Written by Caroline, 30 April 2018.
This trip on the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail was completed 17-18 October, 2015. So, apologies that my memories aren’t very clear. But here are some lovely photos and a brief overview of this trip, which was one of my favourite rail trails due to its authenticity, resemblance to the original train line, and the beautiful bush.
All photos below are from Simon’s camera – mostly taken by Simon but a couple by me, as I forgot my camera. Who knows which ones though, as it’s been more than 2 years!
We (Simon, Jens, Julia, Katka & me) headed out on the train to Camperdown, a 3 hour journey from Melbourne on the Warrnambool Vline. The rail trail doesn’t start right at Camperdown station, so we had to decide on a route to get to the start of the trail (after visiting some op shops in town, of course). The ride to the trail involved going up and down some steep hills on the road – not ideal but unavoidable. We recall stopping to watch some huge cycling event go by, but no idea what this was.
We eventually found our way to the start of the trail, despite the confusion this photo shows:
We had a lovely lunch stop at the Elingamite shelter (perhaps a relic of an old train station?).
The trail continues through beautiful bush and past rivers, with many of the old railway sleepers and (overgrown) railway bridges still evident. This makes for bumpy riding at times, but we still loved it! Unfortunately the bridges are no longer in use, and the trail diverts around them, which meant we were frequently heading steeply downhill, followed by a sharp turn and then steep uphill, inevitably in the wrong gear.
The trail eventually opens out onto to the Curdies River Trestle bridge, which is huge and impressive, passing over farmland.
The trail passes through more lovely bush as it comes into Timboon. We looked for potential campsites along the way but didn’t find anything suitable, so decided to ask in town. Our first obvious stop was at the Timboon Distillery, in the old Timboon Railway Shed.
We bought icecream and chatted to a staff member about prospective camping options. She said there was nothing, but offered that we could camp at her place for $50 per head. This seemed a little steep so we headed outside to sit in the sunshine and consider our options.
While outside, another staff member came out and advised us not to stay there, and recommended camping behind the pool instead. We were relieved to have another option, and headed off to buy some supplies to the supermarket and fish and chip shop to supplement our dinner. The fish and chip shop was uneventful. We were, however, in fits of laughter after an incident in the supermarket, where Katka and Jens tried to buy a cooked chicken displayed in the deli, and were told they could not because it was reserved for a staff member. Rather than some paying customers. Maybe you had to be there, but this kept us entertained for what felt like hours.
We enjoyed our dinner at a picnic table by the river, which included another hilarious exchange – this time with a stranger who wandered over for a chat from their nearby accommodation. Most of it I can’t remember, but I assure you it was hilarious, and much of it involved her observation of German stereotypes.
Between pre- and post-dinner exploring, it somehow took the five of us approximately two hours to come to a decision about which side of the river to camp on. I am not sure why this was. There were only two options, and with 5 people it should have been pretty quick to form a majority. I guess we were all stupidly undecided. Anyway, a campsite was eventually chosen.
The two most memorable things that happened to us on our way back (returning via the same route on the rail trail) were:
- Having to stop for an exceptionally long time to allow some cows to cross the trail!
- Enjoying a dip in Lake Bulleen Merri (I think!?!?!) on the trip home (a slight detour from the trail to the Camperdown train station).
Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail
Total Ascending: 185m
Total Descending: 269m
Total Distance: 40km (plus some extra to get to and from the trail from Camperdown station).
Requires either a hybrid/touring bike or preferably a mountain bike, particularly if it’s wet. We had one mountain bike and four hybrid/touring bikes and all went fine, though it was dry.