Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail

posted in: Victorian Rail Trails | 0

Written by Laura, our guest from Canada!

There were spider webs falling from the sky, an abattoir, roughly 40 kms of beautiful Victorian scenery, stunning beaches at the west end of the Great Ocean Road, and a posse of Aussies, all of which made my inaugural trip with the Adventure Gang tm unforgettable.

The weekend began with a three-hour train ride from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to the start of the Rail Trail in Warrnambool. I found out on this train ride while getting to know some of the characters that make up the Adventure Gang tm that quizzes are a popular pastime in Australia, and not just on Buzzfeed.

Train times. Photo by Laura.

After a lot of snack sharing and wrong answers we ended up at our destination and met up with the “Car Crew”. After ensuring all of us were suited up and organized, we embarked.

Warrnambool to Port Fairy crew.

We chose the Warrnambool Breakwater trail head as our starting point and it took about 5 minutes into the cycling trip to find our first distraction, the BMX Park. It was a lot of fun to whip up and down the hills of the BMX track with inappropriate bikes and fully loaded panniers.

BMX track shenanigans – featuring Laura! Photo by Julia

At this point we quickly realized we wouldn’t make record timing as two members of the group were already ahead and waiting for the group to finish up with the BMX shenanigans. We kept on and found ourselves peddling along the Merri River where we admired the pelicans, white herons and other birds one Canadian cannot identify.

After 5.7 kilometers we made it to our first agreed upon stop at Levy’s Point carpark which has access to some coastal dunes. The smell of BBQ was lingering in the air and the sun made its first appearance. Everyone was warm and happy discussing what a great place this was for our lunch break. Then, someone realized that “BBQ smell” was coming from an abattoir nearby. Half the group high-tailed it out of there claiming they could not stand the smell after explaining the gross details of animal processing. The remaining group was too hungry to care and enjoyed eating lunch at the beach.

We reconvened after the field of gates and spider webs. The spider webs cannot be ignored of course! Only in Australia do you see fields covered in white, not from snow, but from spider webs. Some freak spider thing like this is exactly what I expected of Australia so I actually didn’t mind the streams of webs hitting my face, sticking to my helmet and being carried down the path by my bicycle and body. Luckily we didn’t actually see any spiders, the whole phenomenon is apparently due to flooding and they don’t actually fall from the sky which has been claimed by some sensationalist news articles.

We continued on the trail until the path followed along the Illowa road which is an old section of the Princess Highway. We burned off all the calories from lunch by pumping up some moderate hills. We were relieved to discover the midway point at the old Koroit Railway station building because it was downhill the rest of the way to Port Fairy. The final stretch was on the old railway and it took us through farming country and remnant forests. The sun started lowering in the sky so we continued without stopping and completed the trail with some minor bum bruising, but with each of us in one piece.

To celebrate the arrival at our destination, which was a beautiful and nicely restored Victorian house, we decided we wanted to do another bike ride and discover the quaint township of Port Fairy! Most of the gang hopped on their two wheels and headed for the beach in time to catch the last glimpse of sunlight.

Jumping on the beach at sunset

The group reconvened to enjoy a pint and dinner at the Caledonian Inn.

Early the following morning we set out to find the lighthouse on Griffith island before following the same route back to Warrnambool.

Port Fairy Lighthouse. Photo by Simon.
Laura and Simon at the Port Fairy Lighthouse

The weather turned out to be idyllic for late May. Our only stop was at the Koroit midway point for a quick lunch as we wanted to hustle back with time to spare before making the journey home to Melbourne. We arrived at the Warrnambool Breakwater in the early afternoon where some of the energetic crew had an ocean swim.

Caroline & Emi went for a dip back at Warrnambool

All together we enjoyed a drink and snack from the terrace at the Pavilion Café and Bar.

Group shot in Warrnambool
Pavilion Café, Warrnambool

My bum was hurting but my spirits were high because it was an experience I will not soon forget. The mission of the Adventure Gang is one I could easily identify with, and the fact that I was welcomed to help them meet their challenge of completing all of Victoria’s Rail Trails over 20km in 2015 was fantastic.

Thanks for having me and be sure to take the quiz below. Post your score in the comments section below with the hashtag #adventuregang to claim the prize of bragging rights.

The Quiz

1.) How long did the quiz take from The Age newspaper?

  1. 1.75 hours
  2. 1 hour
  3. 1.25 hours

2.) What was the final score of the quiz?

  1. 16/36
  2. 18.333/36
  3. 15.333 /36

3.) What score did was needed to pass?

  1. 20
  2. 18
  3. 16

4.) How many people were there on the trip?

  1. 12
  2. 11
  3. 10

5.) How many times did Caroline call V-Line about the train tickets?

  1. 2
  2. 4
  3. 6

6.) Who did Laura and Jon borrow their bikes from?

  1. Jess’s girlfriend and Caroline
  2. Jess’s sister and no one
  3. Jess’s mum and no one

7.) How much were train tickets/person round-trip?

  1. 41
  2. 33
  3. 55

8.) Who had the only wipeout known to the group?

  1. Laura
  2. Jess
  3. Angie

9.) How many spokes were lost?

  1. 0
  2. 1
  3. 2

10.) How many flat tires?

  1. 1
  2. 0
  3. .5

11.) How many different dishes were in the salad bar at pub?

  1. 8
  2. 6
  3. 10

12.) Which dumpster diving find captured the most excitement?

  1. Caroline’s yogurt
  2. Jon’s Ovaltine
  3. The Funions

13.) How many kms from Warrnambool to Port Fairy on the Rail Trail?

  1. 40
  2. 38
  3. 37.5

14.) Which city boasts the title, The World’s Most Livable City?

  1. Vancouver
  2. Warrnambool
  3. Port Fairy

Quiz responses (no cheating!)

1)a. 2)c. 3)c. 4)a. 5)c. 6)b. 7)b. 8)b. 9)c. 10)b. 11)a. 12)b. 13)c. 14)c.

Trip summary

Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail
Total Ascending: 139m
Total Descending: 125m
Total Distance: 37km (each way)