Bicycle Network: Ride a Trail
Bendigo - Kilmore (O'Keefe) Rail Trail - Visitor Information
The Bendigo - Kilmore (O’Keefe) rail trail is a 23km trail that is relatively flat traversing box-ironbark and yellow gum woodland.
The surface is a mixture of gravel types, with some sections being progressively upgraded. Overall, the trail surface is suitable for MTB or hybrid bikes only. Horses are permitted, but no formal bridle path currently exists along the length of the trail. Horse riders are reminded to travel at walking pace only and, where possible, not to ride on the actual upgraded trail surface in those sections.
A major upgrade of the trail is currently funded and under way, which includes a trail extension from Axedale to Heathcote (expected final completion by Dec 2014). The proposal to include a Heathcote to Kilmore/Wallan section is not currently a public accessible trail option, although this is being promoted as a possible future trail extension.
Google map - click on map to see more information about features and connections
View O'Keefe Rail Trail (Bendigo-Heathcote) 2012-2014 in a larger map
The Bendigo region boasts a number of other riding/walking options and many link to the O’Keefe rail trail.
Wellsford Forest regional park/state forest
Alternative return route between Bendigo East and Axedale is along forest tracks through box-ironbark woodland of the Wellsford Forest Regional Park/state forest.One forest route option is McIvor Hwy Axedale, Sugarloaf Rd, Pinpandoor Rd, Jay Track, Ellesmere Track, Plant Rd, and Rifle Range Rd to Pratts Park Rd, Bendigo East or in the reverse.Note – these tracks are suitable for MTB or hybrid bikes only. Access depends on weather and track conditions. The route is not signposted at every cross point. The use of a localised/DSE map is recommended. See the DSE interactive forest explorer for a start.
One Tree Hill Regional Park (from the O’Keefe Trail)
1. At the O’Keefe trail crossing of Pratts Park Rd, travel on this road approx 1 km in a southerly direction to McIvor Hwy, cross the highway into the One Tree Hill Regional Park.
OR 2. At the O’Keefe trail crossing of Markovitch Lane, travel in a southerly direction along Markovitch Lane to McIvor Hwy, cross the highway and travel a short distance west and enter the One Tree Hill Regional Park (same location as #1 above).
Bendigo Bushland Trail
Explore the 65km Bendigo Bushland Trail by bike or on foot. Map from Bendigo Visitor Information Centre.
Whipstick State Park and Kamarooka State Park
These are both just north of Bendigo and both parks have good short walks. For more information visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au, the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre, or state government offices (Bendigo) Taylors St Epsom.
Mandurang State Forest and Sandhurst State Forest
Both parks have good short walks, and some trails that are suitable for MTB riding. For more information visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au, the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre, or State Government Offices (Bendigo) Taylors St Epsom.
Bendigo Creek Trail
The O’Keefe trail links to the Bendigo Creek Trail near Weeroona Ave North Bendigo. This Bendigo Creek Trail links in either direction from Howard St Epsom (northern Bendigo suburb) to the Crusoe Reservoir & No. 7 Reservoir near Crusoe Rd & Furness St Kangaroo Flat (southern Bendigo suburb). Detailed directional trail maps are located along the Bendigo Creek Trail.
Mulga Bill Bicycle Trail
Banjo Patterson’s Mulga Bill’s Bicycle poem hailed from Eaglehawk (a Bendigo suburb) not far from Bendigo, hence the inspiration for naming the Mulga Bill Bicycle Trail that explores sections of this town.
Goldfields Track Victoria (Great Dividing Trail).
This is a walk or ride trail, which is being upgraded for MTB use. Its route is from Bendigo to Castlemaine to Daylesford, Creswick to Ballarat. The section closest to Bendigo is called the Leanganook Track.
Bendigo self guided walks
Discover the history of Bendigo with self guided walks from the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre.
*Photo above shows Axe Creek bridge (off Longlea Lane, Longlea)
Weeroona Avenue Bendigo – At the north western side of Lake Weeroona, there is a public car park (adjacent the Bendigo Rowing Clubrooms), which is closest (approx 400metres) to the O’Keefe trail’s start/end point on the Bendigo Creek Trail. There is plenty of car parking, a café, and toilet plus playground facilities around the lake. The Bendigo Railway Station is approximately 3km to the south, on Railway Place Bendigo.
East Bendigo 0-Pratts Park Rd/Rifle Range Rd has a car park (located in the corner of the Wellsford Forest Regional Park), adjacent to the O’Keefe trail’s new replica ‘Rifle Butts’ platform.
Longlea – The trail crosses Longlea Lane, at Peppercorn Park (an equestrian centre). No facilities are available for the rail trail users at this point.
Axedale – At the Axedale Hall Reserve, at the corner of High St (McIvor Highway) and Mitchell St, there are car parking, toilets, and playground facilities, Vic Police Station, nearby the Axedale Roadhouse Store and Axedale Tavern. Follow trail directional signs.
Current section – North Bendigo to Axedale (19km)
From Lake Weeroona/ Weeroona Avenue, follow the Bendigo Creek Trail northwards about 200m to a trail ‘T’ intersection and turn right to begin the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Cross the Midland Highway with care, travel eastwards, cross Bobs St and go through the brick-lined culvert under the Bendigo–Echuca railway line.
At the 4km point a trail branches to the north on the original ‘Rangelea’ siding line (to the Dept of Defence ammunition facility), then the trail veers off this alignment and crosses Atlas Rd. The Bendigo Bushland Trail joins the rail trail at Markovitch Lane.
Take care at the trail’s crossing of the McIvor highway (highway vehicle speed is max. 90kph), next to the Baptist Church at Junortoun.
After travelling 12km, the trail is at Axe Creek where a stop may be made to view the natural waterway environment, and the downstream natural rock formation weir. The trail’s crossing of the Axe Creek is a good place for a picnic.
The Axedale former railway station site is on the western edge of town, at Taig Rd, but little remains of the railway station infrastructure, the timber loading facilities, or the bluestone crushing plant and loading facilities. A more recent concrete refuge tipping facility wall and a seat can be seen, plus various road bed and earth formations.
Continue close to the historic Axedale cemetery, and via the new bridge cross the Hargreaves Creek to the Burns St and Crows Rd intersection. Follow the new section of trail to the former Axedale Racecourse Platform site, and then via the newly built trail (sections having an asphalt surface) into the township and its facilities located on High Street.
There are a number of former railway station and platform sites which some are expected to be formally signed during 2012, as a Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s community project.
Replica concrete railway mileposts have been installed along the O’Keefe Rail Trail, between Axedale and Bendigo North, to replace the lost original posts. The manufacturing and installing of these mileposts have been a Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s project.
There are wildflowers including orchids in bloom during Spring, along the trail and also in a Nature Reserve adjacent the trail at Bennetts Road.
*Photo above shows Grassy Flat Creek Bridge (Strickland Road, East Bendigo)
Summary of Conditions
Length:23km (one way)
Starting point: Bendigo Creek Trail, off Weeroona Avenue, Bendigo
Destination: Bendigo to Axedale
Surface: Sandy gravel (varying quality), asphalt in Axdale township area
Walking time: 5.5 hours (approx.) one way at a leisurely pace
Cycling time: 3 hours (approx.) one way at a leisurely pace
Connections: The Bendigo Bushland Trail, between Pratts Park Road and Markovitch Lane, with options to select short sections of this trail (parts of the trail can be cycled, allowing 10 min / km). The Bendigo Creek Trail, which intersects the O'Keefe trail near Weeroona Ave Bendigo (all asphalt surfaced).