The Great Victorian & Warby Rail Trails – May 2015

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The Great Victorian & Warby Rail Trails – May 2015

Mansfield to Tallarook then Warburton to Lilydale VIC

Saturday 16 May, 2015 to Tuesday 19 May, 2015

The Great Victorian Rail Trail is the longest continuous rail trail in Australia. Traversing 125km through farmland, along the Goulburn River and in the foothills of the magnificent Victorian High Country. It uses the route originally laid down in 1883 for the steam railway, which closed in 1978. In June 2012 it was opened as a cyclist’s dream. When you finish cycling this trail the tour continues to another of Victoria’s cycling highlights; a stunning 17km downhill ride from the top of Mount Donna Buang to Warburton, followed by the 40km Warburton to Lilydale Rail Trail.

AllTrails have created this 4 day ride on trails completely off the road, on nice hard-packed gravel surfaces, no steep climbs, stunning scenery, native wildlife and farm animals, stylish accommodation, great local food and Susan’s home cooked muffins. This is a very different ride for AllTrails compared to our usual long distance road bike tours and we love the change of pace and scenery.  Four unforgettable days on the bike. Book it, you will love it.

BONUSMates Rates Group Discounts. Group discounts for 3 or more cyclists.

As featured in the Herald Sun Weekend Travel Editorial.  Read Here

Cycle Two Rail Trails:
MANSFIELD TO  TALLAROOK
THEN
WARBURTON TO LILYDALE

Date :
Sat 16 May – Tue 19 May 2015
Duration :
3 or 4 cycling days,
2 or 3 nights accom.
Distance :
125 or 181km
Ave. Daily :
42km
Bike Type :
Mountain bike is best. Hybrid & touring bikes acceptable
Terrain :
Hard packed gravel surface
Group Size :
Approx 10
Accom  :
Country Motel & Boutique Hotels
Meals  :
All meals and morning teas
Difficulty Grading :
4/10
Price :
$1090 twin share 3 days
$1295 twin share 4 days
Deposit :
$200

Highlights

  • Two of the best Rail Trails in the country, leaving the logistics to us
  • Towns and settlements along the way offer great places to explore, including historic landmarks and buildings, delicious cafes, art galleries, museums, food and wine, shopping and markets
  • Magnificent scenery, along vineyards, over rivers and lakes and views of beautiful distant mountain ranges
  • The animals, both farmed and native, seen on our reconnaissance tour including kangaroos & wombats
  • Cycling more than 40 historic railway bridges including the 380 metre long bridge across Lake Eildon
  • Riding through the 130 year old, 200m long brick Cheviot Tunnel
  • Historical railway stations alongside the trails
  • Four days of traffic free riding with the assurance of full time small group support
  • Scrumptious morning teas along the track & afternoon teas at your accommodation
  • 2 course gourmet dinner at the famous Yea Peppercorn Restaurant
  • The blissful quiet. Only the sound of your bike on the trail and the birds in the trees
The individual highlights of this ride are numerous, however the biggest highlight is just being there and enjoying the entire experience of a great rail trail, being looked after by the best tour company in the business, and sharing it all with a small group of like-minded people. Why not rent a tandem and do it as a couple?

AllTrails Great Vic Rail Trail Tour

Quotes: Enjoyed the three day Great Victorian Rail Trail ride very much. Ben does an outstanding job of organising EVERYTHING whilst always remaining calm and happy. Highlight for me was riding alongside the Goulburn River, it was so peaceful and the scenery was beautiful. Weather was sensational too. Also great to meet new cycling friends. Thanks again

Hi to AllTrails, Just a short note to let you know how much Auke, Clive and I enjoyed ourselves. Ben the brilliant. Helpful, knowledgeable and such good company. Great cycling companions. Friendships resumed and new friends made. From the scrumptious devonshire tea in amongst a beautiful garden setting to a echidna meandering in the Cheviot tunnel, it was all just fantastic. Looking forward to more trips.

