Bicycle Network: Regional Routes
Coast to Crater (Camperdown - Timboon) Rail Trail: Campaign Updates
The latest developments and improvements on the trail
Diamond in the rough so close to being spectacular
2 May 2013 The Napthine Government ahs the opportunity to immediately fund and construct Victoria's newest tourism goldmine.
The existing trail is good in parts but needs to be completed north of Cobden to connect properly to Camperdown and its train station where tourists could easily start their Ocean Road experience.
Further south there is a section from Glenfyne to Curdies Bridge approaching the Spectacular Bridge. Then the trail needs funding to extend from Timboon to the coast at Port Campbell and connect up to the much lauded Twelve Apostles Project.
Summer shuttles back in Timboon
24 August 2011. The shuttle bus service will return to the Coast to Crater it this year, again making the exploration of this developing rail trail more convenient for visitors.
Building on the success of last summer's trial service, Popes Bus Service is reprising last years effort. The 2010/11 services was well subscribed, with an averaging between 6 and ten users per service (not only bike riders).
The service will run to the same timetables at last summer (operating every Thursday night at 5:15 pm and every second Sunday at 11:00 am). The shuttle service will run from 1 December 2011 to 26 April 2012 to cater for expected summer demand, and will remain free of charge.
This shuttle service will complement existing public transport services between Camperdown and Timboon. Contact David Pope on 0427 408 096 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
With moves afoot to build momentum for extending the trail to the coast (more on that later), bedding down extra transport options will put this trail in good stead for when it reaches the iconic tourist attractions of the Shipwreck Coast and the 12 Apostles.
All aboard Timboon shuttle
11 March 2011. A new shuttle bus has been trialling service along the Coast to Crater Rail Trail to encourage more people to explore this developing trail from Camperdown to Timboon.
Running every Thursday night at 5pm and second Sunday's at 11am, the shuttle will run the 10km between the Timboon Distillery, Curdies River Bridge and Merretts Road, picking up and dropping off at all those locations.
The shuttle, operated by Popes, is a not-for-profit proposition, with all surplus being donated back to the maintenance and improvement of the trail, a great initiative that shows the value of community support.
Currently only in trial phase, the plan is to offer the shuttle on a permanent basis as demand requires.
Heritage bridge opening inspires trail
19 November 2010. The heritage-listed Curdies River Railway Bridge near Timboon has been opened after a magnificent restoration, inspiring moves to complete the Coast to Crater Rail Trail all the way to Port Campbell.
Timber trestle structure over Curdie's River was built built 1891-92. The newly-refurbished bridge was officially opened to a large audience of drawn from the local community with significant representation from nearby schools, and visiting groups which have been involved in its restoration.
Cr. Matt Makin, Mayor of Corangamite Shire officially opened the 183 metre long bridge today, unveiling a commemerative plaque, and inviting the visting school kids to join him in walking over the new structure.
The new bridge is a testament to the great committment of volunteer labor that has slaved to rebuild it timber by timber. The Coast to Crater Committee of Management, in particular deserves a thank you for driving the process to its successful completion.
Bicycle Network Victoria has maintained concern about the quality of the surface throughout the life of this trail. It still needs work. However, the first few kilometers between Timboon and the new bridge are in good shape, and an effort to resurface the remaining distance - about 2km - will deliver a good and uninterrupted 5km section of the trail back to Timboon that is sure to get growing usage. The bridge is a good target for walkers and will be an easy ride for most on sturdy bikes.
There was much talk about what's next now that the bridge has been completed. Port Campbell beckons as the next target. A 16km extension to the trail south from Timboon to the coast would do it. Everyone was supportive of the idea, and with the bridge out of the way, there are no excuses. An extension to Port Campbell also raises the prospect of being able to resurface the existing trail to put it in top nick and really unlock the potential of this trail. The fantastic effort on the bridge deserves no less.
Write to Cr. Makin and say well done so far, and encourage him to push on with further extensions and improvements.
Port Campbell, here we come!
9 February 2009. Wannon Water has given in-principle support for the use of the land on top of the pipeline from Timboon to Port Campbell for the trail route.
The decision removed a possible impediment to the development of the much anticipated project.
Bicycle Network Victoria met with executives at Wannon Water in late January, and laid out the proposed route for that section of trail, as outlined in the 2007 Draft Assessment prepared for Corangamite Council.
The pipeline route runs along the Timboon Peterborough Road south of Heywards Road and then continues south along North South Road, turning east along Port Campbell Curdievale Road until the pipeline enters the water treatment plant near Pleasant Road (see map at right).
