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The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail (GPRT) extends 67km from Traralgon to Stratford and passes through Toongabbie. Currently, the trail is not fully completed; however, significant funding of approx $800,000 is guaranteed. Work is currently underway on the first stage of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail upgrade after the State Government announced funding for project (17th October 2012). The amount of $200,000 for the project, will complete 14 kilometers of a shared-used section of the trail from Glengarry to Cowwarr. This work is expected to be completed by April 2013. The next stage which would be from Glengarry to Traralgon would include completion of the bridges at the Traralgon end.

 

It is hoped that the trail will be fully completed in 3 years.

Further information on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail can be found at: http://www.gippslandplainsrailtrail.com.au/

and click here for other rail trail information from Rail Trails Australia

 

From the Stratford end, the GPRT is fully completed through to Heyfield with a distance of approx. 40km round trip.

 

The GPRT rail head is both at Traralgon and Stratford and the trail completion will also support the all important and established 94km East Gippsland Rail Trail from Bairnsdale to Orbost for this trail railhead also sits on the same Gippsland V/Line train route.

#The GPRT is also in close proximity to local airstrips at Traralgon and Sale.

The trail passes through pristine farming land  and high quality dairy country offering sweeping views of the Great Dividing Range to the west and north and is unique as visitors can connect to and travel by train to either end of the trail. 

When finished, the trail will be perfect for weekend short breaks with most townships along its 67km route offering accommodation, but all offering hot food, visitor services and amenities. 

·        GPRT is well placed to Tarra Bulga and Baw Baw National Parks and is central to Gippsland Lakes , East Gippsland, Alpine National Park and Wilson’s Promontory to tap into the various nature based and adventure activities across Gippsland # see ‘Inspiring Gippsland Walks’

·        There already exists significant attractions to Latrobe Valley’s east with north and south of historical and cultural significance

·        The all important Walhalla & Mountain Rivers region is 30 minutes north of the Latrobe Valley with Toongabbie being the historic supply town en route of the gold fields.

·        Full amenities exist in all township including shelter, seating & water, food outlets and/or cafes, bakeries, counter meals & taverns.

·        Glengarry, Toongabbie and Cowwarr are yet to establish accommodation. 

#The GPRT covers many local sectors of tourism that promote health and wellbeing including nature based and ecotourism, adventure tourism, cultural, arts, heritage, touring, food and wine.

The trail will support nature based eco-tourism: 

·        of walking, cycling and horse riding where you can experience wetlands, unique nature reserves, waterways, ecosystems and farm stays with WWOOFERS(Willing Workers on Organic Farms) 

Members of the W.W.O.O.F organization aim to foster sustainable development where they host “WWOOFers” from all over the world.

 

There are many hosts further east of the GPRT where travellers come from all over the world.

Off trail adventures experiences for GPRT will be:

·        Mountain biking (Glengarry, Toongabbie, Heyfield)

·          4-wheel drives & visitation (Walhalla)

·        Horse trail riding (Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Heyfield)

·        Kayaking / canoeing (Thompson River, Toongabbie/Cowwarr)

·        Snow skiing, cross country and touring (via Tyers)

·        Glenmaggie Weir water sports (Heyfield, Tinamba)

·        Potential also for trail biking and rally driving as event standard locations available out of Tinamba

Off-trail adventures will be created utilising the hills to the west of Glengarry - Rawson, Baw Baw and Walhalla through to Heyfield with adventures exiting the trail on route. These include extreme mountain biking from Glengarry, Toongabbie and Blores Hill at Heyfield, four wheel driving via Bruntons Bridge or tourist drives to Walhalla, mountain horse riding for Toongabbie through to Heyfield, water sports for Thomson River into Cowwarr Weir and Glenmaggie Weir out of Heyfield.

Historically

Every township has significant historical features and buildings with the focus on museums, heritage listed buildings, vintage displays (Maffra cars), interpretative signage, gold–era heritage and intact archives.

 

The history is diverse, considerable and important with most towns set up to accommodate tourist interest and able to benefit from increased exposure

#Rail trail use through the townships of Toongabbie and Cowwarr would also support the historic township of Walhalla which is %100 dependent on tourism as off-trail adventure tourism would feed off these points.

Culturally

Cowwarr, Maffra and Stratford are the major points of interest with arts facilities, galleries and annual festivals including local arts and crafts.

 

Other townships are presently accessing grant funding for trail sculptures of township significance to further highlight the trail experience.

Food/Wine

Cellar doors are located at Glengarry, Heyfield and Stratford.

Gourmet pub at Tinamba and Cowwarr.

The Macalister agriculture area (Maffra) also has excellent local produce that have good wines and local organic produce and gourmet food.

Further information on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail can be found at: http://www.gippslandplainsrailtrail.com.au/