I had a wonderful time, thank you for all your help and fantastic organisation. Thank you also for you total calm and not a problem attitude when major item was left on the bus (namely suitcase – oops!!) and you had to do the return trip to drop it off to me. Such a lovely group of people also, which combined with the most perfect weather and gorgeous countryside was a lovely way to spend a few days. Thank you again for a really well run and most enjoyable bike ride. 

Chris and I had a great time on the Rail Trail ride over the long weekend; it was HOT but still a fun time. We had heard so many positive comments about Ben from all sorts of cycling contacts and were looking forward to meeting him. He was fantastic and an amazing asset to AllTrails …… professional, friendly, helpful, fun, unflappable, and knowledgeable, an all round terrific bloke!!!! Icy frozen sticks were a real treat, Susan’s muffins where super yummy, and little surprise bags of treats were fun too. Thanks for a great weekend and we will look forward to riding again one day with AllTrails and the lovely Ben! 

Arrived home yesterday – the Rail Trail experience was fabulous. Thank-you for your detailed coordination, and also for the birthday card – that was quite a surprise. Kaye and I wish to thank the All-Trails team for hosting and supporting us, and please pass our sincere gratitude to Ben – we couldn’t have asked for a better host. 

Thanks for the great photos that Ben took – he was a super guy to run the ride and kept tabs on us really well. It was a great three days. 

Thanks Ben for a great Rail Trail ride – we loved it. 

You wake up to the morning bird calls and are feeling good after yesterday’s invigorating ride. If it’s Bonnie Doon you step out to enjoy the serenity – if it’s Yea you step out onto the balcony to greet the day. You’re up into the shower then joined by the others for a wholesome bike rider’s breakfast. It’s back on your bike and after about 15km down the rail trail we spoil you with morning tea and Susan’s home-made muffins. Further along the trail we meet up for a cafe lunch with some great choices of local produce, enough sustenance and energy to take you through into the afternoon. After a day of high country sights we provide you with a cuppa and afternoon tea. Before dinner, explore the town or relax at our accommodation. In the evenings we share a delicious dinner, a celebratory drink and a few stories before bed. Tomorrow the riding continues – it is quite amazing the fun that can be had riding on this old train route, now a cyclist’s paradise.

Meal and accom inclusions noted as B, L, D, A (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accommodation)

MANSFIELD to BONNIE DOON -- 24KM -- Sat 16 May 2015 -- L D A
To get to the start of the ride some cyclists will drive to Tallarook (near Seymour, approx 75 mins from Melbourne) and park there for the weekend. For those who want to get a lift from Melbourne, our 12 seater bus will leave at 8am from our office in Port Melbourne and also do a pickup at a CBD hotel if required and pre arranged. We take you, your bike and luggage to Tallarook, where we will pick up those who drove their cars, then we all travel together in the AllTrails bus for the 1.5 hr drive to Mansfield.  Arriving in Mansfield we lunch at a great local produce cafe that also serves as an art gallery, then prepare ourselves and your bike for the ride. This 24 kilometre ride has a hard gravel surface, no significant hills and passes through a deep natural stone cutting, before crossing the 385 metre long Golden Gate style bridge over Lake Eildon. Along the route to Bonnie Doon, made famous by the movie ‘The Castle’ you might look back up at the way you came with the view of Mount Buller in the distance and think ‘Oh, the serenity!'(quote from movie). Accommodation tonight is in a nice country motel with dinner at the restaurant ‘The Bonnie Bar’ famous for their great gourmet wood-fired oven pizzas.
BONNIE DOON to YEA -- 63KM -- Sun 17 May 2015 -- B L D A
The trail takes you through the back blocks of the high country to the historic Merton Railway Station for a scrumptious morning tea. The trail then follows a gradual climb to the highest point, which is only 80 metres higher than Mansfield. The long downhill that follows rolls along through stunning farmland offering beautiful views of the adjacent valley and leads to the historic township of Yarck for lunch. Here we enjoy a great lunch at a quaint local cafe before heading back out on the trail that leads you through the Goulburn River flood plains and many historic bridges that afford great views – it is also the best area to spot koalas. After crossing the Goulburn River on the dedicated cyclist bridge, the trail veers well away from any road and begins the slight climb to Cheviot Tunnel; a 200 metre long tunnel made in 1883 from over 600,000 handmade bricks. The tunnel is still in great condition and a real highlight of the ride. Then a gentle 8 kilometre downhill winds its way down the hill to the historic township of Yea for our overnight stay in the boutique Peppercorn Hotel, right next to the rail trail. Here we not only enjoy the beautiful accommodation, but also a dinner at their restaurant with a reputation for unique, top quality food, covered on Channel Nine’s TV show ‘Postcards’. Today there is also an extension ride down to Alexandra which will add approximately another 30km to the day’s ride, for those who are keen to push on a few more kms.
YEA to TALLAROOK to WARBURTON -- 38 or 58KM -- Mon 18 May 2015 -- B L D A
You are ‘Homewood’ bound as the station name suggests and nearing the end of our first magnificent rail trail. Leaving our hotel we rejoin the rail trail at the Yea Station building, which has been restored, as has the goods shed which is occupied by local artists. The cycling today is perhaps the prettiest part of the rail trail. The Goulburn River flows past massive old gum trees on your right as the trail cuts a flat, yet bending path through the landscape. Often it sits high above the surrounding farms and cuts straight through the tops of hills. We enjoy morning tea at the historic Old School House Tearoom that displays work from local artists, including hand-made jumpers. While enjoying our scones with home-made jam we might ponder upon what the hundreds of men who toiled away for many seasons over 130 years ago might be thinking about the beautiful ‘cycle path’ that they created.

