Molesworth to Yarck Rail Trail

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMolesworth Rail Park
FinishYarck
Suitable ForFoot Cycle Horse 
Distance10.96 km
Average Speed10.8 km/hr
Travel Time1 hr
Page Updated: 14 Sep 2020

Description

At 134km, the Great Victorian Rail Trail is Australia's longest rail trail. It follows the route of an old train line from Tallarook on the Hume Highway about 100km north of Melbourne to Mansfield in the Victorian High Country. It is designed for cyclists, walkers and horse riders and due to the route passing through numerous townships, accommodation, food and supplies are readily available along the way.

There are numerous rail trails throughout Australia, being shared-use paths recycled from abandoned railway corridors. The numerous access points make it easy to plan day trips, or the journey can be done as a multi-day trip without the need to be fully self-sufficient.

For the purpose of providing ease of navigation and planning, we have split the Tallarook to Mansfield route into 6 smaller Treks. This one covers a short section, from Molesworth to Yarck, a distance of 11.7km.

Halfway along the Trek at Cathkin, the trail branches offering the choice to take a side trip to Alexandra. From Cathkin, it's all uphill for the last 6km to Yarck (although only a gentle gradient) and the views are excellent. After finishing this Trek in Yarck, you can continue onto the next segment of the Great Victorian Rail Trail using our Trek Yarck to Bonnie Doon.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • Purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This Australian-made GPS & Navigation app will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Treks to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route as per the Directions shown on this page. The app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. Viewing the Trek in the Traveller app also includes all the words, images and POIs exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another raster mapping software program (or an HN7 device) you can try downloading the route line data files via the Download Trek button shown below the map on this page (OR purchase EOTreks Route Files). Be aware that this doesn't include maps or text just the route line.

TIP

To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase an EOTopo map licence (available either in App Version, or Raster Version).

History

Indigenous History

Scar trees, rock shelters, rock art and place names all indicate that the Taungurung people (Daung wurrung) have been in this part of Victoria for thousands of years. Many Taungurung people still live on their country and participate widely in the community as cultural heritage advisors, land management officers, artists and educationalist.

European History

In 1824 Hamilton Hume and William Hovell were commission to lead an expedition to find new grazing land and attempt to discover where New South Wales's western rivers flowed.

Yea was established in May 1837 as the first service centre for the early squatters and settlers of the district and in the gold rush era of the 1850s it became a stopping place for gold prospectors.

In the 1860 the first section of railway line from Melbourne to the North East reached Essendon and then extended to reach Tallarook in 1872. By 1883 it had been extended further to Wodonga however a junction was built at Tallarook and a branch line built from Tallarook heading east into mountainous territory. This became the Mansfield line which is the route of this Trek.

The first stage from Tallarook to Yea was opened in 1883 being extended in stages through various small townships and reached Mansfield in 1891 some 117km from the junction.

Yarck was the name of a cattle station, thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word "yaruk", meaning long river. The area was called Home Creek until 1903, and the first Home Creek school was opened in 1870. It closed in 1873 and another one was opened the following year. In 1909 Yarck also had a post office, a store, a branch bank, a public hall, a hotel, three churches, a mechanics' institute, sawmills and athletic and racing clubs. It was a grazing and dairying district. It had a station on the railway line (1890-1978) from Tallarook to Mansfield.

The line provided access for agricultural products from the region to the Melbourne markets but was closed and dismantled in 1978.

Yarck remains predominantly grazing and dairying, and the village has a general store, a hotel, a cafe and a hall.The primary school was closed in 1993.

After the 2009 Victorian bushfires, the Victorian Government announced a project to utilise the railway corridor to build a 134km cycle trail as an economic stimulus. AU$14Million was spent to repair and build bridges, road crossings, car parking, rest stops and amenities. The Great Victorian Rail Trail was opened in June 2012.

TrekID: 13463

Preparation

Permits

This is a cycle/walking/horse trail only. Motorised vehicles are not permitted.

Best Time To Visit

The Trail is suitable for use all year round. The climate is generally mild by Australian standards, but can be hot in summer and cold in winter, depending on what you're used to. Average summer maximums are about 30C but may rise to low 40's on extreme days. Winter maximums average about 16C, but may be as low a 0C on occasions. Autumn and Spring are ideal seasons for this trek.

Closest Climatic Station

Eildon Fire Tower
Distance from Trek Mid Point 24.72km E
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C27.326.822.918.213.210.19.110.513.516.521.023.5
Mean Min. °C13.413.811.49.16.54.83.84.35.77.29.811.0
Mean Rain mm36.446.939.040.355.067.266.776.763.551.861.242.3
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Map

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Directions

Molesworth Rail Park to Whanregarwen Rd & Rail Trail
Cycling: 0.16 km
Heading: 42°
Avg Speed: 15.03 km/hr
EST Time: 00:38
  • Head northeast for: 0.16 km time: 00:38
Whanregarwen Rd & Rail Trail to Home Creek
Cycling: 2.32 km
Heading: 70°
Avg Speed: 14.79 km/hr
EST Time: 09:24
  • Head north for: 0 km time: 00:04
  • Turn right onto Whanregarwen Road for: 0.02 km time: 00:10
  • Turn left onto Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 2.3 km time: 09:11
Home Creek to Cathkin Station
Cycling: 1.88 km
Heading: 56°
Avg Speed: 7.33 km/hr
EST Time: 15:23
  • Head northeast on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 1.88 km time: 15:23
Cathkin Station to Yarck
Cycling: 6.6 km
Heading: 29°
Avg Speed: 6.06 km/hr
EST Time: 01:05:20
  • Head northeast on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 0.35 km time: 03:30
  • Turn left to stay on Great Victorian Rail Trail for: 6.12 km time: 01:01:16
  • Turn left onto Wrights Road for: 0.1 km time: 00:32
  • Turn left onto Maroondah Highway (B300) for: 0.04 km time: 00:09
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Yarck Hall - Community Markets held here on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

Koala Cherries - Cherry Farm Gate Sales - In the cherry season, you can follow cherry trails, set up by helpful owners and pick and purchase fresh cherries.

Facilities

Where to Stay

Services & Supplies

Wildflowers

Related Travel Journals

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