Yarra Valley Trail
A 40+ kilometre long trail that will link Lilydale, Yarra Glen, Healesville and join into the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail.
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About the project
Work is currently underway to build more than 40 kilometres of trail, connecting Lilydale with Yarra Glen and Healesville, then across to the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, creating a valley-wide loop.
The project will help Yarra Ranges become the number one tourist destination in Victoria, and our community will be able to explore and experience their own region in a variety of different ways.
The first stage of the Yarra Valley Trail running from Lilydale to Yarra Glen will be constructed in two parts. The section of the trail from Lilydale to Yering has relatively few bridges or other complexities. It will commence construction in early 2019 and is expected to be completed and opened for public use before the end of the year.
From Yering to Yarra Glen the trail will require the reconstruction of a number of bridges including a bridge over the Yarra River. This portion of the trail requires more approvals and is more complex to construct. This section of the trail is expected to commence construction in early 2020 and be opened by March 2022.
Time frames for stages 2 and 3 of the project are not yet available, and are subject to additional design and project funding.
The Yarra Valley Trail is being planned in three stages each linking towns and tourism products:
- Stage 1 – Lilydale to Yarra Glen
This stage of the trail will have a heritage focus, it will follow the former railway alignment out of Lilydale, through Coldstream and Yering farmland to the Yarra River floodplain. The trail passes over historic timber railway bridges before crossing the Yarra River and arriving at the recently-restored Yarra Glen Station (where Yarra Valley Railway will soon be running steam train services).
- Stage 2 – Yarra Glen to Healesvill
This stage of the trail will have a food and culture focus, it will run between two popular food and beverage destinations (Yarra Glen and Healesville), passing a number of wineries and the renowned Tarrawarra Museum of Art.
- Stage 3 – Healesville to the Lilydale Warburton Rail Trail near Woori Yallock
This stage of the trail will have a strong focus upon nature. While the final alignment is still to be resolved, preliminary planning includes the trail passing Healesville Sanctuary and running along the Yarra River corridor where it meets the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail. Users will have the option of returning to Lilydale, or heading toward the forested hills of Warburton.
The Yarra Valley Trail will support a range of environmental benefits, including:
- enabling a stronger community connection with the environment and promoting increased involvement in volunteer and conservation programs
- re-vegetation and land rehabilitation along the edges of the trail as a part of the trail construction.
The Yarra Valley Trail project will draw new visitors to the Yarra Valley as well as increasing the length of stay by offering a new visitor activity.
It is estimated to attract 210,000 users annually, generate $16.3 million in economic spend and create 120 new jobs.
The new trail will complement the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, making the Yarra Valley a top cycling destination.
It will add value to and connect major tourist destinations (such as food and wine in the Yarra Valley and Healesville Sanctuary Zoo) and local businesses.
Have a look at what’s been happening with the Yarra Valley Trail project.
Regional Growth Funding boost for Warburton MTB Destination and Yarra Valley Trail Yarra Ranges Council has welcomed the recent news of [...]
Yarra Valley Trail community info sessions and works starting soon! Community information sessions Join us at one of the following community [...]
Frequently asked questions
The trail alignment will require some road crossings. The number of road crossings will be minimised, and will be designed with specialist traffic engineering input to ensure that they are safe.
Planning for the trail has involved working with Yarra Valley Railway, including agreement regarding the sharing of facilities at the Yarra Glen Station and keeping the option open for a tourist railway between Yarra Glen and Lilydale in the future.
The existing train tracks between Lilydale and Yarra Glen are in poor condition and will be removed to accommodate the trail. Extensive bridge and rail construction works will be required to accommodate any future rail provision along this corridor.
The project planning has been undertaken with input from the traditional owners.
The rail corridor includes some existing wooden bridges, although a number have been lost to fire and those remaining are not in a safe and usable condition.
The design proposed for these bridges includes retaining as much of the existing structure of these bridges as possible, and reinforcing them to make them safe for trail use.
Stage 1 is bordered by a number of agricultural and other uses, and there is some use of the rail corridor associated with those uses (including crossing points and grazing).
