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Linking central Victoria via the old railway line
Local Trail Options
The Greater Bendigo area boasts a number of riding/walking off-road trail options, and many of these link with the O’Keefe Rail Trail.
An alternative route between Bendigo East and Axedale is along forest tracks through box-ironbark woodland of the Wellsford Forest Regional Park/State forest. One forest route option is starting from the intersection of McIvor Hwy Axedale and Sugarloaf Rd. Continue along Sugarloaf Rd to Pinpandoor Rd, Jay Track, Ellesmere Track, Plant Rd, and Rifle Range Rd to Pratts Park Rd Bendigo East, or do this in the reverse. Note: sections of these forest trails requires users to have good orientation and mapping skills (or a smart device with a GPX map file). These tracks are suitable for walking, and MTB or gravel / hybrid bikes, with access dependent upon weather and track conditions. The route does not have wayfinding signs at every cross point. The use of a DELWP map is recommended e.g. refer DELWP interactive forest explorer as well as downloading a GPX file from this Resources page (page shows an overview map also).
At either the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s crossing points of Pratts Park Rd or Markovitch Ln, travel on these roads for approx 1 km in a southerly direction to McIvor Highway, cross this highway, and use the Bendigo Bushland Trail (or other formal forest tracks) within the One Tree Hill Regional Park.
Explore the 70+km Bendigo Bushland Trail by MTB or on foot, with this trail intersecting with the O’Keefe Rail Trail at Pratts Park Rd or Markovitch Ln. Map link or details from the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre. Suitable for MTB riding or on foot. Note: some sections of this trail requires users to have good orientation and mapping skills, due to the trail’s signage needing improvements (initial signage improvements are being undertaken by Parks Vic and Council, from mid 2020 and continuing).
Both parks are just north of Bendigo and have good short walks and cycling options. For more information visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au, the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre, or the State Government Offices (Bendigo) Taylors St Epsom (during business hours).
Both these forest parks have good short walks, and some trails are suitable for MTB riding. For more information visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au, the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre, or the State Government Offices (Bendigo) Taylors St Epsom (during business hours).
There are a number of forest tracks within the Knowsley Forest, with some connected directly to the O’Keefe Rail Trail that transverses this forest. Using Smart Track will give access to this forest’s Day Visitor Area, that has shelters, BBQ, table seats and toilet facilities.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail links to the Bendigo Creek Trail near Weeroona Ave North Bendigo (map link). At this trail junction, the Bendigo Creek Trail can be used in two direction, towards the northern most point at Howard St Epsom (northern Bendigo suburb), and also past Lake Weeroona to the southern most point at Crusoe Reservoir & No. 7 Reservoir (access from Furness St Kangaroo Flat). Detailed directional trail maps are located along the Bendigo Creek Trail. Trail surface is sealed, except for the loop trails (fine gravel) around the two reservoirs.
The urban Long Gully Trail can be accessed from a number of street crossing within the suburbs of North Bendigo, Long Gully and West Bendigo. The trail’s start/end locations are at Weeroona Ave (near the Bendigo Creek Trail, and also 200m from the O’Keefe Rail Trail) and Marong Rd. (near the West Bendigo Stadium). This is a fully sealed trail so available to walkers and all types of bikes.
Banjo Patterson’s Mulga Bill’s Bicycle poem hailed from Eaglehawk, a Bendigo suburb, hence the inspiration for naming the Mulga Bill Bicycle Trail that explores sections of this area from Lake Neangar to Victoria Hill (a great location to view the surrounding area, near the historical stone monument). Available for walkers, and off-road bikes ie MTB, gravel bikes, the trail is accessible from Simpsons Rd Eaglehawk (opposite Lake Neangar).
Following along the Grassy Flat Creek, this trail links with the O’Keefe Rail Trail at intersection of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, McDowells Rd, Strickland Rd and Hesling Crt. Heading in a southern direction, passing by Harcourt Park, crossing McIvor Hwy, through Strathdale Park, Grassy Flat Bushland Reserve, Kennington Reservoir, crossing Condon St and along the creek reserve, the off-road trail ends at the intersection of Marnie Rd and Kiandra Way.
This is a walking and cycling (MTB) trail only. Its route is from Bendigo to Castlemaine to Daylesford to Creswick to Ballarat. Wayfinding signage has been upgraded, for some short sections of trail splits walking from cycling due to the terrain. Having downloading a GPX file for the section being navigated is an advantage. The section closest to Bendigo is called the Leanganook Track.
Discover the history of Bendigo with self guided walks obtained from the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail provides access to the Campaspe River Reserve’s natural river environment, the amazing ‘Platypus Compass’ metal art sculpture, plus there is much more to see and experience in this river reserve. Table and seats are provided for a picnic, or just the place to rest and take in the atmosphere.
While in Axedale, this interesting town has much history to discover. The Axedale Historical Trail is just the place to link you with many of town’s historical icons. More details on this trail in this ‘News’ post or the Axedale 3551 web page. Don’t forget to download the App onto your device, before heading off along the trail.
Heathcote has a number of local trails, with wayfinding signs, such as The McIvor Creek Trail/Valley of Liquid Ambers Trail located along the McIvor Creek within the township of Heathcote. Access to this trail can be from a number of points, one being via the trail suspension bridge at Thomas St (care required, cyclists dismount), another at Barrack St near the Heathcote Visitor Information Centre. Also the Pink Cliffs Trail, Viewing Rock Trail and more trails to discover while in Heathcote.
The City of Greater Bendigo Council and the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail are keen to gain valuable feedback from users of the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Your feedback will assist with trail improvements and ongoing trail development.
Please take the short survey, after experiencing this trail: www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/okeefetrailsurvey