This pipeline starts approximately 3km from Timboon and comes within 2km of Port Campbell. The 13km along the route that can use the pipeline represents over 70 percent of the total distance of this section.
Options for getting out of Timboon and into Port Campbell still need to be explored, but in any case this is a significant chunk of trail.
The land under which the pipe sits is entirely within the road reserve, but as a major stakeholder we were pleased to receive Wannon Water's support for this route option. Funding for this section of the trail still needs to be found, but we can focus on that now knowing that the easement box box is ticked.
The pipeline is scheduled to be repaired or replaced progressively over the next few years under Wannon Water's capital works program.
Once sufficient funding to proceed with trail construction is secured, the trail management group will be working with Wannon Water on harmonizing scheduling to minimize disruptions to both projects.
Bicycle Network Victoria visits Camperdown-Timboon
18 December 2008. Bicycle Network Victoria staff visited Camperdown, Cobden and Timboon earlier this month to review progress on this section of the Coast to Crater Trail and meet with the Committee of Management to discuss future plans.
There is no doubt that this trail oozes potential. Based on the conclusions delivered by our recent rail trail study, we know that riders prioritize scenery, views and natural attractions when deciding what trails to ride. This trail already ticks those boxes and then some, as the following photos show:
The trail also benefits from a ready-made tourism trail head in Timboon, and with Camperdown at the other end of the trail and Cobden in the middle, riders will be well served.
Timboon is ready for riders. The Timboon Railway Distillery at the terminus of the trail serves excellent food, and is a great lunch stop (and of course has discounts for Bicycle Network Victoria members - check your blink page under the member deals tab). It probably loses a point on the ratings scale due to a lack of bike parking in the area, but that's a minor complaint really! The Whisky Villas offer very reasonably priced rental accommodation that is about 25 meters from the trail, which is about as close as can be expected. Certainly trail end facilities then are very much in place and getting better.
Work to be done
We are equally sure that this trail is still very much a work in progress when it comes to the surface. There has been some great work done to date in getting the trail to where it is now, but from a bike riding point of view there is still a lot to do.
The surface material is still loose and rocky in many places. Due to the choice of material, the surface will stay rough until there is a chance to bring heavy rolling machinery in to flatten down the surface. More rolling is required to deliver a flatter and smoother surface with the scoria material that is currently on the trail. The ideal time to do this is during the wet winter season, so we will look for the Committee to arrange to have the trail rolled again over winter 2009 and aim for better result for the surface by next spring. The Committee is looking forward to getting this done.
We had a long and comprehensive meeting with the Committee and discussed a range of options for how they can work to improve the trail in the future. We were pleased to see that their fantastic committement to constantly improve the trail hasn't flagged after all these years.
We congratulate them on getting the trail to a point where it can be officially opened and accessible. We'll continue working with them to deliver a better riding surface for bikes, so that riders can start taking advantage of the great scenery that the trail already boasts, and so that the towns can start hosting more and more bike riding visitors.
At this point in time though, the trail cannot be recommended for beginner riders, nor for less sturdy bikes. Currently, it is ideally tackled by more experienced and adventurous riders preferably with mountain bikes or equally hardy bicycles and suspension is definitely an asset.
Camperdown - Timboon Trail set to open
20 November 2008. The Camperdown - Timboon Rail Trail Committee of Management have advised that they are officially opening of the first section of the Coast to Crater Rail Trail in December.
The opening is at at 11:30am on 5 December, 2008 at the Timboon Rail Yard in Timboon.
The event will include the unveiling of threatened species informational signage that has combined Aboriginal art and photography, marked by a ceremonial and animal dance performance by the Gunditjmara Karweeyn Dance Group. An official opening of the trail will follow, and include a free BBQ for all attendees.
Current Trail Review
Based on our last visit in June and helpful feedback from members in the intervening months, the trail is still somewhat rough and ready, but an exciting venture for the fearless rider.
When the surfaces are fully bedded down and consilidated, the trail will be a great ride for all skills of rider.
Completing a project of this size is no small job, and we would like to congratulate and thank the Committee of Management for their outstanding efforts in bringing this trail to where it is now. We understand and appreciate many of the constraints the Committee is working under.
Primarily, the outstanding issues are the roughness of the trail surface at many points, and significant vegetation that detracts from the rideability of the trail. We are assured that the vegetation has been, or will be cleared in time for the trail opening on 5 December, and that an additional rolling of the surface will help smooth some of the rough patches.
The section north of Curdies River is still an adventure. The rails and sleepers of the original railway through this section make it probably unrideable for anything less than sturdy mountain bikes piloted by confident riders.
