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No Steep Hills Or Hairpin Turns Here!

Edge shaped like mountain horizon
Photo related to: No Steep Hills Or Hairpin Turns Here!

By Tiff Watson

There’s a romance to riding or running along an old railway trail, your imagination conjures up stories of a bygone era where workers headed out to the timber mines, families were reunited, and lifelong friendships were made in the carriages to and from each destination. 

These days West Aussies love nothing more than jumping in their car and heading off on a road trip! However, it hasn’t always been this way. In the 1940’s train travel was the fastest way to get around the state. Cars were a luxury, and railways were a lifeline for many regional towns. With 63 overnight services, and over 12 dedicated lines at its peak, the Western Australian Government Railways operated routes from Perth to Albany, and as far north as Meekatharra.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Watson

The Wadandi Track, Cowaramup – Forest Grove (just south of Witchcliffe)

Today, some of these lines have been converted into trails for walkers and cyclists to explore. The remanences of the bygone railway era mostly reclaimed by nature, except for a few old platforms, bridges, and crossings often standing tall next to the free-flowing Jarrah and Gum trees. This historic infrastructure shapes the flow and movement of the trail. A constant reminder of the vital connection the line once had to neighbouring communities.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Watson

The Wadandi Track, Cowaramup – Forest Grove (just south of Witchcliffe)

Travelling by train was - and still is - a great way to get off the beaten track and explore a new region or area. Old railway trails are no different, often connecting you to historical towns or places through beautiful unspoilt countryside. Usually wider than standard walking or biking trails, they offer gentle hills (as trains struggle on steep gradients) and smooth wide turns away from main roads and intersections, making them perfect for beginners or families.

Take your bike along one of the many old railway trails in WA and experience the history, nature, and connection for yourself.

Railway Resereves Heritage Trail, Perth Hills 


Wadandi Track | 31km |  Cowaramup – Forest Grove (just south of Witchcliffe)

This partially complete trail currently runs from Cowaramup to south of Witchcliffe. The trail takes you past the Cowaramup cows, over bridges and forests to Margaret River and past vinyards and farmland to the slightly abrupt end at Forest Grove.

Last year the The Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA) and Tourism WA announced plans to reinstate the whole Wadandi trail from Busselton Jetty to Flinders Bay. Completing the entire track will make this trial one of the longest, and most iconic railway trails in Australia!   

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Railway Reserves Heritage Trail – Perth Hills | 41km | Mundaring Sculpture Park (loop trail)

Railway Reserves Heritage Trail follows the route of the old Eastern Railway, a 41-kilometre loop entirely on railway formations. This extensive trail passes through the Perth hills, passing through Mundaring, Darlington and Parkerville. Finishing at the Parkerville Tavern with a pie and beverage is a great way to celebrate completing this iconic WA railway trail.

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Collie - Darkan Rail Trail | 61km | Buckingham - Dardadline

The Collie – Darkan rail trail retraces a section of the Collie-Narrogin Railway, starting 19km from the trail town of Collie and heading east towards the town of Darkan and beyond to Dardadine. This trail’s relatively gentle gradients features a series of renovated bridges over creeks, rivers and flood plains. Riders and trail users will also spot several well-preserved historic railway stations at Bowelling and Darkan.

The original construction of the railway took four years to complete, with the line in full operation by 1908. The line was primary used to transport timber, farm produce, livestock and grain, and also provided a passenger service. Trail users can enjoy the wildflower blooms in spring and an overnight camping spot at Bowelling Station.

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