A guide to riding the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail – read all about it here!

Tumbarumba welcomes you!

Let’s go for a ride!

Welcome to the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail – a fantastic 21km shared pathway, full of history and set in beautiful countryside, in the south west slopes of NSW.

The first NSW rail trail on public land, it was opened ‘virtually’ on-line on 3 April 2020, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch the opening video here – the opening you have when you can’t have an opening due to a pandemic, which just happens to feature yours truly!

These are my thoughts as a rider, volunteer, rail trail enthusiast and more importantly, as a Tumbarumba local. Please note the rail trail is still a work in progress in some areas and it won’t be completely finished off for some time to come.

The basics first

When I say ride, I actually mean you can walk, run, push a pram, ride in a mobility scooter or wheelchair… anything except ride a motorbike, vehicle or horse. Oh and you can’t walk your dog either – there are lots of reasons why!

Rail trail users
Rail trail users

Surface?

The trail is sealed the whole way for the myriad of users – as mentioned above. It is accessible for many groups as a result, disabled, young, old….everyone is welcome.

Rest points?

There are seats placed strategically along the rail trail so you can sit awhile and take in the amazing views, or you climb atop a cutting and find a quiet spot to sit.

Fencing

The whole trail is expensively extensively fenced, after lots of engagement with local landholders. Grids are still being placed to ensure the trail cannot be shut off by gates, so that it is a seamless trail.

Toilets

The closest public toilets are in various locations in Tumbarumba and at Rosewood. Currently there are no toilets along the trail but it is envisaged that a toilet will be located at Figures St and possibly another location before the end of the year.

Food and Water

As with any adventure it is advisable to take your own supplies and ensure you carry your own rubbish out with you. There is water available in Tumbarumba and Rosewood Park, as well as at Gone Barny, on the edge of the Rosewood village. At this moment in time there are no facilities along the trail but we are hoping this will change by the end of the year.

Distance each way is 21km

Starting point(s)

You can start at other places along the rail trail and ride bits and pieces, which may suit many families with children who may not make the entire distance.

You may not think 21km is a long way, that is until you start to ride it with kids or those who aren’t quite as fit as they think they are. There are ample spots to stop and rest on seats along the way while soaking in the views. If you stop and think, 21km is half a marathon and if you ride back as well, then you’ve basically done a marathon of 42km!

Drop-off/pickup points along the way?

Here are the rough distances for planning a walk or a ride along the rail trail as per pickup/drop off points:

• Wolter Cottages (official Trailhead) to Figures St approx 1km
• Figures St to Camden Park Road crossing approx 1.2km
• Camden Park Road crossing to Jingellic Road approx 3km
• Jingellic Road to Sawpit Creek Bridge approx 1.2km
• Sawpit Creek Bridge to Glenroy Station approx 2.8km
• Glenroy Station to Glenroy Hills Road approx 3.7km
• Glenroy Hills Road to Wolseley Park approx 2.9km
• Wolseley Park to Gone Barny approx 5.1km
• Gone Barny to Rosewood Park (Trailhead) approx 1.1km

There were four railway stations along the way – Tumbarumba, Glenroy, Wolseley Park and Rosewood. None of these stations are still standing, although remnants of platforms can be found at Tumbarumba, Glenroy and Rosewood. The Tumbarumba site, adjacent to the Figures St trackhead, is no longer accessible due to it being part of the Bergin Logging Company.

There are history information boards at each of the station sites and these tell the interesting stories from long ago. Lots of railway memorabilia is still to be found in situ, so keep your eyes peeled for the various mile markers along the way.

Although the railway line was built for steam trains, and the gradients had to be gentle to accomodate these engines, there are still some uphills and sweeping downhills, to contend with as you ride along.

The elevation starts at Wolter Cottages at 680m, Figures Street is 696m which is the highest point, before dropping to 573m at Sawpit Creek bridge. Glenroy Station sits at 555m and Wolseley Park Station is 570m before climbing into Rosewood Station at 604m. This doesn’t represent much of a climb but believe me, you feel it at times.

Hint: The ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can’ chant is useful when climbing up the last few kilometres into Tumbarumba after a ride along the rail trail.

The Little Engine that Could

You can start your ride at either Tumbarumba or Rosewood ends of the trail but be aware of the undulations of the trail and the elevation as noted above.

Track head

In the development plans, Wolter Cottages, on Albury St Tumbarumba, are named as the track head for the rail trail, but in actual fact the main area is at Figures St, as close as possible to the location of the original station. (Unfortunately the old station was removed and the land is now part of a private business).