We continue to the last railway station at Tallarook and the end of the Great Victorian Rail Trail. Here we say our goodbyes to those on the 3 day option returning home in their cars and pack the bikes in the trailer for the drive to lunch in Healesville, the food and wine hub of the Yarra Valley. A beautiful and densely forested drive takes us up to the 1250 metre high Mt Donna Buang. From here you can if you wish, jump back on your bike to enjoy the 20km downhill ride to our boutique accommodation, which passes through the quaint town of Warburton on the banks of the upper Yarra River.

WARBURTON to LILYDALE -- 39KM -- Tue 19 May 2015 -- B L
Riding out from our accommodation, which lies on the banks of the Upper Yarra River, you join onto one of Australia’s iconic Rail Trails and spend the day meandering through the Yarra Valley between the Dandenong Ranges and the Great Dividing Range.The Warburton railway line was opened in 1901 to transport timber and its delicious farm produce from the Yarra Valley  to Melbourne. After 64 years of operation the line was closed and lay dormant until it was reopened in 1998 as a rail trail with much excitement and AllTrails was there with 450 cyclists to celebrate it. 

We spend the day peddling, eating and drinking our way towards Lilydale with spectacular views of the Yarra Ranges National Park as you pass through beautiful bushland, wineries and rolling farmland. The final downhill into Lilydale brings us to the tour’s end. We will bus you and your bike to Melbourne or if you have been travelling by car you can depart directly from here. You will arrive home on Tuesday afternoon revived and invigorated, dreaming of your wonderful long weekend experience on two of Australia’s best rail trails.

Available Packages

Included

  • 4 days of full time support
  • 3 nights of accommodation
  • Bus from Tallarook to Mansfield, Tallarook to Warburton
  • Additional bus transfers for tired bikes & their riders
  • 3 cyclist-sized breakfasts
  • 3 quality lunches
  • 3 gourmet dinners
  • 4 morning teas
  • 2 afternoon teas at your accommodation
  • Bike mechanical assistance
  • Maps and ride guide
  • The assurance of touring with a bicycle tour company boasting a history of great rides since 1997
  • Bus transfers from Melbourne return (Optional Extra)

We really look after you to make your ride as enjoyable as possible and help you make the most of a truly wonderful cycling experience.

Pricing Schedule:

  • Deposit ($200)
  • Progress Payment 30 days after deposit (adding up to 50% of tour cost)
  • Balance 16 Mar 2015 (2 months before the ride)

For bookings made after 16 Mar, full balance is due upon booking.

