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.
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.
Visit the army museum at Bandiana Army Barracks or turn off at Bonegilla to check out its part in our migrant history.
44.931 km / 27.919 mi
398 m / 1,307 ft
224 m / 736 ft