At 134km, the Great Victorian Rail Trail is the longest continuous rail trail in Australia, and this 75km return day trip between Tallarook and Yea is a great taste test.
- Soak up great views of the meandering Goulburn River and Valley
- Test your legs on a scenic trail within striking distance of Melbourne
- 75km almost entirely on glorious gravel
- Enjoy lunch at one of Yea’s many eateries before you hop back on the bike
Tallarook to Yea (And Back Again)
If you’re looking for an easily accessible gravel ride within a short drive of Melbourne, look no further than the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
The opening stretch of the trail is a great day out for cyclists with a good base fitness — and if you have a 75km day in your legs, Yea is a great pitstop for an out and back ride.
Want something shorter? Pack a picnic and turn back sooner, or drop a car at either end and ride the trail one way.
We started the ride in Tallarook, an easy hour drive from Melbourne, with plenty of parking at the trailhead. Just a few minutes on two wheels takes you out and away from the main road, and for much of the ride you’ll feel nicely disconnected from civilisation.
The start of the ride provides great views down to the Goulburn River and there’s an abundance of wildlife to spot too — we had to give way to a crossing echidna in the first ten minutes.
As the ride brings you closer to Yea the landscape opens up, with great views across the farmland and hills beyond.
The trail takes you right into the town centre, and after a couple of hours on your bike — it took us 1 hour 50 minutes each way at a cruisey pace — you’ll be well ready to find a cafe for lunch (we headed for Mint and Jam, highly recommended).
The trail itself is largely compacted gravel, and while there are some slow dragging ascents that you’ll feel in the legs, it’s a fairly flat ride. You’ll be fine on a gravel, mountain or hybrid bike, but a road or racing tyre might be a stretch for most riders who value their comfort.
Aside from semi-regular toilets, there’s not much else along the trail until Yea, so make sure you come fully prepared. If you’re up for a bigger adventure, you could always tackles the full trail on a four day bikepacking trip.
- A gravel, mountain or touring/ hybrid bike is recommended
- Spare inner tubes
- A good pump
- Essential bike tools — there are no bike shops out here!
- 2-3 litres of water per person each way
- Snacks to keep you going! The only open cafes and shops we came across were in Yea
How To Get There
The Tallarook trailhead and car park are just beside the Tallarook Outdoor Pool; find it on Google Maps. It’s just a one hour drive from inner Melbourne.
If you’re starting in Yea, the trail is slightly less obvious, but it runs just behind the library in the middle of town. There’s plenty of parking for both cars and bikes and it’s about 90 minutes from Melbourne by car.
This ride is a great day out for intermediate riders (and above) who are comfortable in the saddle for a few hours. There aren’t any serious hills or difficult terrain, but there’s one long slow drag heading into Yea that’ll have you well ready for lunch.
Beginners might want to choose a shorter stretch, but this could also be a great intro ride for anyone looking to level up from city trails.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
75km ride / 609m / 4 hours (return)
37.5km ride / 304.5m / 2 hours (one way)