Most other riders will likely find that dismounting and walking through this section is preferable, and as it is a fairly short section, this shouldn't be an overly taxing option. The solution in this area will have to be considered a longer-term project, due to the difficulty of accessing this section with the heavy machinery required to remove the rails and sleepers. The installation of a boardwalk of some sort as an intermediate option is worth considering.
Accessing the start of the trail from Camperdown requires some on-road riding through the Crater Lakes area to the start of the off-road trail at Naroghid Road.
In short then, this trail is now accessible all the way through from Camperdown to Timboon, which is a significant accomplishment. Some sections are still on-road, some sections are still rougher than others, and the existing rails leading into Curdies River mean this section will not be suitable for all types of bikes and riders.
No doubt there are still issues left to resolve, but we are confident these can be addressed as the trail matures.
We welcome further feedback from any riders who have been out on the trail recently. Please let us know how it is coming along in your view. We will be reviewing progress on the trail again in early December and meeting with the Committee prior to the official opening on the 5th, and are looking forward to being able to update our views on its progress.
While keeping these issues in mind, we encourage every interested rider to get out on the trail to check it out starting now, and over the summer. Our recent survey of Rail Trail riders told us that scenery and natural attractions are the main points of interest when choosing to visit trails. This trail certainly stands up on that score, with special mention for the areas around the Crater Lakes near Camperdown and the stretch of trail south of Curdies River to Timboon.
The Timboon Rail Shed Distillery has generously offered Bicycle Network Victoria members a free spirit tasting and ice cream with the purchase of any meal (see your exclusive member deals page through Blink), which will be a welcome reward after a hard day's ride.
Member feedback on trail surface
24 September 2008. Some of our members in the Camperdown, Cobden and Timboon areas have been in touch with us about some sections of the trail that need further improvment work done on them prior to opening the trail officially to the public. First of all, thanks to those members for writing to us with their personal experiences. Your eyes and ears on the ground all over Victoria help us to focus on projects that need attention and areas of particular trails that need improvement - such as in this case.
The general issues of concern centre on the trail surface, which is still very rough in certain bits and will benefit from work to roll and smooth some areas which are currently very loose and topped with large scoria stones. In the longer-term some of these areas, especially around Cobden, may benefit from a new surface material, pending the outcome of immediate work over the coming weeks. Other issues of note include excessive vegetation along the route in spots, the roughness of the "adventure" section north of Curdies River which is a longer-term project, and signage.
We've been in regular contact with the Committee of Management who are working diligently to resolve some of the issues we've raised, as well as continuing works on some of the other pressing projects on this trail, such as the bridges near Curdies River and the installation of signage along the route.
We continue to be appreciative of their hard work and dedication.
If you have noted any of these same issues, or anything else that could be improved, please let us know.
Section One (Camperdown to Timboon) nearing completion
30 June 08 The Coast to Crater Rail Trail should soon be in a rideable condition. This is apparent from an inspection in mid-June when Bicycle Network Victoria toured the length of the Camperdown-Timboon section of the trail with the Committee of Management. Watch this space - we'll have more information here about a special opportunity to explore this trail.
Surfacing is nearly complete, with rough gravel laid down on most of the trail which will be rolled and smoothed over winter. Signage for the trail has been installed, and with a few additions and minor adjustments of current sign alignments the route will be well marked. Work on restoring the historic Curdies River Bridge is continuing apace, and encouragingly, most of the pilings have already been restored, with only about half a dozen more to be upgraded before the length of the bridge can be resurfaced. With some additional changes and improvements to fencing alignments and a handful of gate points, the trail should soon be passable over its entire length.
At least initially, sections of the trail will still only be suitable for the more "adventuresome" riders. For instance, there is a stretch north of the bridge at Curdies River for approximately 4 km that features some steeper grades, narrower embankments and sharper corners than are usually found on rail trails. Additionally, this section will still have its original rails and ties in place, serving as a stark reminder that you're on a rail trail! Still, this is a small section of the overall trail, which will be navigable to most users, by dismounting and walking your bike, so don't be discouraged!
Caption: Example of the rustic portion of the trail, with sharp, narrow turns.
Initial access to the trail will be through town in Camperdown, starting at the central point of the train station, especially beneficial for all of those wishing to tackle the trail without the use of cars. Currently, signage needs to be improved to improve access from the station to the trail to ensure clear access for riders.
The trailhead at the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery will offer riders a welcome spot to rest, refresh, and replenish supplies. The Distillery is already open for business, and with a great deal of carparking in place with more to be added, and vegetation rehabilitation projects underway, it will make for an ideal location, both as the current end of the trail and as a link in the greater Coast to Crater Trail once it extends towards Port Campbell & Princetown...