3 day tour package TWIN SHARE PER PERSON (double bed or two beds) $1,090.00 AUD
3 day tour package SINGLE SUPP (one person with own room) $1,250.00 AUD
4 day tour package TWIN SHARE PER PERSON (double bed or two beds) $1,295.00 AUD
4 day tour package SINGLE SUPP (one person with own room) $1,535.00 AUD

Optional Extras

Transfers from Melbourne: We will be taking a mini-bus from Melbourne CBD up to the start of the ride in Mansfield. If you wish to drive up to the ride yourself you can drive to Tallarook and we will pick you up in Tallarook on the way to Mansfield for the start of the tour (included in tour price). You will then ride back along the trail to collect your car at the end. The drive to Tallarook from Melbourne is just over 100km so if you would rather sit back and let us do the driving, then book the optional extra transfers below from Melbourne CBD.

Bike Hire: Let us know if you need to hire a bike and we can put you in touch with the right people. Approx cost $40/day for the 4-day tour option. Enquire at our office for hire costs for 3 days.

Tandem: We also have access to regular tandems and tandem e-bikes if you are interested. Contact us if you would like more information.

Bus Transfer from Melbourne CBD to Tallarook – one way, per person, bike and luggage. $25 AUD
Bus Transfer from Lilydale to Melbourne CBD – one way, per person, bike and luggage. $15 AUD
Famous Orange AllTrails Cycling Jersey, subsidised significantly by AllTrails. $25 AUD
AllTrails t-shirt, Good quality tee, subsidised significantly by AllTrails. $10 AUD
Bike Hire – select this option if you would like us to put you in touch with our local bike hire people. $TBA AUD
Hard Case Bike Box Carriage ($10/day) $40 AUD
Soft Bike Bag Carriage ($3/day) $12 AUD
We are happy to answer any other questions you may have

Feel free to contact us at any time through our website ‘Contact Us’ page, phone or email. We love what we do and want to get you on the best bike ride for you. Speak to us about what’s on your mind and we’ll help you make your decision.

Support bus availability

Our support bus is there to support the tour and also pick up riders who need to jump in for any reason. This vehicle can be quite popular on some days – especially long days or days with big hills! There is no shame in riding in this bus so if you are considering a tour but are not 100% sure if you will be up to it on the toughest day(s), just go for it – our vehicle and staff will be there to help out. It’s better to give it a try than to miss out all together. The bus is also sometimes used for part-time riders who only ride certain sections of each day – these are often partners of someone else on the ride.

Insurance – IMPORTANT

Obtaining appropriate insurance is your (very important) responsibility – even if you live in Australia.
*** Travel Insurance for lost deposits and cancellations ***
travelinsurancedirect.com.au/
travelinsurancecover.com.au/
Lost deposits: We very strongly recommend you take out travel insurance for your trip – even if you live in Australia. This should include cover for cancellation fees, lost deposits, and stolen or lost luggage. We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. There are many unforeseen reasons why cyclists may need to withdraw from a ride – injury, health or other. Cancellation fees can be a major financial loss to you and as a small business we need to adhere to our cancellation policies. Please go to the ride page on our website for your ride and click the ‘Terms & Conditions’ button to see the ride’s cancel policy (note that most travel insurance policies will not include your bike as luggage so that may need to be covered under your home contents insurance or under a specialist bike insurance).
Travel Insurance: Domestic travel insurance cover tends to be significantly cheaper than international cover (approx $50 for one week). Above are two websites that offer both international and domestic travel insurance that you can look at. You can also speak to your local travel agent, or often airline booking websites will offer travel insurance as an optional extra as you book your flight.
*** Cyclist insurance for accidents & medical ***
bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/membership/
bq.org.au/join-us/member-benefits/
This is also very strongly recommended. We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. Cycling can be a dangerous activity and you must be prepared for the worst. You may have an accident in training for the ride, on the ride itself, or cycling down to the corner store. If you are a cyclist coming on our tour you should be 100% prepared for the unexpected.
Cyclist insurance can be bought separately, or it comes with cycling memberships such as Bicycle Network or Bicycle Queensland. If you are involved in a crash or collision they will support you with personal injury costs, loss of income, third party liability insurance, assistance in completing your claim paper work & free legal consultation.

Getting to the start of the Rail Trail Tour (and back)

Drive yourself to Tallarook, or for those that want to get a lift from Melbourne, our 10 seater bus will leave at 8am from Melbourne taking you, your bike and luggage to Tallarook, near Seymour, where we meet those who have driven up. We then all go to Mansfield in the AllTrails bus. Upon arrival in Mansfield we have lunch and prepare ourselves and our bikes before riding 24km to Bonnie Doon.
The ride finishes in Tallarook. Some will drive home from there, some will travel in our bus back to Melbourne.

bike type and rail trail riding surface

The primary riding surface is hard gravel, best suited to Mountain Bikes, though Hybrids are also fine – a Road Bike would be a struggle.

Safe cycling on the Rail Trail?

Yes, that is one of the great things about this ride. Cycling always has risks, however on the rail trail there is no traffic to worry about, or cars overtaking you. You cycle on the rail trail for the entire distance with very minimal cycling on roads. There is very little chance of getting lost, you can cycle at your own pace with your friends two or even three abreast. If you do need support, our bus is never far away.

Training for the Rail Trail

You really need to be a reasonably fit person, however not necessarily a fast or a highly experienced ‘cyclist’. If you can sit on an average speed of 15 km/hr on a flat road, you will be fine. Try to build your kilometre total distance in training to gradually attain about 40km a day for 2 days straight. Remember there is no rush with this ride, and there is always a backup vehicle not too far away.

Accommodation on the rail trail

We choose the best and most welcoming motel for cyclists and our tour group needs. Bonnie Doon is a good country motel where you will lap up the famous ‘serenity’ of the area, while Yea is a beautiful authentic heritage country escape.

Sharing rooms – how does it work?

On the online entry form you can nominate any travelling companions that you would like to share a room with and/or be accommodated close to so that couples or friends can be grouped together. This can be in a double bed or in twin beds. If you are travelling alone like many of our riders, Single Supplement is available for those who would like their own room for the whole trip. On some tours you can also choose to ‘twin share’ where single riders are paired with other riders of the same gender and changed at each accommodation to create interest in sharing rooms. On other tours you may need to put your name down on a Twin Share Request List and we will try to match you up. If you are a snorer or have other habits that may affect your fellow room-mates we suggest booking your own room. If you are coming on your own and have booked in as twin share, this usually means that you will share a room with one other single twin share traveller, however in some cases we may have larger rooms (eg. two bedroom apartment or a B&B/house with multiple bathrooms) where we may have 3 or 4 single twin share travellers together.

Travelling alone?

Not a problem! You’ll find other like-minded cycling companions taking part in our rides. If you’re a solo traveller we can pair you with other solo travellers of the same gender in twin share accom (early bookers only) or you can opt for Single Supplement (additional cost) to receive a room of your own.

Snorers can enjoy their own room

If you are a chronic snorer or have other habits that may affect your fellow room-mates we suggest booking your own room (single supplement cost). This is not just a courtesy to your fellow travelling companions, but will also give you the space & privacy you need to enjoy your sleep after a long day on the bike.

Carrying personal items on the bike

We suggest you carry a spare tube, a full water bottle and your own personal goods such as camera, wallet and rain gear if it’s threatening, on your bike with you. We transport your luggage, day packs, food & extra water. A detailed list of what is required and provided will be sent to you in your pre-tour info pack.

Meals and food

Always a big part of any cycling holiday! Check tour details for meal inclusions on your ride. Our emphasis is on fresh food and balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, fruit and vegies catering for a cycling holiday. We successfully cater to most dietary requirements, however feel free to contact us with any questions. Most meals are included as part of our tours, however you may be required to purchase some meals. See the ‘Day to Day’ tab for more details, or click the ‘Download Itinerary’ button.

Non-riding partners and part-time cyclists

We realise that often our riders want to spend their holidays with loved ones who may not be as keen on the bike as they are themselves – we are happy to accommodate those non-riding partners and part-time riders who want to only ride part of each day, or only certain days. We will generally try to allocate pickup points along the route every day. The entry price will be the same for non-riders and part-time riders.

