Premiere wine destination Yarra is also the gateway to one of the best cycling experiences in the world
The Yarra Valley is a renowned wine region located on the outskirts of Melbourne, boasting pristine natural beauty and vast, picturesque vineyards, rolling hills and a spectacular countryside. The locale of the region and its endorsed reputation as one of the finest wine producers around, along with inventive cuisine, has made it a mecca for wine aficionados and gourmands the world over.
But great-tasting wines and indulgent meals aren’t the only pull factors of Yarra Valley. For starters, it’s fairly easy to get to – just hop on board a flight bound for Melbourne, get into a car and within 45 minutes you’ll be transported into the very heart of beautiful wine country. Secondly, the region has a little something on offer for everyone, from adventure seekers, holidaymakers, honeymooners as well as family vacationers.
With a number of great inns and sophisticated restaurants, many of which are part of the wineries themselves, the valley stands as an ideal getaway destination that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. It’s also the doorway to Victoria’s best kept secret—King Valley.
Located an hour’s drive up north from the Yarra, King Valley is largely made up of flat, open countryside, which sprawl out to approaching foothills of the Victoria Alps. The valley itself stretches from the city of Wangarratta in the West to the town of Bright in the East.
In between all of this, the area is dotted with historical towns like Myrtleford and Yakkandanda, making it an ideal hunting ground for lovers of antiquities. Due to its geographical location, the weather in King Valley offers a Mediterranean feel all-year round, setting it up as the perfect place to explore at a leisurely pace like on a bicycle.
Here you can find the Rail Trail, a cycling trail built on an abandoned V-Line rural train line. Due to the track’s former function, the cycling trail offers flat runs with very moderate gradients perfect for cyclists of all fitness levels. The trail not only provides a relaxing, snail’s pace tour of King Valley and its surroundings but also experiences that visitors would have overlooked if they opted to explore the area via coach or tour bus.
The Rail Trail snakes its way across 100km through the former V-Line rural train service taking you from Wangarratta to Bright. Along the way you have the option of exploring wineries, restaurants, bakeries, cafes and artisanal shops selling homemade mustard, cheeses and chocolates, at your leisure. In short, you cycle-eat-cycle-drink repetition helps work off the calories in guilt-free fashion as you travel from one town to the next.
The entire cycling journey can be covered over two to four days. Most would suggest stretching the journey out to at least three and spend each of the nights there at one of the many quaint boutique B&Bs operating in the area. Some operators like High Country Bike Adventures even provide the option for your baggage to be delivered at the chosen respective stopovers for fuss-free convenience.
The Rail Trail ends in Bright, popular for summertime paragliding and winter skiing in Falls Creek. Depending on the season you hit the cycle trail, you’ve got yourself set up for an eye-opening adventure.