Stage one of the highly anticipated Northern Rivers Rail Trail between Murwillimbah and Crabbes Creek officially opened for adventure business on the 1st March 2023! Henry’s tyres were two of the first to crunch the gravel and he shares what to expect from this trail through the magnificent Tweed Valley.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Bundjalung people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

The Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a 24km long bicycle and walking path that connects Murwillumbah with Crabbes Creek.

Passing through the World Heritage region of Northern NSW, the route’s located less than 30 minutes from Coolangatta / Gold Coast Airport and takes approximately 1.5-2 hours to cycle at a leisurely pace and 4-5 hours to walk.

About the Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Stage one of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is jam-packed full of highlights that’ll make the smile on your face reach your ears.

18 historic railway bridges (five heritage), glow worms inside a 500m+ tunnel, winding rivers, panoramic landscape views with Mt Wollumbin towering above, cafes, and a pub – not bad for less than two hours turning your pedals (depending on how long you spend in the pub).



Stage one is broken up perfectly with seven rest stops allowing plenty of opportunities to soak in this beautiful part of the world and to explore what it has to offer, meaning this could easily be a day long experience for those who aren’t trying to beat their PB on the pushie.

The route passes over or alongside the old railway line and is therefore naturally very flat (4.5% max incline along the trail to be precise, unless you’re bypassing a bridge), making it accessible, safe, and very doable for nearly all riders and walkers regardless of skill level and experience.

The surface is a mix of sealed asphalt (6km) and compacted gravel (18km) which makes it particularly delightful.

Northern Rivers Rail Trail History

Trains first cranked along these tracks in May 1894 and provided a vital transport route for over 100 years before the last XPT service ran in May 2004.

For the past 15 years there’s been a collaborative effort to evolve the trail into an eco-tourism experience and breathe life back into old tracks.



Funding from the federal and state government has made the Tweed section a reality and in September 2021 construction finally began.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is an ambitious project that’ll eventually stretch 132km from Murwilmbah to Casino.

When exactly this will be finished is unclear, but it looks set to be transformative for the region as each section opens up, offering a world class experience as it weaves explorers through Tweed, Byron, Lismore, and the Richmond Valley.

How to Get to The Northern Rivers Rail Trail?

You can start at various points along the trail, although to experience the full hit I’d suggest beginning at either end – Murwillumbah or Crabbes Creek.

By Car

If you’re coming from the north I suggest starting in Murwillumbah. It’s 30 minutess from Gold Coast Airport and an hour and 45 minutes from Brisbane (132km). Murwillimbah is a sizeable country town with plenty of parking and somewhere to hire a bike if you don’t have one.

If you’re coming from the south then starting your trip at Crabbes Creek could be the go. There’s a brilliant general store for snacks but certainly less parking options currently. It takes around 25 minutes to drive from Byron Bay to Crabbes Creek.

Skill Level


A combination of lack of gradient and asphalt/compact gravel surface ensures the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is designed for all ages and skill levels. Families in particular will absolutely love the experience.



Cell phone reception is patchy on some sections of the trail, while water is available at Murwillumbah Railway Station, Burringbar and Mooball.

Care has been made to make this experience accessible for people with disabilities in terms of access ramps to toilets. We suggest looking at the Northern Rivers Rail Trail website for more information on accessibility.

Distance Covered / Time Taken

24km / 1-1.5 hours to ride / 4-5 hours to walk


Essential Gear for Northern Rivers Rail Trail

  • A bike
  • Helmet
  • Bike light (for the tunnels)
  • Tyre patch kit
  • Plenty of water
  • Cash for coffee, snacks, lunch and a brewski
  • Map (above)
  • First aid kit (snake bandage encouraged – we saw a large Brown snake on our ride)

What It’s Like to Ride the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (Section 1 – Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek)

Leg 1 – Murwillumbah Railway Station to Tweed Regional Gallery

Distance: 2.2km
Time: 5-10 mins to ride / 25-30 minutes to walk

Setting off from the beautifully restored station I clocked the Murwillumbah platform sign to my left which on closer inspection was the original steel lettering – I was clearly about to begin an adventure into the past, albeit on my trusty steed rather than a train carriage.

It was midday and the sun was fierce. I was eager to start pushing pedals to create some form of breeze and take the edge of the heat.




Steve and I rolled south alongside the river for a couple of kilometres as we began to leave the town behind us. We cruised along the asphalt path and over Colin Street Bridge as the views immediately opened up to reveal Murwillumbah’s trademark sugar cane fields and in the distance the mighty Mt Wollumbin standing tall amongst the Tweed Range.

Whilst we didn’t pop in, the end of this section is home to the Tweed Valley Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, accessed by a turn off the right.

From what I’ve heard, this is a lovely place to fill your cultural cup with world-renowned art work – it’s home to the Doug Moran National Portraiture Prize Competition, the richest portrait prize in the world. A little birdie told me the cafe is worth a squizz too.

