Cycle Victoria, Road Ride, Moe to Yallourn Rail Trail
This trail is based on the old rail branch line which was used to service the Yallourn Power Station. It is a short and easy ride suitable for family groups through first the outskirts of Moe then open farmland. It is fairly straightforward and there aren’t a lot of highlights on the ride, until the impressive cooling towers of the power station loom above the trees ahead of you.
The first point of interest about 500 metres into the ride is the Moe Botanical Gardens. This is a pleasant area with a path alongside Narracan Creek. This might provide a better starting point, especially if you have kids with you, as there are picnic facilities and toilets in the gardens.
Further along the ride you can divert to see a part of the power station infra-structure, Lake Narracan, which is now a significant recreation spot in the area. This large, man-made freshwater lake can be reached along Sullivans Road from the trail. It is a popular spot for water activities and has toilets, picnic areas, barbeques and walking tracks. The water is suitable for swimming.
Yallourn Power Station is the last remaining station of six that were built on the Yallourn brown coal field between the 1920s and 1970s. There was also a coal briquette factory on the site, but its closure and the increasing use of road transport led to the rail line’s closure in 1986. The power station continues to be serviced by the adjacent mine which is reputed to be the largest open cut coalmine in Australia, with reserves to meet the projected needs of the power station to 2032. However, the estimate that this power station emits 11.50 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year as a result of burning brown coal may have some influence on its future life.
Nevertheless it is an impressive site as you head towards it on the trail. The huge abstract shaped cooling towers are quite striking. A side highlight of this ride going to a power station is that there are free electric barbeques in the park where the trail finishes, so remember to pack the snags. There is something impressive about this giant breathing away behind you just so you can burn everything to a crisp on the barbeque.
Take the Moe turn off the Princes Highway about 130km east of Melbourne (RACV VicRoads State Directory map reference F4). Travel along this road (Lloyd Street), following signs to the town centre. After crossing the rail line you will find all day parking near the railway station in George Street. Ride east from there on the road (or path) running parallel with the rail line which becomes Narracan Drive. Alternatively a more attractive start can be made from Moe Botanical Gardens. V/Line trains from Melbourne also stop several times daily at Moe Station.
Food and Drink
There are plenty of options in Moe town centre within walking distance of the start. Take some food for a picnic on the way or at the finish.
Take one of the mine and power station tours from Power Works Energy Technology Centre in Ridge Road Morwell, daily at 11am. See the re-created pioneer township, Old Gippstown, on your right just after turning off the highway.
7.203 km / 4.476 mi
73 m / 238 ft
71 m / 234 ft
86 m / 283 ft