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Saturday, December 27, 2008

East Gippsland Rail Trail

The East Gippsland Rail Trail starts at Howitt Park on the east bank of the Mitchell River at Bairnsdale, past farmland for 10 km to Nicholson (sealed surface) with its spectacular bridge over the river. Then 22 km on to Bruthen and across the Tambo River, up into the Colquhoun Forest en route to Nowa Nowa and Lake Tyers at the 59 km mark. The section east from Nowa Nowa opened on 28 January 2006 completing the trail to its the final destination at Orbost on the iconic Snowy River. This completes a nearly 100 km rail trail.

The Trail follows the alignment of the former Bairnsdale to Orbost railway, which opened in 1916 and was decommissioned in 1988.

On December 25, 2008, with my brother, I visited the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge, on the Trail, near the town of Nowa Nowa - this is certainly a huge structure, about 370 km east of Melbourne! It was built in 1916 from locally sourced red ironbark and grey box timber, and the last train over it was in 1988. It is the largest standing bridge of its kind anywhere in Victoria.

Car access to the Bridge is via a dusty 3 km unsealed road which starts on the Prince's Highway, signposted, and passes through the interesting Colquoun State Forest.

An information board at the car park gives details, with historical photos, about how the Bridge was constructed. A viewing point has been constructed, reached via a short walking track. Access on to the bridge is not permitted - short sections of the original iron rails remain.

Please see the Photo Album of our trip - I've included some images in it taken at nearby Lake Tyers, the Colquhoun State Forest, and the Deptford State Forest (Clifton Creek - north of Bairnsdale) for general information.

Information about the Trail is available at

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