Leg 2 – Tweed Regional Gallery to Stokers Siding Station

Distance: 6.1km
Time: 15-25 minutes to ride / 1-1.15 hours to walk

We passed a small but delightful lake with million dollar views before the track morphed into compressed gravel, and with it an identical sound to that which my son makes whilst munching his cheerios for breakfast. Tyres on gravel – oh how I love the crunch.



Six bridges are crossed on this section and undoubtedly the highlight is Dunbible Bridge. It’s an impressive display of industrial engineering that’s been brought back to life beautifully.



Despite having lived in the Northern Rivers for five years I’m still constantly surprised with what I find here. I loved this section and although I’ve seen parts of it before from the road, the trail whisked me off into a totally different realm, allowing me to experience the area with an entirely different perspective.

Leg 3 – Stokers Siding Station to Upper Burringbar Station

Distance: 7.1km
Time: 15-30 mins to ride / 1.15-1.30 hours to walk

Continuing on the trail there a mix of open vistas and more shaded sections that make for a welcome respite from the sun. It was also at this point that we almost ran over the King of King Brown snakes – an absolute whopper, and a good reminder to be mindful and to pack a snake bandage in your first aid kit.

The main feature of this section is the Burringbar Bridge Tunnel. At 524m it’s the longest tunnel along the Casino to Murwillumbah line and provides something really unique (as well as cooling!) to ride though.



Glow worms and microbats call the seven metre high tunnel home, and for those with mild claustrophobia, you’ll need to concentrate on the light at the end of the tunnel.

I recommended using a bike light for this section, mainly to avoid colliding with other trail users not carrying a light! Be mindful that shining artificial lights can be very disruptive for glow worms.

Leg 4 – Upper Burringbar Station – Burringbar Station

Distance: 3.3km
Time: 8-15 mins to ride / 30-40 mins to walk

The picturesque trail continued – I particularly enjoyed the scent of pine tickling my nostrils and I took several lungfuls of nature’s sweet offering. I could see the smile of contentment grow ever larger across Steve’s face.



We ducked into the The Barn cafe in Burringbar which is perfectly catered to the peckish cyclists. Coffee, snacks, and an expansive array of Grade A cakey wakey. I settled on a caramel slice and sat outside the coffee to watch the world go by.



For those of you travelling by horseback (!), this is the section for you. A permit is required.

Leg 5 – Burringbar to Mooball Station

Distance: 2.15km
Time: 5-10 mins to ride / 20-30 mins to walk

The trail continued through a shaded section before opening up along asphalt to the quirky village of Mooball.



Black and white cow prints adorn the electricity poles and lead travellers to the Victory Hotel, a cracking spot to sink a beer and get stuck into some great pub grub.


I forgot to wear a hat beneath my helmet and realised here that the sun had penetrated through the helmet and left my bald noggin looking like I’d headbutted the inside of a toaster.

Leg 6 – Mooball to Crabbes Creek Station

Distance: 2.85km
Time: 7-12 mins to ride / 30-35 mins to walk

This final section of the day is a short pedal along gravel that passes two more bridges and Hulls Road Tunnel before hooking right across the highway to Crabbes Creek.


FAQs The Northern Rivers Rail Trail

How long is the Northern Rivers Rail Trail?

The total length of the trail is 132km although only Section one from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek is open at this stage, and this is 24km long.

Is the Northern Rivers Rail Trail open?

Yes, the trail opened on the 1st March 2023.

Where can I rent bikes for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail?

You can hire from Murwillumbah Cycles at the start of the trail in Murwillumbah Railway Station. From Moobal you can hire from Beyond Byron E-Bikes who will drop the bikes off to you.

Is there a map of the trail?

Yes, you can download the map from the Northern Rivers Rail Trail website.

Can I take my dog on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail?

Yes, as long as they’re kept on a lead at all times.

Can I camp along the Northern Rivers Rail Trail?

Whilst you aren’t allowed to camp on the trail, there are some nearby places to pitch up. Our recommendation near Stokers Siding is Hosanna Farmstay.

Where is the best place to start the Northern Rivers Rail Trail?

You can begin the trip from either end of the trail, although we would recommend starting in Murwillumbah.

Is the trail suitable for families?

Absolutely, the trail is accessible for all due it its flat gradient and solid surface.

Do I need to be fit to ride the trail?

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is suitable for nearly all riders and walkers regardless of skill level and experience.

Where is the Northern Rivers Rail Trail located?

The rail trail is located in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. It’s a 30 minute drive from Coolangatta / Gold Coast Airport.

Is the Northern Rivers Rail Trail free to ride?

The trail is free to ride although it’s encouraged that visitors support the local region when passing through whether it’s food, experiences or accommodation.


Photos thanks to @henry_brydon and @kiffandculture / @thetweed_nsw