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2013 Lakes and Rail Trail

Gippsland VictoriaFriday, 4th October 2013 - Monday, 7th October 2013

Bairnsdale to Orbost
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Bairnsdale to Orbost: Explore the once bustling transport links of the railway line and waterways of Victoria's East Gippsland, now transformed into idyllic cycling routes for us to explore. We have picked out a magnificent combination of Rail Trails, forest tracks and backways for our tour to allow you to explore slowly and deeply breathe in the salt air and bush fragrances.

Cycle the East Gippsland Rail Trail between the expanses of the Gippsland Lakes, to the quiet 'mingling waters' of Nowa Nowa and on to the labyrinthine Snowy River as it loops across its flood plain.

2013 Lakes and Rail Trail - Gippsland Victoria
Dates : 4 Oct 2013 - 7 Oct 2013
Duration : 4 days, 3 nights.
4 actual ride days.
0 rest days.
Distance : 188km
Ave. Daily : 47km
Bike Type : Mountain or hybrid bike in good condition OR hire
Terrain : Rail Trails, firm crushed gravel, firm natural surface
Accomm. : Lovely rural cottages & farmstay
Meals : All meals included
Difficulty : Easy to moderate
Cost : $1190 pp twin share
Deposit : $200
  • Three excellent meals each day, stuffed with carbs, protein and flavour!
  • Dinner is at excellent restaurants preparing quality local produce in wonderful locations, and on our last night a classic country dinner at our farmstay accommodation.
  • 3 nights comfortable twin/double share room accommodation in cottages and lodges in rural locations.
  • Fresh brewed tea and coffee, high energy snacks, water and seats at rest stops during the day.
  • Support vehicle for the weary.
  • Lake cruise, weather permitting.
  • Luggage transport between accommodation venues.
  • Return transport to Bairnsdale for you, your bike and your luggage at the end of the tour (or from Orbost to Bairnsdale at the start of the tour if this suits you better).
  • Knowledgeable local tour guide with extensive cycle tour experience.
  • Meet and talk to local people: learn about the landscape you are riding through.
  • First aid and mechanical back up, communications system for safety in bush locations.

"Thank you so much for all your effort that went into making the bike ride a great experience for me. Nothing was too much trouble, and you made us all feel very comfortable and safe. The food was great and plenty of it. I never realised how beautiful that part of Victoria was, and how fortunate was I, to enjoy it up close and personal". Robyn

 lakes rail trail tour

Written by Cyclist

alltrails rail trail testimonialJust wanted to say thanks for giving us the opportunity to participate in this tour. We really enjoyed the trip which was run extremely well. Liz does a great job. I can recommend her tours to others. I see this as yet another example of what a great job you do at All Trails and why you have so much in the way of repeat clients. You treat everyone like a big family. Thanks again and looking forward to catching up with the All Trails team at the Great Vic. Gwyn W (VIC) Lakes & Rail Trail 2013

How do I get there and back?

The tour starts at 8.30am Friday morning in Bairnsdale, a little over 3 hours drive from Melbourne CBD, or approx 4 hours by train. If travelling by train you will need to come to Bairnsdale on Thursday night. Contact our office for suggestions on accommodation for Thursday night.

Currently the train line from Melbourne to Bairnsdale is out of service from Traralgon so coaches complete the last leg from Traralgon to Bairnsdale. The coaches generally won't take bikes so you can either hire a bike for the tour or we will arrange a vehicle pickup from Traralgon ($25pp), meeting the train departing Southern Cross (Melbourne) at 1.30 pm on Thursday Oct 3, arriving Traralgon approx 3.40pm.

On Friday morning you will be picked up from your accommodation and we will drive about 10 minutes to the ride start on the Gippsland Lakes.

Riders from ACT or NSW may prefer to drive to Orbost rather than Bairnsdale. If so, you will be picked up from Orbost and driven to Bairnsdale on Friday morning at approx 7:30am.

After the tour finishes on Monday in Orbost, you will return to Bairnsdale by vehicle at the end of the day. You can be dropped off at the station to catch a coach/train, or at your vehicle if you have driven, or there will be a return transfer for bikes and cyclists to Traralgon for $25pp.

How fit do I need to be?

The Lakes and Rail Trail Tour is a comfortable tour for anyone who rides their bike at least once a week and can comfortably complete a ride of 40 km in a day. The tracks we ride on have mostly gentle gradients, and while unsealed generally have a good hard packed surface, although this can change after wet weather. If you do all your riding on sealed roads and paths, bear in mind that unsealed tracks can add around 30% to the effort required. A more specific training plan will be sent out upon booking your place on the tour.