Safety

We have a great safety record, but accidents can happen. We have comprehensive First-Aid Kits with trained 1st aiders as tour guides and drivers, mobiles and a satellite phone for emergency calls and the locality of hospitals in the areas that we travel through. We also have vehicles that can take anyone injured or sick for further treatment. You can also help by immediately stopping or slowing on-coming traffic if a fellow cyclist does have a fall. Safety discussions are held throughout the tour as part of the daily briefings.

Bike hire for the Rail Trail

We do not have a fleet of hire bikes ourselves however we have a contact at the start of the ride who can provide hire bikes appropriate bike for a rail trail. Get in touch with us for more details or tick the ‘hire bike’ option in the ‘optional extras’ section of the booking form.

Tandem bike

Our good friend Peter Howell hires tandems (including e-bike tandems) and if you want a tandem, he is your man. Pegasus Tandems stock a wide range of great imported tandem bicycles for you and your partner. Call Peter on 0427 200 533 or check out his website www.tandembicycles.com.au.

Speak to a past client

We will be happy to give you the names and telephone numbers of people who have participated in the ride or a similar ride to the one which you are considering. Where possible we will provide you with the details of someone within your city or state.
Another good place to look is our ‘Testimonials’ page.

Group info session

Contact us if you would like to find out about booking an info session for your group of friends, or if you would like to find out about a travel talk happening near you in the future. Be inspired, hear from the experts, learn more about a destination and even book your tour on the night.

Changing or cancelling a tour

We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance for all our Australian rides at the time of deposit and ensure that it includes coverage for cancellation fees if for some reason you are not able to travel. For our international tours we require all participants to have Travel Insurance to assist you in the event of a medical emergency, lost baggage, personal liability, cancelled tour or any other trip related issues.
Should you wish to change your booking with AllTrails to a different tour, there will be a very reasonable service charge. We try to keep this figure as low as possible to allow flexibility where we can as we want to make sure that you get on the right tour for you. For cancellation and refund policies for your tour click the ‘T&Cs’ tab on the relevant tour page of our website.

Packing tips

We recommend you bring a soft bag or backpack. We advise against bringing a suitcase as they are bulky, difficult to stow on board vehicles or trailers and heavy. You may be required to lift or carry your own luggage from time to time, e.g. into accommodation. We expect your bag to be no heavier than 15kg, making it easy to manage for you and the staff. Any excess luggage may need to be stored or forwarded on to your final destination at your own expense. Information about what to pack is included as part of your Pre-Departure information. Generally we advise that you pack as light as possible.

Airport transport to Southern Cross Station

The Skybus goes from Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport and goes to Southern Cross Station. You can take your bike on the Skybus and it also has free shuttles to CBD hotels.  More info at www.skybus.com.au.

Why book with us?

We only run approximately 10 tours per year. This makes every tour as special to us as it is to you because we are not repeating the same rides over and over again week-in week-out. Every tour is meticulously planned and we are just as excited to be there as you – there is no bulk production-line here! On most occasions the owner-operators of the business will be on tour with you looking after everyone on the ride.  The safety and confidence that comes with that is one of many great reasons to book your cycling holiday with us.
AllTrails is a proud Australian owned company with a great reputation in the bicycle tour industry. We have earned that reputation through hard work and dedication and we sincerely care about every person on every tour. Our large community of loyal AllTrails riders that keep coming back year after year are testament to the high standard of tours that we provide. We consider ourselves the best in the business and we always make sure that our tours represent great value at a fair price.

Full terms and conditions for each ride are available via our booking system (directions to find them are below). These terms and conditions will also be sent to you with your confirmation email after booking.

To find the terms & conditions of this ride:

  • Click any ‘Book This Ride’ button on this webpage such as the one below (right click ‘open in new tab’)
  • Under the calendar click ‘Confirm availability’ (don’t worry about what package is selected)
  • Click ‘book now’ under the date of the ride start (highlighted orange)
  • Click the ‘Skip’ button at the bottom of the optional extras page
  • Scroll to the bottom of the questions page and click ‘terms and conditions’ hyperlink