The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is an easy trip from Melbourne by car or train and is a not too arduous ride through country ranging from forest to open farmland and vineyards, with good views to the nearby Yarra Ranges, all of which makes it one of the best and most popular rides around. There are plenty of places on or near the trail where you can enjoy a coffee or culinary delight and some small towns to explore.
The wide and mostly smooth trail is used by all types of users on bikes, including those on road bikes, but the sometimes stony surface suits it more to mountain bikes and hybrids than the narrow tired species. The trail is generally well signposted with distance markers and names for all the old station sites. Nearby local traders with products of interest to cycling friends, have also set up directing signs.
The trail is based on the old rail line which was closed in 1965. The riding trail was opened in 1998 and takes advantage of the cuttings, bridges, and escarpments originally established for the railway to provide the wide trail with graduated climbs and descents. With the completion of the trail bridge across the Maroondah Highway, it is now possible to ride all the way from Lilydale station to Warburton on the separate trail. There are quite a few road crossings, some of which are busy and need to be taken with care.
There is a gradual climb to Mount Evelyn, which may give you an excuse for the first coffee and cake stop, before swooping downwards to the flatter area around Woori Yallock. The trail then ever so gradually climbs to Warburton. It is popular with a lot of people, so please be courteous to other users. The scenery and the food and drink temptations along the way encourage a relaxed pace and some people might prefer to make this a two-day ride with an overnight stay in Warburton. Bear in mind that there is no public transport in Warburton that will carry you and your bike, so unless you arrange a car shuttle you will have to ride back.
Warburton is an attractive little town wedged between the mountains alongside the Yarra River. It had its early beginnings as a mountain escape for Melburnians in the early 1900s and many of the cafés and other shops are housed in buildings dating back to this time. It remains a popular center for day-trippers. It is worth allowing time to explore the town and nearby forest and river scenery.
Lilydale is on the Maroondah Highway. After crossing the rail line in Lilydale turn left into the station car park. If this is full, travel another 200m along the highway and turn in to the reserve next to the hotel. It is in the metropolitan rail system with frequent service and has bike lockers and toilets.
Food and Drink
It’s everywhere! At the start, the finish and several spots in between. Right by the trail, there is the Sourdough Café just past Mount Evelyn, or another personal favorite, the Carriage Café in Seville. It is in a train carriage, a good distance into the ride and serves café latté in big glasses.
At Warburton, you will see signs indicating short rides which continue on past the town. There is also an enjoyable walking path alongside the river. Enquire at the information center adjacent to the finish for other attractions.
- 0.0 Start at the end of the Lilydale Station car park. Look for the Warburton Trail sign, ride through the gateway on the right and keep left on the path. From the alternative parking point in the reserve, ride around beside the ovals to this path at the back of the reserve.
- 0.1 Cross the footbridge and keep left on the path.
- 0.3 Cross Beresford Rd on to trail, signposted Warburton Trail.
- 0.9 Turn right and ride along Anderson St, signposted Rail Trail 1.5km.
- 2.0 Turn left on to path before reaching Maroondah Hwy and follow it around to the left on to the service road. (If concerned about crossing the Maroondah Hwy cross here at the lights then travel 400m down the path to the left to Queen Rd.)
- 2.2 Ride straight on to path and follow it around to the right to the highway.
- 2.3 Cross highway to the right and ride up Queen Rd.
- 2.6 Turn right off road, through gateway, and left on to the trail.
- 4.5 Cross Birmingham Rd. Toilets on the right.
- 6.3 Mt Evelyn. Café, parking, shops, picnic areas and tap.
- 6.6 Cross York Rd. Watch for traffic.
- 7.2 Cross road. Cog Café to the left across the road.
- 11.2 Cross Warburton Hwy. Wandin shops and toilets 350m up road on the right.
- 11.6 Wandin station site and picnic area.
- 14.4 Carriage Café (with toilets).
- 14.8 Seville station site. Car parking area.
- 18.0 Killara station site. Car parking area.
- 22.1 Woori Yallock station site. Car parking area. Bakery, shops and toilets about 400m up road on right.
- 26.9 Launching Place bakery and groceries 200m up on the right.
- 27.9 Cross Warburton Hwy. Home Hotel on the left for food and drink.
- 29.7 Cross to trail on other side of Warburton Hwy.
- 30.6 Yarra Junction. Swimming centre on the left, skate park on the right and further on toilets, picnic area and shops.
- 35.6 Cross Warburton Hwy at Millgrove. Bakery and grocer to the left.
- 39.0 End of ride at Warburton. Shops, Yarra River and picnic areas to the left.
38.673 km / 24.03 mi
652 m / 2,139 ft
551 m / 1,808 ft
235 m / 770 ft