Simon Benson & Alison Edwards

(Simon writes)

Every now and then, my siblings and I have a "weekend" away together with their spouses - a sort of replacement for family gatherings when our parents were alive.

This one, at the end of April, was arranged by Jane, who rented a 3 bedroom house at Wandiligong, 3km beyond Bright, in the Ovens Valley. So we decided it was a good opportunity to ride the rail trail from Wangaratta to Bright, a distance of 80km. We had heard that the train service to Wangaratta was less than perfectly reliable, so Alison checked at the station two days prior. No problem. But we got to the station to find the train replaced by a bus; so we would have to agree that the service is less than perfect. But we did get to Wangaratta, unfolded our bikes, and set off.




Wewent first to the tourist info, to get a map and find out how to get to the motel we were booked into, 7km north of town. And rode up there; a very pleasant off-road bike track to a very nice motel. But on arriving, I noticed I didn't have my helmet on. It was at the tourist info. So it was back to town, pick it up, and return. So we got a 21km start to the trip instead of 7; but we did make use of the return to buy some food, so it was not entirely wasted.




The next part was was lovely. We got a sunny autumn day with little wind for the 50km to Myrtleford. The rail trail, which was all well away from any road, began with a long straight flat section. We made a little deviation from the track to the little town of Everton, where there was a general store to get a coffee at. (This was the only place like this for 20+ km each side.) Then, on again. It was a Sunday, but we saw remarkably few other riders on the trail. Further on the trail went substantially uphill - more steeply than I though a rail trail would have done - as we neared Myrtleford. But it was very nice going down the other side as we passed the crest.

After a night in Myrtleford we rode the last 30 km into Bright, passing the Rail Trail Cafe in Porepunkah (the only cafe on the trail) which was closed on Mondays. We got to Wandiligong, found the house, and had a good 2 days with the six of us before cadging a lift back home with Rob.