Written by Caroline
Cycle from 26-27 September 2015
We started this adventure in Leongatha, and this trip required some car shuffling so that we would have a car at the end of the trail, at Port Welshpool. My main memory of that is that I basically covered the rail trail route, by car and by bike, way too many times. And that Vanessa had an incident where the fuel almost ran out and she’d managed not to bring her wallet (pretty standard, really!).
Day 1 – Leongatha to Foster
We started out with homemade muffins at Emi’s place where we all met up before driving to the start of the trail, at Leongatha.
Much excitement was had along the way when we discovered Simons Lane. Naturally a photo was required.
While doing the car shuffle prior to starting (we left one car at Port Welshpool at the end of the trail), we witnessed many people cycling along the highway. “Why on earth are they doing that, when there’s a rail trail so close by?” we asked ourselves, feeling smug about our own plans to cycle the trail.
We soon learned that these people were not idiots. Near Koonwarra we came across a sign that said the trail was closed, and to take a detour. “Pfft,” said we. “Are we the adventure gang, or what? Let’s get adventurous and just see if we can keep taking the trail even though it’s closed.” This went well for a short while, until we discovered a muddy river with no bridge. Hmm. “Well that’s fine, we said, it doesn’t look too deep… We’ll just walk our bikes through!” Jon got a huge stick to test depth and it turned out that plan wasn’t going to work. So maybe there was a reason the trail was closed… Back to the detour then! The several km detour required riding on the road, so we all got our hi vis on and away we went.
Since Rick’s going to kill me for including this photo, I’ll just put a tiny version 😉
We managed not to die on the road, and then continued on the trail after the detour.
We enjoyed stopping at lots of lovely little towns along the way, and eventually made our way to Foster, where we split into dumpster diving and shopping teams and thus got enough supplies for dinner.
We then cycled up an extremely steep hill for about 10km to get to our friend Dom’s farm, which he had generously allowed us to stay in.
We cooked up a pretty amazing dinner, lit the fire, watched the sunset and had a really excellent evening in the coziness of the farm house.
Day 2 – Foster to Port Welshpool
We awoke to a beautiful morning, and the pleasant knowledge that we were about to cycle down the extremely steep hill we had cycled up the previous day, in order to rejoin the trail in Foster. Amazing!
Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed this cycle which took about ten minutes, compared to one hour or so the previous day.
I can’t remember too much of the subsequent day, except for one section where we kept getting attacked by magpies while we were trying to take a snack break.
We enjoyed a well-deserved lunch at the end of the trail in Port Welshpool, right by the water.
We did a complicated car shuffle at the end of the trip so that Simon, Vanessa & Rick could continue the adventure with a three day hike at Southern Wilson’s Prom, and the rest of us headed back to Melbourne.
Great Southern Rail Trail
Total Ascending: 272m
Total Descending: 346m
Total Distance: 96km
(note these numbers do not include our steep ascent and descent to and from Dom’s farm just out of Foster)