Time: 2hr 30mins
Known for their unique metal cow sculptures and historic old buildings, the beautiful town of Cowwarr is where we begin the start of our trip along the rail trail. Make sure you stop in at Cowwarr Weir on your way, it is the perfect place for a cool off on a hot day and there are plenty of spots for a picnic. Looking for somewhere to eat? Amarti Cafe has you covered for a bite.
As you ride through the scenic Gippsland Plains you will come across the town of Heyfield, that sits on the banks of the magnificent Thomson River and is the gateway to the Alpine National Park. There are lots of great places to stop by and get a bite to eat, such as Cafe 3858 and Stag & Doe Café serving a range of great food to refuel you for your bike ride ahead.
Some must-see highlights are the picturesque Wetlands. Filled with an abundance of birdlife, it is the perfect place to sit or cycle around. If you are looking for something to do with the kids, then Apex Park is a great place to burn off some energy! If you are up for a detour, Lake Glenmaggie is a 30 min ride off the rail trail. The Timber Workers Memorial is also a lovely stopover. An existing commemorative migrant walk and community memorial rose garden is connected to the rail trail, making it a good stop to visit before you take off on the next part of your adventure.
Ride amongst the beautiful oak trees as you make your way to the town of Tinamba. If you are looking for a place to eat, then the Tinamba Hotel is a must-visit with its award-winning dining! They have a great range of food made from locally sourced ingredients and if you are feeling fancy you can try a glass of their amazing selection of wines from local vineyards around the Gippsland region.
Looking for a quick stop on your way, then Tinamba General store has everything you need to refill your backpack. Stop by for a coffee, cool drink or some snacks before you jump back on the trail.
Next stop on your trip is the town of Maffra. This town is full of old-world charm and has a great sense of community spirit. Steeped in history and agriculture, Maffra is a major service centre for the surrounding farming district known for its dairy, agricultural, pastoral, irrigation and vegetable industries.
There are so many amazing things to see and do when you are in Maffra. If you like cars and vehicles, then make sure you take a stop at the Maffra Motor Museum. The Collection showcases an outstanding rotating display of interesting vehicles. Macalister River Regional Park Playground is a great place to visit for the whole family, with a playground and scenic walks around the park with bridges and walkways. The Bellbird Corner Riverside Reserve with walking tracks is also a local favourite where you can see amazing wildlife and plants.
If you are feeling peckish, Maffra has many cafes and restaurants to pick from, such as The Pickle Pot that serves fresh, organic, pesticide and allergy-free product, The Food Store Maffra which has a range of great options for breakfast and lunch, or a crowd favourite the Maffra Community Sports Club for a great lunch or dinner made from produce around the region.
The last stop on out trip is the charming village of Stratford which is set on the Avon River. On your way from Maffra to Stratford you will ride past the picturesque winery, The Vines on Avon. With spectacular views of the vineyard and exceptional food, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a glass of some of the region’s finest wines.
Just 3km south-east of Stratford is the scenic Knob Recreation Reserve, one of the many significant sites along the Bataluk Cultural Trail which follows the route of East Gippsland's Koorie people. The Arts Trail in Stratford is also a great way to explore the area interactive spaces, sculptures, songs and stories. For more information on the trail, you can visit the Segue Café to pick up a listening device to take with you on the trail to learn more.
Stop by the quirky and unique cafe inspired by Melbourne's laneway cafe culture, Badger & Hare, or try some of the region’s best wine and cheese at the WA-DE- LOCK Cellar Door to reward yourself after a big day of riding.