Figures St to Glenroy Station (approx 8.2km)

We’re starting our ride today at Figures Street in Tumbarumba, near where the old Tumbarumba station once stood.

Figures Street is in a mainly industrial area of Tumbarumba and care needs to be taken due to the movement of trucks. It is best to access Figures St via Langlands St rather than Bell St or McMeekin St from the main Wagga Rd (Albury St). Blue signs have since gone up to show the way!

Rail Trail map
Rail Trail map

Figures Street has car parking, the original station sign (all cleaned up), old railway gates which have been renovated by the Tumbarumba Men’s Shed, an old barracks hut which was donated to the Historical Society and has since been converted into a display of construction photographs. The Tumbarumba Historical Society, Men’s Shed members, many volunteers and council staff are to be thanked for helping to create this fabulous area.

Three information boards from the Tumbarumba Historical Society stand nearby telling the story of the area. The area has been extensively planted with trees, with support from the local lands organisations and volunteers. There are picnic tables and bike racks, again made by the Men’s Shed guys. In time it is planned to have a toilet installed as well.

The ride from Figures St is a continuous and joyful roll downhill, through a beautiful cutting of white gums and out into farmland. The birds swoop and chatter as you ride along.

After about 4kms kilometres of glorious downhill, the trail comes to Jingellic Road, near the Hyne Timber Mill. This is a busy road and care must be taken when crossing it.

The trail continues right past the mill and unfortunately the beautiful stand of trees, which were alongside the trail, had to be bulldozed to allow for a fire break to be put in, when the bushfires of January 2020 raged through the area. It is a stark reminder of what our town has endured in the first few months of the year.

At the end of this section, we arrive at the first of the three trestle bridges which were rebuilt, this one is at Sawpit Creek. It’s a marvellous sight and one of the council workers has built a unique picnic table setting underneath so you can look up and admire the work that has been done to bring the bridge back from the wreck that it had become.

There is a carpark at Sawpit Creek and many people decide to start their walk or ride here to save their legs on the uphill section back to Figures St.

This is a major road crossing and care must be taken, as trucks and lots of traffic use this road. Once crossed, the rail trail continues, running parallel to the main road, before veering away from the road towards Glenroy Station.

Wagga Road crossing on the Rail Trail
Wagga Road crossing on the Rail Trail

The first of the many farm overpasses is just before the old Glenroy Station. These overpasses were built in consultation with farmers, to allow for their farming practices to continue with minimal disruption.

Glenroy Station sits nestled among green rolling farmland with spectacular views over vineyards and a blueberry farm nearby. There are historical boards telling the story of the station, a picnic table and a bike rack – built by the local volunteers from the Men’s Shed.

Glenroy Station to Wolseley Park Station 6.6km

Look to the south for lovely views down the lower Mannus Valley. Coppabella Vineyard is a 5* rated vineyard (James Halliday), featuring Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The corridor for the rail trail was rebuilt through the vineyard as it was removed (illegally) by a former owner of the vineyard. In the early days of the project there were indications that a cellar door would be opened to service the rail trail, hopefully this may still come to fruition in coming years. There is also a blueberry farm across the road and in autumn you can see the delightful colour of the bushes.

Down the slope out of the vineyard we enter the beautiful Mannus Creek Valley. Crossing the creek is the largest trestle bridge on the trail, beautifully restored by Timber Restoration Systems. In coming weeks a picnic area will be completed beside the bridge.

The trail rises slowly with outstanding views across the valley of rich cattle country and vineyards.

Take a moment here to stop and enjoy the seat with a view!

New bike and rail trail views
New bike and rail trail views

Up through a cutting and you arrive at Glenroy Hills Road. Just off the trail to the right is Lauren’s place which will be (hopefully) opening soon on weekends for coffee and cake.

Detouring to the left up Glenroy Hills Road, about 230m, the crest of the slope is reached, affording magnificent snow views of the main range and Kosciuszko itself.

Back on the trail you pass by an old vineyard, which is currently being returned to cattle country and then we ride through a big cattle property, where the black cattle calmly watch you as you ride by. There are three large farm overpasses along this section, all beautifully rock faced.

The trail loops around to the right and rejoins Mannus Creek albeit from above. A large cutting here provides warmth and quietness. Rock from this large cutting was used to fill the adjoining gully.