...Speaking of Princetown
30 June 08 Now that the Camperdown to Timboon section of the Coast to Crater Trail is nearing completion, thought and effort is being put into developing the remaining sections of the trail. Interested local champions are soon to set up a new Committee of Management for the Timboon to Princetown section, which will take in the coastal attractions of Gibson's Steps, Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles.
A feasibility study for the entirety of this section has already been completed for Corangamite Shire Council (linked in the post below). Initial discussions have focused on starting with the section of trail leading west from Princetown back towards Loch Ard Gorge as laid out in the study.
Next steps will be investigating and applying for further sources of funding.
Comment sought on the proposed extension along the Great Ocean Road
Jun 07 Community comment on the Coast to Crater Rail Trail Assessment report is now being invited and submissions close on July 6, 2007.
The report details the design and costs of extending the Camperdown to Timboon section of the rail trail (currently under construction) to Port Campbell, along the Great Ocean Road past the Twelve Apostles and onto Princetown.
Bicycle Network Victoria is very supportive of this project and will be working hard over the coming months to secure funding from State and Federal Governments.
If you like the idea of riding from the amazing Crater Lakes at Camperdown, through spectacular forest to the coast and then past the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, let the Council know how much they should make this project happen as soon as possible.
Click here to read the report and email council, email@example.com, to comment and show your support for the project.
Trail building well underway
May 07 Construction is underway on the Camperdown to Timboon section of the rail trail. The trail should be open to riders and walkers later this year.
In the meantime the local Committee of Management has asked people not to use the trail as it is a construction site. It seems that a lot of people cannot wait to ride and walk along this old railway line through some of Victoria's most beautiful and hidden remnant forests. Click on email me updates above to be notified when the trail is open for use.
The restoration of the Curdies Bridge on the rail trail (see right and below) is about to begin. The Committee of Management has asked for volunteers to help with the project. Anyone interested in working outdoors with timber and learning some 'old' skills from trestle bridge experts will be warmly welcomed. Email us and we will put you in touch with the team.
Coast to Crater Rail Trail reaching for the coast
May 07 Consultants are putting the final touches to a feasibility study for the two remaining sections of the trail. These are:
- The Timboon to Port Campbell section that will follow a water pipe easement away from the road for most of its route to the coast; and
- The Port Campbell to Princetown section that will run adjacent to the Great Ocean Road past Loch Ard Gorge, The Twelve Apostles, and through to the mouth of the Gellibrand River and Princetown.
The report should be available for public comment soon followed by funding applications to State and Federal Governments. Bicycle Network Victoria strongly supports this project and looks forward to it being developed as one of Victoria's highest priority tourism walking and cycling trails.
Click on email me updates above to be notified when any important information comes to hand.
March 2007 - Curdies River Bridge to be restored
Heritage Victoria have just announced over $150,000 to restore the Curdies River Bridge just north of Timboon , which will become a major feature on the Coast to Crater Rail Trail.
The Coast to Crater Rail Trail, which is currently being built from Timboon to Camperdown, was to go around the bridge. This funding will mean that riders and walkers will be able to go over this spectacular bridge.
Congratulations to all involved in continuing the successful flow of funds to this exciting project.
Click here to view the Heritage Victoria media release.
Whisky to flow freely on the Coast to Crater Rail Trail
Sep 06 The Timboon Rail Yards and station buildings are about to be converted into a Historical Whiskey Distillery and rail trail information centre. The Timboon Boutique Distillery will serve whiskey and other vital refreshments for riders by late 2007. Private and state government funding has now been secured for the project.
The construction of the rail trail from Camperdown to Timboon is imminent with tenders being sought for the project in the next week. The majority of work will be undertaken this summer and all going well riders will be enjoying a new trail and the local whisky next summer.
Also, the design of the Timboon to Port Campbell, Twelve Apostles and Princetown section of the trail is also about to commence. Funding will be sought for this section of the trail in early 2007.
Construction begins north of Timboon
Jul 06 The Coast to Crater Rail Trail Committee of Management has been busy replacing wooden culverts on the trail to the north of Timboon and have taken delivery of 1000 sq metres of gravel for the trail surface.
Most of the remaining construction works will be undertaken by contractors. Project Delivery Pty Ltd are currently finalising the project costs and preparing tender documents.
Treasurer Brumby announces $250,000 for Coast to Crater Rail Trail
The State Government's Small Town Development Fund decision to commit $250,000 to the Coast to Crater Rail Trail has been welcomed by Bicycle Network Victoria.
