It is not hard to find some really great information about the Tumbarumba Rail Trail. The Snowy Valleys council hosts a Rail Trail page including a downloadable guide, and there are some other great resources and videos on the unofficial website run by volunteers (including those who drove the establishment of the trail).
The trail has, by all reports, been a great success. I can see why – and it is not just because it offers some lovely scenery. There are some things about this trail that make it particularly excellent, and in CyclingGravel’s view offer examples of how to make truly outstanding cycling tourism infrastructure. I hope you make the trip and enjoy it as much as I did.
Wide sealed path
Cycling can and should be a social activity. Riding with someone else and chatting along the journey is awesome, and having a trail that is wide and safe enough to cater for this is not to be taken for granted. It is clear, as well, that the surface has been well prepared and laid to a quality that leaves most city-based cycle paths to shame. A road bike is just as happy travelling this route as the most sedate tourer.
All types of cyclists catered for
Want a 45km return trip in well under 2 hours for your morning exercise? No problem – you can ride fast roadie-style! Prefer to take your cycling a bit more leisurely? There is plenty to see. And not really sure if you’ll make it all the way and back? There are plenty of places to stop and take a break, including toilet facilities at each end and the middle. Not to mention the cafes available in Rosewood or Tumbarumba – whichever is your half-way point. Lovely.
High quality trail features
It is expensive to update a rail corridor to a rail trail if you are to keep many of the features of the railway. Previously wooden or no longer appropriate river and road crossings need to be replaced or upgraded, farm gates and crossings need a solution, and other changes may have occurred since the railway was decommissioned – particularly road crossings. My experience of many trails is that inexpensive solutions tend to be used – for example a narrow path down over a river crossing to avoid a new long bridge, gates to open and close, damage or debris from farm traffic, and poorly managed road crossings.
The funders of Tumbarumba to Rosewood have made some significant investment to “do the trail properly”. There are bike-friendly cattle grids on the path – allowing a happy co-existence of farm and trail traffic. Many bridges and tunnels have been properly replaced or retained. And where there is a road crossing – it is either unavoidable or nicely sealed beyond the path to minimise mud and dirt getting onto the trail. The only Australian-based trail that I have been on that goes close to this standard is Murray to Mountains. It really is excellent.
Details of this ride
Hints and tips
- There is a sign-posted diversion to “snow views” on Glenroy Hills Road. This gravel road was in excellent condition when we visited. No snow in summer, but can see how this would be spectacular on a clear winter day.
- It is very easy to visit this rail trail as a day trip (eg if you are based in a nearby location). We saw many people parking at the “trail heads” to do the ride.