CYCLE WARBURTON THE SCENIC ROUTE
|Trail||Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail|
|Activity||Touring, Town, Mountain or E-Bike|
|Grade (if available)||Moderate|
|Start||Lilydale Train station|
|Finish||Warburton Main Street|
|Distance||40 km (one way)|
|Max Elevation||242 m|
|Features||Hard-packed rail trail, easy hill climbs, sealed trail, native bushland, historic sites, villages, museum, views of the Yarra Valley and Yarra Ranges National Park|
|Facilities||Toilets: Located at many spots on the trail including Mt Evelyn, Launching Place, Wesburn and Warburton
Car parking: Warburton township
|Notes||Can be undertaken all year though in winter be prepared for cold temperatures|
Snaking from the outer suburbs of Melbourne through the beautiful Yarra Valley, the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is the most popular trail of its kind in Victoria, and for good reason.
Victoria's most accessible and well-used rail trail follows the historic broad-gauge railway line (closed in 1965) from Lilydale as it wends its way through the gorgeous Yarra Valley passing native bushland, rich farmland, world-class wineries, trail-side cafes and verdant forests to Warburton. Along the way you will pass the remnants of many old station platforms including at the restored station at Yarra Junction, built in 1882 and now a museum.
The bush surrounding the trail is home to many animals and bird species including kangaroos and wallabies, kookaburras, butterflies, tree ferns and spring wildflowers. Take particular care in spring when the magpies become territorial and can swoop you from behind.
Despite sections of the trail where you feel the freedom and exhilaration of being in the bush you are never far from an access point at any stage, and the trail is very well supported by villages and cafes at multiple, conveniently-spaced points. The trail is justifiably popular so you should expect to be sharing it with walkers, runners, horse-riders and other cyclists, even in the middle of the week.
The easiest gradient and compacted surface mean the ‘Warby Trail’ can be ridden by just about anyone, whether you are only doing a small section or racing out and back in a day. The best experience, however, is to make a weekend of it. Take your time to do the whole trail from Lilydale to Warburton, stopping and marvelling at the sights and sounds as you go. Spend the night in one of Warburton’s great accommodation options and then cruise back to Lilydale the next day. Magic.
- You can ride the Rail Trail in either direction, described here from Lilydale to Warburton.
- Begin in Lilydale at the end of the car park for the Lilydale trail station and climb gently for 6.9km to Mt Evelyn, encountering the first of the many historic disused train stations you will see along your journey.
- To the soundtrack of bellbirds the trail slowly descends through shady bushland to Wandin, a further 5.6km along.
- From Wandin to Seville is 4.1km, then 3.6km past the unique Carriage Café to Killara.
- The trail descends to floodplains and rich pastures, the bucolic scene affording magnificent views of the highlands, crossing the aptly named 175m renovated Long Bridge and on to Woori Yallock. This section is 4.4km long.
- The increasing gradient of the trail takes you 6.8km through to Launching Place – and the famous Home Hotel – cross the highway with care before a further 2.4km beings you to Yarra Junction, where the old railway station has been converted into a museum.
- As you pedal 5.1km to Millgrove the hills begin to rise up around you as you pass the still-operating original sawmill, a window into the region’s logging past.
- Leaving Millgrove the bush thickens and you catch glimpses of the Yarra River, which provides a bubbling and gurgling soundtrack before arriving at Warburton 3.3km later and the welcome sight of its many cafes.
‘Warby Trail’ offers a plethora of access options meaning you can find many shorter trip alternatives. One great option is to begin on the broad floodplain at Woori Yallock and gently ascend through historic towns and over creeks as the native bush thickens and the hills rise until you arrive in Warburton. This leg is 18km one way.
A great wheelchair-accessible route is from Yarra Junction, journeying 8.5km to Warburton. This predominantly sealed section skirts the river and road through ferns and thick forest.
Download the zip file and then upload to use on your GPS or KML-enabled device or Google Maps.