By Peter Douglas
Blessed with some of the most beautiful views in Victoria, what better way to view the Yarra Ranges than through trekking the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trial.
Walking, cycling and horse-riding are all encouraged, so there is no excuse not to get out there and explore the iconic 40km trail.
Although comprising many shorter sections, the trail essentially follows the path of the historic railway line through the Yarra Valley, with the start-point located behind Lilydale Railway Station and finish-point at the stunning township of Warburton.
In addition to the beautiful mountain scenery and inspiring bushland, some of the high points include an old rail turntable, tunnels and many restored bridges.
The rail trail is ideal for any fitness level and makes for a great family day out.
To make this much-loved tourist destination even more family friendly, Yarra Ranges Council has recently completed the installation of new seating and historical signage.
More than 30 bench and picnic seats have been installed, along with stencilling and line-marking to improve safety.
Also, the council, in collaboration with the Mount Evelyn History Group, has developed first-aid post signage which shares the story of railway staff who travelled by rail to the area – from around the state – to be trained in first-aid.
Mount Evelyn History Group President Paula Herlihy said the historical sheds at the site were used to stage the Victorian Railway first-aid competitions from 1910s to 1990s.
“The site was donated to the Victorian Railways Commissioners by Blanche Mitchell, the daughter-in-law of David Mitchell,” she said.
“David Mitchell was the father of Dame Nellie Melba.
“Mr Mitchell owned the Cave Hill Quarries and built the Royal Exhibition Building, Menzies Hotel and Scots Church.”
Walking options along the trail include:
* Lilydale to Mount Evelyn (6.9km);
* Mount Evelyn to Wandin (5.6km);
* Wandin to Seville (4.1km);
* Seville to Killara (3.6km);
* Killara to Woori Yallock (4.4km);
* Woori Yallock to Launching Place (6.8km);
* Launching Place to Yarra Junction (2.4km);
* Yarra Junction to Millgrove (5.1km);
* Millgrove to Warburton (3.3km).
For more details on the rail trail, visit www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au.