Great Victorian Rail Trail.

MITCHELL, Murrindindi and Mansfield councils will join to deliver the Great Victorian Rail Trail Strategic Development Plan – a plan for Australia’s longest continuous rail trail.

The 134-kilometre rail trail follows an old railway line from Tallarook to Mansfield with a spur line to Alexandra.

The plan will aim to ensure the trail reaches its full potential by identifying actions and initiatives to help improve the experience for visitors and residents of the region.

It hopes to foster engagement and collaboration by communities and businesses, drive visitation and establish the rail trail as a ‘must-see’ tourism experience for the region.

Mitchell Shire Mayor David Lowe said the trail was one of the ‘premier attractions’ for the shire.

“Our section of the trail stretches between Tallarook and Trawool alongside the picturesque Goulburn River – a real treat for all adventurers,” he said.

“We’ll play our part in enhancing and invigorating the trail. It is a great destination for families and is truly one of our most treasured gems.

“We’re working in partnership with Murrindindi Shire and Mansfield Shire to provide a great visitor experience and highlight the wonders of our three shires.

“The trail continues to grow in popularity – and why wouldn’t it? It has been a wonderful destination for people opting to do their essential exercise on the trail or getting out into the fresh air in these uncertain times.

“Through our COVID-19 pandemic relief package, we’ve allocated $20,000 to improve signage so the visitor, rider, walker or cycling experience will be improved.”

Murrindindi Mayor Leigh Dunscombe said it was a fantastic opportunity to further improve the rail trail and bolster its role as a key tourism attraction.

“Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the rail trail is easily accessible, varied and unique,” he said.

“It offers a wonderful experience for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the great outdoors in our beautiful countryside, and explore the towns and villages along the way.”

Cr Dundscombe said the plan included a three-year action plan, comprising 18 individual projects.

“One of the areas the plan looks at is how we engage local businesses that are associated with the GVRT, including those in the key trail towns of Yea, Molesworth, Alexandra and Yarck,” he said.

“There is a great opportunity to enhance and diversify the visitor experience on the trail, including the addition of accommodation and food and beverage options along the way.

“We’re excited to work with alongside Mitchell and Mansfield Shire councils to support this initiative and build visitation in our region.

“The plan provides us with clear direction and actions, to help our shire capitalise on opportunities for business and economic growth.”