At the time of writing this is Victoria’s newest rail trail with the last section coming into Warrnambool not yet completed. This section of the trail from Port Fairy to Koroit winds its way through sheep and dairy farming country along the path of the old railway. There is a short expanse of bushland but mostly it is open country. When completed the trail will make its way into Warrnambool between wild swamp land and sand dunes following the pretty Merri River.
The surface changes along the route of this ride. In some places, it is sealed asphalt changing to compressed gravel. After heavy rain, some parts of the trail may be soft. It is noted that the track is still under construction at the time of writing and the surface will probably improve over time.
As the trail is off road, there are no traffic concerns apart from road crossings with barriers.
The ride commences at the old Port Fairy Railway Station in Railway Place entered off Regent Street. VicRoads Map Reference 511, P3.
Food and Drink
Port Fairy has excellent cafes and restaurants suitable for pre and post ride refreshment. Koroit, although smaller, has a few cafes, shops and a hotel.
In future this trail will continue through to Warrnambool. At this stage, people could continue on trail and make their own way to Warrnambool where the trail meets the Princes Highway. Another option is to ride about 4 kilometres across Koriot to the top rim of Tower Hill Reserve, where magnificent views are to be had across the extinct volcano to the ocean. The entrance to the reserve is further on at the opposite side of the park.
The European history of this area of the Shipwreck Coast commenced with whalers and seal hunters in the early 19th century. Picture postcard Port Fairy retains many reminders of these bygone days. Originally named Belfast, the town became one of Australia’s largest seaports in the latter half of the 1800s. The whole area has this Irish aspect to its history seen in the gorgeous heritage architecture and the evocative place names. It is also picturesquley set on the river estaury with a wild oceanfront on one side and a sheltered bay on the other.
Port Fairy is home to the famous folk festival and is also a brilliant haven for those who love the sea, fishing, historic buildings or just lazing away the day eating, drinking or shopping. It is also home to the famous short-tailed shearwater (mutton birds) that nest on Griffiths Island. The colony at Port Fairy is one of the rare mainland breeding areas for the birds. The colony at Griffiths Island totals several tens of thousands. Amazingly this shearwater is perhaps Australia's most abundant bird. Each year the bulk of the colony return to the nesting grounds on almost the same day around the 22nd of September. The railway line which this trail travels over was extended to the town in 1890 and closed in 1977.
Although the trail does not pass directly through the quaint town of Koroit, it does pass just behind, giving everyone an easy opportunity to stop off for lunch, coffee or a cool drink before returning. It is also close to the Tower Hill Reserve, Victoria’s first national park, where there are good short walks, wildlife aplenty and barbeque and picnic facilities lying in an ancient volcano caldera. The reserve is home of the Peek Whurrong speaking people and you can come to understand more of their culture by attending the visitors' center. It should not be too long before the ride continues on to Warrnambool.
At this stage you can continue through farmland until the trail ends at the highway. It will continue on under the highway and then between wetlands and the coastal dunes coming into Warrnambool near Pertobe Lake.
- 0.0 The ride leaves the old railway siding in the park. Heading north cross over Regent St.
- 2.2 The trail crosses the Princes Hwy and continues through farmland with barrier crossings at each road intersection.
- 17.7 You arrive at the Koroit Railway Station. To visit the town, turn right on the path just past the station cross the road onto Station St, which will take you to Commercial Rd, Koroit’s main thoroughfare.
- 18.3 Ride ends.
18.361 km / 11.409 mi
94 m / 308 ft
32 m / 103 ft
70 m / 229 ft