek Trail, the Back Creek Trail and the Spring Gully Trail. This ‘Last Wednesday of the Month’ social ride was enjoyed by all, although completed before darkness fell and the need to be guided by bike lights! The next member’s social ride will be on Wednesday 22 February.

Trail Towns Expands View Options

The television program Trail Towns is dedicated to encouraging more families and friends to visit more cities, towns, and regions for a bicycle holiday, and when they do, stay, spend money, and help those places prosper and flourish.

To expand the program’s reach, Trail Towns will now be shown on Foxtel and BINGE, as well as continuing to be shown on SBS and SBS On Demand.

The O’Keefe Rail Trail was one of the first trails to feature in Trail Towns Season 1 Episode 5 ‘The Goldfields Region of Victoria’ on SBS. The series 1 and 2 have shared many trail related stories with millions Australians, and more recently to New Zealanders.

From Saturday 4th February 2023, Season 1 will be shown on Foxtel’s Lifestyle Food Channel, and go live on BINGE immediately after. The series producers have also almost completed Season 3, so keep an eye out for that one too in the future.

Bridge Reopened

Repair works to the O’Keefe Rail Trail by the City of Greater Bendigo has now reopened the trail’s Campaspe Rv bridge, following damage sustained from the recent major flooding event.

While additional works are planned, the recently completed works have allowed trail users to safely cross the river without needing to share the McIvor Hwy bridge.

Trail’s Campaspe Rv bridge now open. Photo: A. Ficken

Temporary safety fences are in place, as further works to reinstall approach fences and bollards are required. This additional work is unlikely to be completed before the Christmas holiday period. 

Resurfacing of the trail’s damaged gravel surface sections will be undertaken when gravel material is available from the quarry in 2023.

Repairs to Rail Trail Progressing

Its good news for the upcoming Christmas-NY holiday season, with the previously closed section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail at Lake Eppalock, Derrinal, now opened by trail manager the City of Greater Bendigo council for public use.

Whilst only temporary repairs have been made to the damaged sections of the trail’s causeway across the lake, trail users will need to be careful in observing for any trail surface variations and loose gravel. Further repair work to this section is expected to be undertaken in 2023.

Western access point to the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s causeway across Lake Eppalock. Photo: G.Long

At the present moment it is a great opportunity to be on the trail’s lake causeway, prior to the lake’s water level lowering further, to enjoy a magical experience of observing the lake’s water lapping up to both sides of the trail.

The O’Keefe Rail Trail’s causeway across Lake Eppalock (prior to temporary repairs). Photo: G.Long

As for the trail’s closed Campaspe River trail bridge, this still requires an engineering assessment to be undertaken by council staff. Even though a council contractor is undertaking temporary repairs to the damaged bridge approaches, the trail’s Campaspe River bridge is still closed to the public yet is hoped to be opened for access prior to Christmas Day 2022. In the meantime, O’Keefe Rail Trail users are able to bypass this closed bridge, by using a short section of the McIvor Hwy and the highway’s road bridge at Axedale.

Bikes on Buses for Rail Trail Users

With the Victorian PTV ‘Bikes on Buses’ program having been rolled out in the Bendigo and Castlemaine areas in early 2022, the Bendigo Heathcote PTV service was included in that program after the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group made a request via Jacinta Allan MP State member for Bendigo East.

Bike fitted on a bus mounted rack. Photo: DoT supplied

The PTV service provider Organ’s Coaches has since introduced a new larger bus on the Bendigo Heathcote service, which has now had an external bike rack fitted to carry two (2) bikes. This is a great service for any O’Keefe Rail Trail user who may plan to only ride or walk a section of the trail, and then use the PTV bus service to return them to a specific bus stop location. Or should you ‘run out of puff’ or have an unplanned mechanical issue on your bike, then this bus service could become the ideal ‘roadside assist’ option!

The location of bus stops along the O’Keefe Rail Trail route can be found via the PTV web page A service time table can also be found on the PTV web page

Like to know how to use these bus mounted bike racks? An instructional video is available (produced when these racks were being trialled, yet is still applicable) Also there is related information on the PTV web page ‘Bikes and Public Transport’.

So don’t forget to pack your credit or debit card or cash (bus doesn’t have MYKI) when heading out to enjoy the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Such payment options could become your insurance for an easy return!

Trail and River Benefits from Work

The benefits of community volunteering were shown when members of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail joined staff from the City of Greater Bendigo council for a combined working bee, held at the Campaspe River Axedale. This was the second effort in this area by the Friends group members, to repair the damage to these community plantations of young trees and shrubs caused by recent severe flooding from the Campaspe River.

Volunteers and council staff working together to achieve future outcomes. Photo: Lindsay Clay

The height of the flood waters had completely submerged the adjoining McIvor Highway bridge over the Campaspe River, closing the highway for a period of time, as well as naturally the adjoining young plantation. With the river height having returned to near normal flows, such has enabled the plantation works to be undertaken. This included removing dead plants, installing replacement tree guards, re-staking, some replanting, and mowing of the surrounding grass. Due to seasonal changes, it is hoped that these efforts will give the surviving plants a chance to endure the coming summer period.

Repairing the impacts of the inundation from flood waters (river height exceeded the highway bridge railings). Photo: Lindsay Clay

With this concerted effort helped by the support and knowledge of the Parks & Natural Reserves staff, the outcomes are expected to enhance this immediate area adjoining the O’Keefe Rail Trail in the future. Such outcomes is likely to have trail users spending more time exploring this natural river environment, using the tables and seats provided by the Friends group, as well as enjoying the added attraction of a unique natural timbered shelter with its animal carvings.