These uses are believed to be largely compatible with the trail given appropriate fencing and gates. Similar situations exist along the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail and have been successfully managed.
Equestrian use will not be able to be catered for along the full trail alignment as the stage 1 rail corridor between Lilydale and Yarra Glen includes sections of relatively narrow elevated embankments and long elevated structures.
Equestrian access will be possible from Lilydale to Yering and in future stages where it is feasible.
The Yarra Valley Trail is proposed to be predominantly a hard compacted gravel or ‘toppings’ surface. This surface type has been selected based upon a range of factors including continuing the experience provided by the very popular Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, contribution to a rural/natural character, construction cost, and best catering to a wide range of users.
Like the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, the trail surface will be maintained to a level that allows use by most kinds of bicycles and riders at most skill levels. Because stage one of the trail follows a former railway alignment, there are no steep hills, sharp corners or other hazards.
The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination and Yarra Valley Trail are expected to bring around 432,000 visitors annually to the Yarra Ranges. This consists of 384,000 day visitors and 48,000 night visitors.
This equates to approximately $49 million in economic spend within the region annually, and presents a significant opportunity for businesses to increase their customer base and profits.
Residents that have the trail directly adjacent to their property will have the opportunity to assist Council in identifying solutions to mitigate concerns.
Possible solutions, for example could include erecting site screens and/or fencing.
The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination and Yarra Valley Trail are being developed in a significant natural and cultural environment in the Yarra Ranges. It is a high priority of the project partners’ that the environmental integrity of the surrounding areas be protected and managed. To do this we:
- have convened an expert panel to offer advice and direction to minimise impacts to threatened species and vulnerable and sensitive ecological areas
- will develop a high quality, leading edge trail design to be established in an environmentally and culturally sensitive manner, using sensitive construction techniques
- are involving many organisations to offer whole of government thinking, with Council working in partnership with Parks Victoria, Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, Melbourne Water and Zoos Victoria
- will adapt and move the trail alignment during construction within a 20 metre wide design corridor to avoid elements such as trees and sensitive ecological areas and preserve the environmental integrity
The trails will allow greater community access to engage with the natural environment, and therefore learn about it and value it.
Along the trails will be innovative education and interpretation signage and opportunities that support environmental and cultural awareness and advocacy.
Stage 1 is expected to cost $5 million.
Stage 2 is expected to cost $7.5 million.
Stage 3 is expected to cost $7.5 million.
Stage 1 of the project has received substantial state government funding, including $2.5 million through the 2018-19 State Government Growing Suburbs Fund.
Council will continue to seek funding opportunities from State and Federal Government and will also provide a contribution.
The Yarra Valley Trail will be delivered in stages over multiple years.
Stage 1 Lilydale to Yarra Glen
Stage 2 Yarra Glen to Healesville
Stage 3 Healesville to Seville East or Woori Yallock.
The Yarra Valley Trail will:
- provide strong physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits for the Yarra Ranges and Victorian community
- bring new visitors to the region, as well as increase the length of stay by offering a new visitor activity
- enable a stronger community connection with the environment and promote increased involvement in volunteer programs such as environmental groups
- support improved social, health and wellbeing outcomes to those individuals and families experiencing disadvantage by offering an accessible form of active recreation and connection to nature
- revitalise the Valley, encouraging new business, attracting visitors and tourism activity, directly stimulating the local economy and creating local jobs for locals.
Construction will commence on the first stage of the trail in early 2019, starting from Lilydale and progressing toward Yarra Glen.
The intention is for the first stage to be opened progressively, with some sections of the trail to be opened to the public in mid 2019.
The trails will be built by a professional trail builder that will be engaged by Council through a procurement process.
It is proposed to establish an Incorporated Association to manage the trails. This means all profits are put back into the association’s activities.
The association will manage the operation, maintenance, volunteers, events and marketing of the trails network, including both the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination and the Yarra Valley Trail.
Yarra Ranges Shire Council
P.O. Box 105, Anderson Street
Lilydale, VIC 3140
T : 1300 368 333