The contribution, which comes on top of the $207,000 committed by BHP Billiton last month, will result in a high quality walking and cycling rail trail from Camperdown to Timboon by the end of 2007.
The Rail Trail Committee of Management, the Corangamite Shire Council, and Bicycle Network Victoria have been working together on this project for a number of years and are elated by the announcement.
This rail trail will bring many benefits to the region; locals will have a safe and beautiful place to exercise, visitors will get a unique experience of the stunning countryside, and local businesses will benefit from the money visitors spend.
BHP Billiton deserves praise for its commitment to the health and vibrancy of the local community and the State Government should be congratulated for recognising the significant economic and social benefits the project will deliver to the region.
Construction will commence shortly, starting with the rebuilding of missing culverts and bridges with the vast majority of trail construction to occur next summer.
The design of a walking and cycling trail from Timboon to the coast will start shortly.
The aim is to see the multi use trail continue through Port Campbell, past the Twelve Apostles and onto Princetown to meet the Great Ocean Walk.
Funding applications for the next stage of construction will be developed over the next six months.
The Coast to Crater Rail Trail is now well on the way to becoming one of Victoria's best tourism and recreational trails.
We expect that over 4,000 people will visit the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail in North East Victoria this Easter, in a few years we can also expect many tourists to visit this trail on long weekends.
More than $200,000 donated to Coast to Crater Rail Trail
As part of its commitment to the Minerva Field Development and the communities in which it operates, BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Ltd committed to provide $207,000 funding for the Coast to Crater Rail Trail.
See the media release at the right of this page for details.
Coast to Crater Rail Trail gets Corangamite Shire Council support
In November the Corangamite Shire Council committed some money to the project as well as a strong commitment to continued valuable in-kind resources.
A number of government and corporate funding applications are now being prepared with the hope of some good news early in the new year.
Bicycle Network Victoria made a presentation to the Corangamite Shire Council in late September 05. We requested support for the rail trail through small finanacial contributions and in-kind support. The support from council is required by state and federal funding agencies and is therefore critical to the success of the project.
An exciting walking and cycling trail that would run between Camperdown, Cobden, Timboon and Port Campbell is a step closer.
An old railway line ran between Campberdown and Timboon. A Rail Trail Committee of Management was appointed several years ago and the group has been working on small sections of the old line to develop a recreational trail.
The railway line finished at Timboon but a water pipeline easement offers opportunity to continue the trail south to Port Campbell, creating a 50km trail.
The combination of pretty towns, rainforest sections, volcano craters and lakes, and the delights of Port Campbell and nearby Twelve Apostles on the coast make this a very attractive cycling destination. The proposed trail alignment will also take in the Timboon Cheese Factory and a planned distillery and cafe at the Timboon station.
In July 2005 Bicycle Network Victoria met with the Rail Trail Committee to investigate the possibility of using the water pipeline easement to connect Timboon to Port Campbell.
The easement is maintained by SW Water and is fenced and cleared. We will be approaching SW Water to see if the trail can use the alignment.
The Committee of Management will be upgrading the section between Cobden and Lake Bullen Merri over the next few months. In 2004 gates were installed at road access points to prevent illegal vehicles from using and damaging the trail.
Bicycle Network Victoria will be meeting with Corangamite Shire council in September to brief the councillors on the project.
2004 Great Vic Bike Ride visit
Sep 04 Bicycle Network Victoria met with the Rail Trail Committee to inspect the trail between Cobden and Camperdown and identify improvements required for the Great Victorian Bike Ride which passed through in November 2004. A rider survey found that the although the trail had attractive scenery the surface needed improving.
Presentation to council
In March 2004 Bicycle Network Victoria met with Shire councillors to discuss the future of the rail trail between Camperdown and Timboon (with potential to extend it to Port Campbell along other easements).
The Coast to Crater Rail Trail has the potential to be one of the premier tourism trails in Victoria. The trail could bring many benefits to the Shire if it was developed into a tourism trail suitable for walkers, bike riders and horse riders.
What is needed
Trail groups have been carrying out tree planting, weed removal and bridge construction but in order to make significant progress an application for a large funding grant is needed to construct a smooth gravel surface that makes the trail accessible to more people.
The 4km section between Timboon and Curdies Bridge needs work to bring the surface up to a standard that people can comfortably walk or ride along. It would give Timboon residents a wonderful place to walk the dog or go for a bike ride.
At the Camperdown end, constructing a trail from South Beach at Lake Bullen Merri (see photo, right) to the rail trail along Naroghid Rd would give the trail a suitable starting point with car parking and toilets available.