Rail Trails and Cycling Trails in NSW

August 13, 2021

NSW Cycle Trails | Electric Bikes Brisbane

Just across the border from us in Queensland, and extending further down into central and southern NSW, there are some top new rail trail and cycling trail networks.  This article covers three epic (or epic-in the-making) trail destinations for multi-day adventures plus we also include some shorter rail trail and day rides. 

Venture into small country towns and rural communities that welcome cyclists with accommodation, refreshments and country hospitality at its best. Whether you’re just getting started with trail rides or are a seasoned long-distance tourer, these cycle destinations are well worth putting on your list to do.  

Taking your first trail ride? Check out these quick reads:

Central West Cycle Trail

Central West Cycle Trail at Dubbo Zoo | Electric Bikes Brisbane

Launched in July 2020, the Central West Cycle Trail (CwC) takes cyclists on 400km circuit of the central west region visiting numerous small towns and taking in some beautiful, outback countryside in the Wiradjuri nation.

The trail has been mapped to avoid busy roads and encourage visitors to enjoy some great country hospitality and culture along the way, with farm morning tea and lunch stops one of the highlights.

If you choose to ride through the whole 400km circuit, you’ll be riding through the backroads of Mudgee, Gulgong, Dunedoo, Mendooran, Ballimore, Dubbo, Geurie, Wellington, Goolma, finishing back at Gulgong and Mudgee.  You can also choose to just ride stages of it too of course. 

Download the full and sectional maps and Ride with GPS coordinates here: Maps – Central West Cycle Trail

Looking for navigational apps? Check out our recommendations: Best Cycling Apps | Electric Bikes Brisbane

Trail Sections

Here is a section by section breakdown and, where available, the visitor information centre that can assist with food, accommodation and charging suggestions.
  1. Mudgee to Gulgong (30km)
    1. Gulgong to Dunedoo (55km)
    1. Dunedoo to Mendooran (51km via Digilah or 63km via Cobborah)
    • Free Caravan and Camping
    • Warrumbungle Visitors Centre
    1. Mendooran to Ballimore (60km)
    • The Hair of the Dog pub offers camping and hotel room accommodations.
    • Warrumbungle Visitor Centre
    Visit Dubbo
    Image credit: Destination NSW
      1. Ballimore to Dubbo (55km)
      • Plenty of Hotels, Motels and Bed & Breakfasts in Dubbo
      • A good place for a couple of days rest and a chance to the impressive Dubbo Zoo
      • Dubbo Visitors Information Centre
      1. Dubbo to Geurie (28km)
      1. Geurie to Wellington (30km)
      1. Wellington to Goolma (48km)
      • Pine View Camping and Farm Stays
      • Bush Camping with Tables
      1. Goolma to Gulgong (30km)

      Visit the Central West Cycle Trail information page for more details on accommodation, tours and transport options.

      Bicentennial National Trail

      National Trail

       

      This is an epic indeed! The Bicentennial trail actually starts in Cooktown, Queensland, and finishes at Healesville, Victoria, so it covers the entire length of NSW.

      You will ride through some stunning countryside, and there is plenty of adventure with this trail as much of it is not on sealed or groomed tracks.

      The trail exits Queensland through the town of Killarney and enters NSW through the village of Ebor. From there, bikers will follow the river through the Guy Fawkes National Park, to Barrington Tops and through Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

      In a nutshell it follows the Great Dividing Range from Barrington Tops through to Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains and from there you make your way to Mount Kosciuszko. Keep going to Omeo and you cross the border into Victoria along the way. 

      Bicentennial Trail Kosciusko National Park

      This trail is not recommended for beginners and the faint-hearted - recent riders have taken 9 months to complete it end-to-end! However if you are looking for an epic adventure this is one to put on your list.

      The best place for further information including trail maps is the Bicentennial Trail website. 

      Northern Rivers Rail Trail

      Coming soon... we hope! The proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail will span 128km from Casino to Murwillumbah, passing through Lismore, Byron Bay, Ocean Shores and Burringbar. 

      Once fully open, this trail will traverse through a World Heritage region, renowned for its beauty, food, music and arts, and the wonderful laid-back vibe of the northern NSW towns. 

      Trail History

      The train line running from Casino to Murwillumbah ceased operation in 2004. This used-to-be-busy iron highway once connected the town of Casino to the Brisbane main line and the rest of the eastern towns. The first section started operating in 1894 and was connected to Sydney in 1932.

      The operation ceased when feasibility studies concluded that the rail infrastructure had significantly deteriorated and would cost more than $900 million to restore, which stakeholders could not justify spending.

      However, the rising popularity of the rail trail movement and its ability to breathe new life into the local communities that trails pass through provided solid grounds to propose that the corridor be developed for modern multi-use recreation. In 2013 the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Association was formed and is the driving force behind bringing the proposal to life. 

      Proposed Stages

      • Stage 1 (24km)

      The Tweed Valley Rail Trail will run from the Condong to Crabbes Creek. This stage is now fully funded by the State and Federal Governments. Construction and development will start in Spring 2021 and the trail is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

      • Stage 2 (13.5km)

      The Casino to Bentley Rail Trail is also funded by the Federal Government for more than $7 million. The masterplan’s draft was completed last December 2020, and the final design was completed February 2021.

      • Stage 3 (37km)

      This section that runs from Bentley to Booyong, while still unnamed, is included in the NRRT council’s top 5 projects to apply for funding.

      • Stage 4

      The Byron Line is a multi-modal section that plans to accommodate both bike trails and a functioning train line. This project is still seeking final funding.

      Support the Northern Rivers Rail Trail

      Restoring a disused rail corridor and creating a safe, enjoyable means of transport for the local community while providing a fantastic destination for outdoor lovers to enjoy can only be a good thing.

      If you agree check out the petition for the full development of the NRRT and show your support here.

      Local Suggestions for Northern Rivers

      Kinscliffe beachside cycle path | Electric Bikes Brisbane

      If you are impatient to explore the beautiful Northern Rivers region and can't wait for the Rail Trail to be developed then here are two route suggestions kindly provided by friends of EBB.

      Other Rail Trail Rides in NSW

      If you are looking for something shorter here are some other notable rail trail rides that will take you to and through some picturesque countryside and towns. Great options for day and overnight rides. 

      Tumbarumba to Rosewood (Riverina Highlands) Rail Trail

      Start/End: Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba

      Length: 21km

      Surface: Sealed

      Terrain: Flat to Slight Incline

      Best Seasons: Spring, Summer and Autumn

      Things to See:

      • Tumbarumba Visitor Information Centre and Museum
      • Hume and Hovell Track
      • Pioneer Women's Hut Museum

         

        Wolgan Valley Rail Trail

        Start/End: Glow Worm Tunnel to Newnes

        Length: 11km

        Surface: Compacted Earth

        Terrain: Steep

        Notes:

        • Former Private Railway
        • Will Ascend to 1200m by the Clarence Station
        • Will Drop to 530m in Newness
        • Will Pass Through Tunnel Full of Glow Worms

          Electric Bikes for Rail Trails and Tours

          Most electric bikes can take on the shorter trails. But if you want to maximise your efficiency, comfort and overall experience, as well as the capacity for hauling luggage, we have an excellent selection of Adventure and Touring bikes to choose from.

          You may also check out the EBB Owners Club for upcoming group rides or to connect with people who share the same passion for electric bike touring.

          And if you love your cycle touring also have a look at our articles on rides in other states: 




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