High Country Trail

Cycle Eastern Victoria, Sightseeing Ride, High Country Trail

Leaving the large rural city of Wodonga is not very inspiring but once you get into the ride you can enjoy the natural scenery as you sweep around the shores of Lake Hume and also indulge in a bit of local history at the Bandiana Army Museum and Bonegilla Migrant Centre. You use the High Country Rail Trail which is a work in progress particularly around the Sandy Creek Inlet.

Along Thomas Mitchell Drive parking areas around the bulky goods stores provide a good alternative start point if you don’t want to start from the city centre. At Bandiana army camp you can go to the museum which is interesting if you are into things military. It displays numerous uniforms, weapons and over 150 military vehicles. There is a shop and free barbeque facilities.

After the army base you get on to the rail trail itself, crossing the Kiewa River which is an attractive rest point before riding through farmland towards Lake Hume. The remains of the Bonegilla station give little indication of how busy this area must have been between Second World War and 1971 when it accommodated over 320, 000 migrants. Listen to some of their stories at the very good visitor centre at Block 19, which was one of the original accommodation blocks. Turn left off the trail at 13.4km and follow Bonegilla Road across the Murray Valley Highway to get to the entrance.

After Bonegilla, continue around Lake Hume where the views over the water to the surrounding hills are appealing. The tall, concrete pylons marching across Sandy Creek Inlet are a reminder of the rail line on which this trail is based. This line had its start in the 1890s and its demise in the 1970s when road transport took over. During its life it had to be moved to accommodate the rising waters of the Hume and carried materials for the Snowy Mountains Scheme. In dry times it is possible to cross Sandy Creek Inlet, although you might have to walk some short bits.

The track across the floor is not formed but easy enough to follow beside the pylons. It is a much shorter option than the road detour. The town of Tallangatta, which provides a welcome stop with a good bakery and a park in the middle of the main street, was also moved to its present site because of the dam’s construction. The end of the trail is at the site of Old Tallangatta and a small settlement named Toorak, which bears no resemblance to the wealthy suburb in Melbourne with the same name.

Access

Reach Wodonga by V/Line train or on the Hume Freeway at RACV VicRoads State Directory map reference 35 G3. Start at the railway station on Elgin Boulevard just north of the town centre.

Food and Drink

There are various options as you ride down High Street in Wodonga. On the trail you can divert at Bonegilla or to Tallangatta for a good bakery, takeaway or pub. There are no facilities at the ride end.

Side Trip

Visit the army museum at Bandiana Army Barracks or turn off at Bonegilla to check out its part in our migrant history.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Turn left out of station car park into Elgin St.
  • 0.1 Turn right into High St. 0.6 Take the third turnoff (Thomas Mitchell Dr) at the roundabout just past the water tower, signposted Tallangatta. Ride down service road on the left.
  • 1.4 At the roundabout continue on path to the left, cross side road, Wigg St, on to service road on other side.
  • 1.7 Cross Thomas Mitchell Dr to service road on right and ride along marked bike lane and then path.
  • 2.4 Cross Chapple St and cross shopping centre entry roads.
  • 2.9 Cross road. The parking area on the right is the alternative starting point. The route changes between service road and path for next 0.5km.
  • 4.2 Cross entry to Bandiana army camp and museum.
  • 5.1 Take left hand trail across road. Path is unsealed from here.
  • 6.7 Turn right down Whytes Rd, signposted Saleyards and in 50m veer left on to track.
  • 7.1 Ride across Wadsworth Barracks entrance and on to road.
  • 7.6 Turn left off road on to trail, signposted High Country Rail Trail. Proceed through gate.
  • 13.4 Cross sealed road. Bonegilla to left. Detour here to see museum at the former migrant centre.
  • 15.7 Cross entrance road to Ebden Reserve with rest area and toilets.
  • 18.0 Cross entrance road to Ludlows Reserve with rest area and toilets.
  • 24.2 Ride through old rail siding and pick up trail on other side. There are toilets and a rest area here.
  • 24.7 Continue on the (rougher) trail to cross Sandy Inlet. (Exit trail here to take the road detour. The detour along Murray Valley Highway is for about 6km then look for trail and trail code of conduct sign on the left).
  • 27.9 Take track down to right through gate. Follow marked posts near bridge pylons. It is sandy at first and you may have to walk some short sections.
  • 28.0 Go through gate, follow rough track for 50m then turn left on to trail.
  • 28.7 Road route comes back in here.
  • 36.6 Tallangatta town centre to left. Toilets, food and drink and tourist information. Trail is sealed from here.
  • 45.0 Trail ends. Turn left down road to Old Tallangatta site and Toorak.
  • 45.6 Ride ends at Toorak settlement.
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    44.931 km / 27.919 mi

    Total Distance

    398 m / 1,307 ft

    Total Ascent

    224 m / 736 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Expert (Double Black)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: Ultra Fit
    MTB Segment: flow
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance (Kms): 45.3
    Elevation Gain (metres): 465
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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