What sort of bike do I need?

The Trail is unsealed after the first 10 km, making it unsuitable to road bikes with narrow tyres. Hybrid type bikes with wider tyres are very comfortable on the trail for most riders. A comfortable seat and a proper fit to your bike is essential. A mountain bike can be provided for you to use on tour: Trek 3700 in excellent condition with specific mens and womens seats. All previous riders have found them to be excellent.

Track surfaces

The East Gippsland Rail Trail has a firm crushed gravel surface for most of it's length, with the first 10 km sealed. The Gippsland Discovery Trail ( Mississippi Trail) has a crushed rock or in places natural earth surface, and it is not unusual to encounter sticks ( or branches) on the trail after wind. Other forestry tracks are occasionally used and are usually a firm natural surface ( generally hard packed sand) or formed gravel.

How remote are the tours?

The trail is rarely more than a few kilometres from a main road, however in the eastern section it may be up to 20 km from the nearest town. Much of the trail has mobile phone coverage, however it is not present on the whole trail.

What’s the weather like?

East Gippsland receives typical Victorian weather which can include long stable periods as well as warm to hot northwesterly systems followed by cold and sometimes wet southwesterly winds. At any time of year a wide variety of weather conditions can be experienced over the space of a few days. As a general rule, the coastal areas of East Gippsland have milder weather than Melbourne: a degree or two warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Spring and autumn generally provide terrific cycling conditions.

How much traffic is there?

Wallabies, lyrebirds, goannas, kangaroos and the occasional stockman with a mob of cattle are all common users of the roads our tours travel on. Occasional sightings of rare motorized specimens occur from time to time. At times of mass migration up to five vehicles per hour may occur on the busiest roads.

What type of roads do we ride on?

The East Gippsland Rail Trail is hard packed crushed rock for most of it's length, providing an excellent riding surface for hybrid and mountain bikes. Side trips can involve short distances of sealed road with light traffic and forest tracks which are formed but not surfaced, and could include sections with sand, a loose rocky surface or forest litter.

Are there hills?

On the trail gradients are very gentle, however some hills can be quite long - up to 5km. Where the tour diverts from the Trail there are a few short, steeper hills, however these are few and far between.

How long do we ride for each day?

We will start riding each day at around 9am. Depending on the group's speed, we can expect to arrive at the day's destination in the early afternoon.

Food & snacks on the trail

Morning tea and lunch will be a chance to take a breather, have a hot or cool drink and carb up on something indulgent. Trail mix and fruit will be available each morning at breakfast to pack in your day pack for instant fuel as you ride - we encourage you to do so. There is nothing worse than the fuel tank reaching empty at the bottom of the last hill before morning tea.

I’m gluten intolerant….

Meat eaters, vegetarians and special diets can all be catered for. Just indicate on your registration form if you have particular dietary needs.

How do I get there?

The East Gippsland Rail Trail Tour starts in Bairnsdale. The ride finishes in Orbost, with return transport provided to Bairnsdale. Bairnsdale has two to three train services to and from Melbourne each day.

Is it suitable for children?

The Rail Trail tour is suited to children who enjoy riding, and parents who enjoy riding with them! Fit parents who are accustomed to riding with their children on unsealed tracks with a trailer or tagalong would also enjoy this tour. Children over 4 years of age pay the same fare as adults.

Why do I need to sign an 'Exclusion of Rights to Sue' waiver?

This waiver is a legally binding document in which you accept the inherent risks associated with cycling. Without the waiver, common law in Victoria says that you are entitled to sue if someone sells you goods or services which cause you to die or sustain injury. Any 'adventure' activity carries an inherent risk due to the nature of the activity. Many tourism businesses in Victoria stopped operating, until a law was passed in which participants can be asked to set aside this specific right. It is now a common requirement of adventure activity to require participants to sign this or a similar waiver, with most insurance companies requiring that we do so! It does not remove your rights if there has been negligence on the part of the operator, causing you to suffer injury or death. Rider safety is of paramount importance to the operator of this tour and a comprehensive Risk Management Plan is in place to do everything possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable tour for all riders.

Like the photos?

Most of the photography on our website for this ride has been taken by Karen Graham, professional travel writer and photographer. Find more at

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