With the picturesque creek by our side again, we duck through another farm overpass to arrive at the beautiful Wolseley Park Station. This is a great spot for a picnic and to soak up the atmosphere!

Wolseley Park to Rosewood 6.2km

This section has the cute little Pigsty Creek bridge and the trail follows along the creek for some distance, with evidence of lots of active wombats. We now cycle parallel to the main road for a bit before moving through farmland again and the biggest farm overpass at 50 metres in length, basically a tunnel!

Another old bridge has been renovated over Bells Creek and unfortunately the trail narrows considerably here. We are starting to get closer to the small village of Rosewood now and a great spot to stop for a snack and a world famous (my recommendation) milkshake is at Gone Barny Eucalyptus Nursery, just off the trail as you enter Rosewood.

A further kilometre along is the Rosewood Park with toilets, play equipment and a toy train in the park. Parts of the old platform are still in place and there are now history boards and a picnic table added to the site. This is the end of this stage of the rail trail but there are hopes to have it continue on to Wagga Wagga eventually.

The End

Once you get to Rosewood you can decide if you want to turn around and ride back to Tumbarumba or be collected and driven back. But whatever you do I suggest a milkshake at Gone Barny first!

What is the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail?

It started life as a railway line in 1921, having been conceived in 1884, wending its way from Wagga to Tumbarumba, something of an engineering feat given the times and conditions. The railway line was closed in 1974 and then was left to rot, disused and forgotten, until progressive minded locals started the ball rolling to convert into a shared pathway in 2003.

Yes it’s taken nearly 20 years of persistent hard work to get it to this stage.

Leading the Way Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail
Leading the Way – Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail

The original plan was to convert the whole railway line to a rail trail, but due to the number of councils involved, it was decided to start with the one section within the old Tumbarumba Shire Council first. So the 21km from Tumbarumba to Rosewood section is the start of what we hope will one day be continued to Wagga, a distance of 130kms. We are a pilot case now for the rest of NSW in regards to rail trails.

This first section has now been rejuvenated into a shared pathway and the history and countryside have been opened up for all to use and enjoy, thanks to a grant of just under $5m from the State Government in 2015. The local council was given the job of construction with experts brought in for bridge restoration and lots of input from a local volunteer committee and community members.

Where exactly is Tumbarumba?

Tumbarumba is a small rural town, a hidden gem, in southern NSW, close to the Snowy Mountains. It is just off the Hume Highway, half way between Sydney and Melbourne and only a 2.5 hr drive from the nation’s capital, Canberra.

The population is only small (approx 2000), so to have achieved this rail trail is a testament to the many community minded people involved. It’s going to be a very popular trail given the proximity to some of Victoria’s Rail Trails just a short drive away, over the border.

We are fortunate to have committed volunteers in town who have not only managed to get the rail trail up and running but have also carved out mountain bike tracks, campaigned and received funding for a pump track in town and are supportive of cycling tourism.

There is now the option of hiring ebikes and even a baby chariot from Tumba Bikes and Blooms, call 0448295716 for a booking. There are lots of great cafes, restaurants, cellar doors, vineyards, a bakery and things to do in town, it’s small but it’s forward thinking!

A great resource

Local historians Ron and Cath Frew have written a book, Recycling Rail, which tells the history of the railway line, personal stories of local families, and the story of the rail trail. It is available for purchase locally or by mail for $30 plus postage, if you are interested please let me know in a comment below. All proceeds go to the Tumbarumba Historical Society.

Recycling Rail
Recycling Rail

Hope you can visit us soon

Well done to everyone involved, locals, volunteers, supporters, family, council workers, politicians, Tumbarumba Historical Society, Men’s Shed, Landcare organisations, cycling groups…anyone who has ever helped in any way – a big thank you.

It has been gratifying for all the hard working volunteers and construction workers, to see locals enjoying the newly opened rail trail during the lockdown period. As travel restrictions are lifted, we will welcome the many others who want to ride or walk our fabulous rail trail, and our town needs you to visit us.

I hope you enjoyed the ride with me today, let me know what you think. If you’ve ridden or walked the trail, you can always write a review on our Facebook page or on Google.

Yours truly!

Deb xx

UPDATE: 22/8/2020 – it snowed on the rail trail! It doesn’t happen very often so when it does we have to make the most of it! If you’d like to see some photos click this link A snow day on the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail

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If you’d like to follow our Rail Trail Facebook page then click here: https://www.facebook.com/tumbarumbarailtrail/

Follow on Instagram: @TumbarumbaRailTrail

Debbie cycling the rail trail
Debbie cycling the rail trail

Note: I ride a Trek Dual Sports+ ebike and love it! Thanks to my husband, the Mathematician, for some words and editing support. I have tried to use only photos taken by myself or my husband, or those in the public domain, but if I have inadvertently used a photo you have taken, I thank you for sharing.

