In my previous post I stated that I was going to try and ride as much as I could of the Great Southern Rail Trail yesterday and today. Today I fulfilled that statement. I rode the Foster – Toora section, and the Buffalo – Koonwarra section. This means the only section of the GSRT that I didn’t ride was the Leongatha – Koonwarra section.
GSRT: Foster – Toora
This section of the GSRT can be described as flat(ish) and straight(ish). Most of the time the trail has trees along side it, and the views were somewhat limited as a result. I knew that Wilsons Promontory lurked over to the south, and that there were hills to the north, but most of the time I could only catch glimpses through the trees. Not that I am complaining! I have ridden all kinds of trails that have varying amounts of trees in hot weather and trees along the side of trails make a huge difference to the comfort level when riding them.
I started the ride fairly early, partly because I wanted to ride to Toora before I had to vacate the tent site at the caravan park, and partly because I was already awake and had breakfast so why not. It was a fairly crisp morning, around 14 degrees C or maybe less, when I started and I felt the coolness of the air for the whole ride to Toora and back. Toora is a small town with an interesting history. In the past it has had a tin mine, timber mills, a 700 feet long jetty, cheese factory, and dairy farming. Today dairy farming seems to be the main industry.
GSRT: Buffalo – Koonwarra (almost)
This section of the GSRT has been described as ‘undulating’, and it certainly was. It didn’t have the long steep climbs like the Foster – Buffalo section, but it still had some fairly long grades, but not as steep. Generally a much easier ride, although by the time I was within 5km of Buffalo on the way back to the car my legs were starting to feel fatigued. Maybe it wasn’t so much today’s rides as the accumulation of fatigue since Monday!
The biggest town on this section of the trail is Meeniyan. But the real highlight was the bridges that cross the Tarwin River between Meeniyan and Koonwarra. The old railway trestle bridge is looking a bit dilapidated, but there is a new trail bridge which is very well engineered.
Between the Tarwin River bridges and the end of the trail there was a rather large clearing which I am guessing was probably the site of a station at some point in the past as it had that look about it, and even some remnants of what looked like station platform, but I couldn’t be entirely sure. I couldn’t work out whether the clearing would have been the Koonwarra station (it seemed a bit far away to be the station for that location) or not. It could have been a station or platform and freight loading area not connected to a town. Between Stoney Creek and Buffalo there is such a platform, which is really out in the middle of no-where not even any houses nearby and seemingly no road or track to get to it. At least the one between Tarwin River and Koonwarra has really good access – it was not far from the main highway.
And then, 3km from Koonwarra, the trail abruptly ends. And trail users are directed up to the highway for the last 3km into Koonwarra. From Meeniyan to the end of the trail at this location I could hear the constant movement of traffic, and I really didn’t like the idea of venturing out on the South Gippsland Highway. So I turned around and headed back towards Buffalo and the car. Here are some pics of the ride.
Along the GSRT over the last 2 days I have seen a variety of animals: a number of foxes, a cat which nearly jumped out of it’s skin when it realised I was behind it, some black cockatoos (the ones with white tips on the underside of the wings), white cockatoos, king parrots, some yellow green and purple parrots (not sure what they are called), a bird of prey hovering over it’s breakfast, kangaroos and wallabies, and evidence of wombats. The weather has been drizzly rain, strong winds, some sunny patches and blue skies, cold mornings, warm afternoons – a very mixed bag. Which has all made for a very interesting couple of days. For now, that’s all folks!
For GPS data for todays rides, try these: