High Country Rail Trail
Length: 55 km (potential 112 km)
Landform: Former rail reserve
Classification: Recreation and conservation
Features: The Rail trail includes easy, scenic, grades from Wodonga to Old Tallangatta alongside Lake Hume (the Sandy Creek Inlet is yet to be bridged), Picturesque, steeper grades between Old Tallangatta and Cudgewa (still to be developed), 21 spectacular timber trestle bridges between Old Tallangatta and Cudgewa
In January 2000, the Minister for Conservation and Environment (Victoria) appointed the parklands Board as management committee for the rail trail between the Kiewa River and Huon.
In June 2001, forty interested community members attended a meeting to form the Wodonga-Sandy Creek Rail Trail Advisory Group, to develop the trail as a major recreation, environmental and tourist asset for the region.
September 2001 saw the Minister appoint the board as the management committee for the section between Sandy Creek and Old Tallangatta, with $20,000 being provided for safety work on bridges between Tallangatta and Old Tallangatta.
In May 2002, over 50 interested community members attended a meeting to form the Tallangatta Rail Trail Advisory Group to manage the development and marketing of the Sandy Creek to Old Tallangatta section of trail.
In April 2006, three bridges across the Kiewa floodplain were completed. As a result, the High Country Rail Trail is now linked with Baranduda, Wodonga and Albury via a mix of gravel and paved off-road recreational trails.
Stage One is 24km's of gravel from Chapple Street, Wodonga through to Huon Reserve. Until the 594 metre long Sandy Creek Inlet Bridge is reinstated, it is a 9km ride around the inlet on the busy Murray Valley Highway to reach Stage Two. Not recommended for families!
Stage Two starts at Sandy Creek and skirts along the foreshore of Lake Hume for 17km's through magnificent box woodlands to Old Tallangatta. The gravel surface is suitable for mountain bikers, horse riders and walkers. Local businesses have donated equipment hire, granulite and other resources and materials.
The Tallangatta to Mitta Mitta River section was sealed and completed during 2003. An unsealed equestrian trail is co-located with the pedestrian/cycle trail along this entire section.
To date, 16 grants totalling $745,840 has been invested in the project from Parks Victoria, Land Victoria, Small Towns Infrastucture Development Program (DRV), Towong Shire Council, Natural Heritage Trust, Crown Land Reserves Improvement Program (DNRE), Regional Assistance Program (DOTARS), Community Support Program (DVC), City of Wodonga and Stewardship in Action Program (DSE).
Local businesses have contributed sponsorship, materials and equipment hire to the value of $113,243 over the past six years.
These funds have been allocated to repair four bridges, build three footbridges, install safety rails and seal the Tallangatta to Mitta Mitta River section. Other works include grading, rockcrushing and surfacing of the Kiewa to Tallangatta section, revegetation, signage, fencing and restoration of Bonegilla Siding.
More than 37,911 volunteer hours (equating to $583,128) has been recorded to June 2006. Many more hours and in-kind contributions have been made indirectly as a result of the strong community support for this project.
The high water levels in Lake Hume is the only factor preventing the reinstatement of the 594 metre long Sandy Creek bridge over Lake Hume. Towong Shire Council is project managing this Victorian Government funded project as part of the partnership with Bonegilla Rail Trail Advisory Group, Tallangatta Rail Trail Advisory Group, Indigo Shire, City of Wodonga and Parklands. Once the bridge is completed, there are plans to upgrade the gravel surface.
It is a 20km downhill run from the former Shelley Station, off Avondale Road through to Boggy Creek and Darbyshire. A Department of Sustainability & Environment public safety grant will enable restoration of one of the unique Irish Gauge timber trestle bridges, with assistance from the Puffing Billy Association.
The development of the High Country Rail Trail will benefit the community by: providing valuable links between communities and strengthening local economies; enhancing regional recreational opportunities; and raising the profile of North East Victoria, a magnificent region of Australia.
The establishment of a significant wildlife corridor and preservation of culturally and historically valuable areas will add to the nation's tourism assets.
Cycle or walk the 'High Country Rail Trail' and enjoy spectacular mountain views, historical sites and the cool waters of Lake Hume.
The Entrance to the Rail Trail is just off Whytes Road (south of the Wodonga Saleyards) turning right off the Murray Valley Highway as you head out of Wodonga.
The development of the trail is ongoing and currently starts at Wodonga and finishes at Old Tallangatta. Along this section of the trail you can experience 30km's of spectacular views of Lake Hume and the surrounding hills as well as various historical railway sites.
When the trail is fully developed you will be able to experience higher altitudes, rugged wooden trestle bridges, magnificent forests, pine plantations and visit historical sites and towns.
To develop the Trail into a major recreation, environmental and tourist asset for the region.
Things to do
Further information on parklands tracks and trails in the Albury-Wodonga area can be obtained from parklands on (02) 6023 6714.