Some of my other rail trail posts can be found here


Debbie

Debbie is an award winning blogger and lives in the small town of Tumbarumba in NSW Australia. Married for 40 years, with three grown up daughters, Debbie and the Mathematician are avid travellers, cyclists and adventurers. Described by others as a ‘hummingbird on speed’ this active mother and grandmother has also received a bravery award from the Queen.

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

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© 2020 Copyright – All rights reserved: debbie@debs-world.com, debs-world.com

53 Replies to “A guide to riding the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail – read all about it here!”

  1. Fantastic work and I’m looking forward to visiting in November with both an ebike and a road bike to see which one is better for the trail! Thanks for sharing the ride information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Alf. I’m happy with my ebike but I know many others who are fine riding their road bikes, so it will be interesting to see what you think when you visit.

      Like

  2. Knowing the years of effort you have put into making this a reality, developing a guide must be the icing on the cake. We so hope one day we can actually ride it with you! Right now that dream seems a far distance off but we will continue to hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We hope so too Sue! You know you are most welcome whenever we can manage to travel again. It’s been a huge effort and it’s lovely of you to recognise that many thanks for your thoughtfulness.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Debbie, I am so looking forward to visiting your rail trail in the not too distant future. I love what I have been reading with your blog. We were planning way back in January to visit in April but had to cancel all our plans, so I am very excited that we can now travel around our state. Plans are now being made once again to visiting your area. So looking forward to it. Thanks for all your posts on your blog, so interesting and informative. I love reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Ingrid, you have made my day with your lovely comment! Thank you 🙂 I enjoy writing about a variety of topics and often wonder if others actually read what I write, so it’s great to get comments like yours! Please let me know when you come to ride the rail trail, we could maybe catch up on the trail 🙂

      Like

    1. Yes Michele many people are finding it a great way to exercise in the fresh air and it’s improving mental health of those living here, especially after the devastating bushfires. Thanks 🙂

      Like

  4. It looks fantastic Deb – and so well done with the surfacing and signage and how well thought out it all is. I laughed at the mobility scooter – maybe by the time I get to Tumbarumba (love writing that word) I’ll be too old to bike it, but I can always zoom along on a gopher!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m coming to Tumbarumba as soon as the restrictions life – and I’ll be hiring a bicycle! What a great piece Debbie, and one that I’ll definitely bookmark. The rail trail looks absolutely wonderful and through such pretty scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I certainly hope I make it out your way to check out this trail someday, Deb. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the enticing write-up and photos. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats to you Deb and everyone who contributed to make this rail trail happen! Your comprehensive post is helpful to new visitors. If I was in the area I’d love to ride this trail. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so good to hear, that was my intention Lydia! It took me ages to write it all up and get it right so I’m glad it’s getting some traction. We’d love to have to visit, you must let me know if you decide to come down here 🙂

      Like

    1. Yes Michele, I’ve been working on this post during my week long break, and he’s also helped out with some words and editing. He’s feeling better everyday which is great news. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Deb
    This is a great write up. We are hoping to head to Tumba in the October school holidays and do the ride then.
    You mentioned dogs are not allowed on the trail. Me daughter is about to get a puppy which us only ever going to be very small. We have got her a dog basket that attaches to a bike. Would we be able to take him on the trail with us if he stays in the basket?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love reading your description. Great photos as well, so important and interesting to know the history, and to preserve as much infrastructure as possible. The bridges look fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John, I really wanted to share the trail for those who want to ride it but don’t know what’s entailed. The history and construction are so important to keep alive! The bridges are great and a real highlight.

      Like

    1. Thanks Donna, it’s been so good for us while in lockdown as it was exercise out in the fresh air and away from close contact with others. We love it!

      Like

  10. The trail looks amazing Deb, so much work has been done by so many people to get it looking that way. Bet the locals absolutely love it don’t they? We would be on it all of the time. Hope you’ve done it end to end both ways?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Jonno, I’ve ridden it end to end on numerous occasions and it doesn’t matter I always see new things and enjoy the whole thing. It’s fabulous and when travel restrictions are lifted we will see lots of visitors I’m sure!

      Liked by 1 person

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