Yarra Valley Trail
An immersive visitor experience that connects you with food, wine, culture and scenery of the Yarra Valley.
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About the project
The Yarra Valley Trail will be a game-changer for tourism in the Yarra Valley. Work is underway in building a network of trails, connecting Lilydale, Yarra Glen, and Healesville, with a vision to link up to the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail, creating a valley-wide loop.
Yarra Ranges Council has incorporated input from Wurundjeri on the planning, heritage, education, activation and management of the trail system. Wurundjeri see opportunities for education, interpretation and management.
The trail will provide outstanding infrastructure for the local community, increasing opportunities for walking and cycling, with improved safety and accessibility. Tourists will be able explore the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley and Yarra River.
Showcasing the Yarra Valley experience the trail with link to some of Melbourne’s finest wineries, art, culture, and iconic tourism places such as the Healesville Sanctuary.
The first stage of the Yarra Valley Trail, running along the rail corridor between Lilydale to Yarra Glen will be constructed in two parts, with two additional trail loops from Yarra Glen.
Stage 1A from Lilydale to Yering has been completed, opening to the public in February 2020. This section has few bridges or other complexities.
Stage 1B from Yering to Yarra Glen is more complex to construct. It requires reconstruction of several bridges, including one over the Yarra River. Construction of stage 1B is expected to commence in March 2022 and should be open to the public in December 2022.
Stage 2A Yarra Glen to Tarrawarra Road will be a 4.6km section of trail departing from the newly refurbished Yarra Glen Heritage Railway Station. It will be a shared trail running parallel to the railway line, offering connections to key tourism destinations ending at Tarrawarra Road.
Stage 2B Tarrawarra Road to Healesville will comprise extensive sections of boardwalk and bridges. The trail will wind through the scenic valley past local tourist attractions. This section offers an opportunity for connection to the Yarra River and views over the Yarra Valley Tourist train towards the historic railway tunnel.
Stage 3 Healesville to Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail is the final stage of the trail. Connection from Healesville to the popular Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail will complete the Yarra Valley Trail loop totalling over 80km of trail. The vision is to connect Healesville Sanctuary and Galeena Beek (Wurundjeri Cultural Centre).
Yarra Glen Loops and Connections is the latest stage of the trail. With Yarra Glen township at the heart, two trails are proposed (north and south loops). These circuits will link local businesses, increase tourism opportunities, whilst showcasing outstanding viewpoints and creating Yarra River crossings for nature lovers.
Coldstream Station Master Plan was adopted by Council on 12 October 2021. Council was successful in receiving grant funding through the Building Better Regions Fund (Federal Government) and the Growing Suburbs Fund (State Government).
The major component in this activation project is a ‘sealed’ pump track providing an activity space for young people in the area. The site will be a space where younger children, families and Yarra Valley Trail users can enjoy riding at a level suitable to their skill level and experience, and take advantage of the facilities at Coldstream Station.
Stage 1 of the Yarra Valley Trail follows the alignment of the railway line between Lilydale and Yarra Glen that operated for almost one hundred years until it closed in 1980.
It will be constructed in two phases ending at the recently restored Yarra Glen Railway Station, which will soon reopen, hosting steam train services run by Yarra Valley Railway tourist railway.
1a – 7.5 km – Lilydale to Yering
Stage 1a is complete opening to the public in February 2020. Since opening this trail sees an average of 300,000 yearly uses. The trail is used by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
This section of trail features a car park at Yering with equestrian access (horse float parking and tie up areas), as will other sections in future stages where feasible. Complimenting trail features include drinking fountain at Coldstream, picnic tables, seating at various points and a bird watching platform at the Yarra Valley Water sewerage ponds, home to a diverse number of bird species.
A path connection into Coldstream Township is near complete along Station Street, creating a safe connection for Coldstream residents to use the trail and visitors to access the town and businesses such as the Coldstream Brewery.
1b – 4.5 km – Yering to Yarra Glen
This section will feature reconstructed bridges, replacing heritage bridges destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday fires, and a new bridge crossing the Yarra River.
The newly refurbished bridges will keep the existing character in line with heritage guidelines.
There have been some delays due to site conditions and it is expected that construction will commence in March 2022 with completion in late 2022.
The second stage of the trail running between Yarra Glen and Healesville, will wind around the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley, linking the trail with some of Melbourne’s finest wineries, art and cultural experiences and iconic tourism products. This section of trail will also be delivered in two stages.
Stage 2a – Yarra Glen to Tarrawarra Road
A shared trail running parallel to the Yarra Valley Railway. Partnering with local Wurundjeri will offer opportunities to educate, explain and promote indigenous cultural values of the Yarra River.
Stage 2b –Tarrawarra Road to Healesville
This section of trail will feature connection to venues including Tarrawarra Estate and Tarrawarra Museum of Art. It will end at Healesville Railway Station.
The Yarra Valley Railway operates a heritage diesel rail motor from Healesville and will commence operating a tourist steam train service from Yarra Glen. The vision is to link to major tourism destinations such as Healesville Sanctuary.
Stage 3 will connect Healesville back to the popular Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail, completing a Valley wide loop.
Stage 3 – 14 to 18 km – Healesville to Woori Yallock, Healesville to Seville
Several options are available linking Healesville back to the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail. These include a route following the Yarra River, and/or an alignment along the Coranderrk Aqueduct. The aqueduct will be a more challenging route, due to topography and elevation, but both will offer unique experiences.
Stage 3 will offer opportunities for users to experience natural environments, linking them to nature-based attractions such as Healesville Sanctuary and Warramate Hills Reserve and a connection to Galeena Beek (Wurundjeri Cultural Centre).
The cost for stage 2 and 3 is still to be determined. Council will continue to seek funding opportunities from State and Federal Government and provide a contribution.
Coldstream Station is located just west of the town of Coldstream. The station site is a large (2.7 hectare) site, located 600 metres from Maroondah Highway in Station Street, Coldstream, adjacent to Stage 1a trail. With the recently completed shared use path within Station Street, the site is directly connected to the Coldstream residential area.
The site is a former railway station on the Lilydale to Healesville line. The railway played an important role in the life of Coldstream for over 100 years until the line was permanently closed. The site retains remnants of former railway use including station platform and railway tracks.
The site currently has a small carpark with solar lighting, picnic tables, seating, interpretative signage and a drinking fountain.
Further activation components of the site include a ‘sealed’ pump track, public toilet, shelter, picnic facilities, informal walking trails, lawn area, revegetation areas and car parking. The major component of the activation, requiring almost 50% of the project budget will be the pump track.
A pump track is a great space for learning basic skills for beginners on BMX and mountain bike, as the ups and downs make you deal with the gravity and how your bodyweight influences your speed and momentum according to the features of the track.
Traditionally pump tracks were designed in the form of dirt trails, a sealed pump track (hard surface) allows for use from a variety of users including bikes, scooters, skateboards and adaptive mountain biking.
The project has received significant State and Federal Government funding, including:
- $539,680 from the Growing Suburbs Fund (State Government); and
- $539,680 from the Building Better Regions Fund (Federal Government).
The Yarra Valley Trail passes through Yarra Glen Township. Two additional trail circuits are proposed, enabling trail users’ convenient access to destinations to the north and south of the town, including links to some of the best local produce of the Yarra Valley.
The loop circuits are designed to encourage tourism and spending in the region as well as providing the local community with sustainable transport opportunities.
Yarra Glen North Loop – 13km
An offshoot from Yarra Valley Trail, located to the north and east of the Yarra Glen Township. The proposed alignment uses Steels Creek Trail, a Melbourne Water pipeline and road reserves.
Yarra Glen South Loop – 10km
A detour from Yarra Valley Trail in Yering connecting back in Tarrawarra. Combined with a section of Yarra Valley Trail between Yering and Tarrawarra this will create an 18km return circuit from Yarra Glen Township.
Yarra Glen North Loop has been funded through the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund. The total funding received through the stimulus program is $3.35 million.
The Trail will support a range of environmental benefits, including:
- Enable stronger community connection with the environment, promoting increased involvement in volunteer and conservation programs.
- Re-vegetation and land rehabilitation along edges of the trail as a part of construction.
- Engagement of the Narrap Team (Wurundjeri) in Natural Resource Management.
- Providing Sustainable Transport options keeping everyone active and moving (Liveable Climate Plan 2020-2030).
Incorporate environmentally sensitive design, to reduce and mitigate environmental impacts.
A detailed Flora and Fauna Assessment has been undertaken for stage 1 and will be undertaken at further stages as required.
During construction native vegetation zones and large trees will be fenced off and protected.
Weed management and substantial revegetation works will be undertaken.
The trail will draw new visitors to the Yarra Valley, increasing length of stay by offering a new visitor activity, creating sustainable tourism options. The trail continues to be an exciting development that has potential to be one of the great rail trails in Australia.
Linking communities in the beautiful Yarra Valley and providing access to some of the world class food, beverages and other experiences on offer. The trail network will complement the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, making the Yarra Valley a top cycling destination.
The economic impacts will be derived from spending by users/visitors to the region and valuation of the health system benefits of uses engaged in active exercise through cycling and walking. The users/visitors from outside the region will generate significant expenditure covering food, beverage, accommodation, recreation and other services. This translates to an increase in local and regional jobs the in the sectors and a significant boost to regional income.
It is estimated to attract 370,000 users annually, generate $33.5 million in economic spend, create 161 new jobs and an estimated health benefit for local/regional users at $46.6 million over 10 years.
Connected and Healthy Communities – will connect local townships providing convenient, easy access to increase walking and cycling opportunities, contributing to a healthier and more active community.
Sustainable Transport – Provide safe off-road, shared-use path for riding, walking and running, minimising use of the high-speed roads for active transport and recreation.
Align with Council Plans – The benefits align with Council’s health and wellbeing strategy, healthy and active ageing plan 2019-2023, and soon to be adopted Safer, Stronger, Together – 2021-2025 Council Plan | Shaping Yarra Ranges.
Have a look at what’s been happening with the Yarra Valley Trail project.
New Yarra Valley Trail car park now open at Yering The newest car park for Yarra Valley Trail access is now [...]
Frequently asked questions
The Yarra Valley Trail Project will be delivered by local company Kent Environmental and Vegetation Management.
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.
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.
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 will be made of stabilized Castella toppings, which have a 3% mix of cement to act an adhesive.
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.
Landholders and property owners
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.
Residents that have the trail directly adjacent to their property will have the opportunity to assist Council in identifying solutions to mitigate concerns.
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 overnight visitors.
This equates to approximately $48 million in economic spend within the region annually, and presents a significant opportunity for businesses to increase their customer base and profits.
The trails would provide new opportunities for people to engage with the natural environment, learn about it and develop greater appreciation for it. Education and interpretation signage along the trails are proposed to support environmental and cultural awareness among the community.
The trails will also offer a great resource for the delivery of school-based outdoor education programs. Yarra Ranges Council has been working with the education sector to ensure the project meets these needs.
The Yarra Valley Trail will:
- provide off-road walking and cycling routes that connect towns and communities, providing safe and convenient active transport options for residents
- 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.
Yarra Ranges Shire Council
P.O. Box 105, Anderson Street
Lilydale, VIC 3140
T : 1300 368 333