Riding the rails in Dookie

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In recent times there has been a trend in Australia to turn disused railway lines into a cycling and walking track known as rail trails. This one in Dookie is one my family and I frequent regularly as it is within an easy commute of home, is short at 9.4kms return, suitable for all ages and offers great rural scenery in this farming district.

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The trail has been open for several years now and continues to grow in popularity. It is especially popular on weekends with families, with many making the trip out from Shepparton on a regular basis.

The trail begins opposite the Gladstone Hotel, better known as the “Dookie Pub”, where you will find the information board above. The entire track is sealed and is suitable for all ages.

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St Mary’s Catholic Church sits on the side of Mount Saddleback, in perhaps one of the most picturesque Church settings in the Goulburn Valley.

The trail is surrounded by farmland, with crops of wheat, oats and canola popular. In late winter and early spring the farmland is a patchwork of green and gold, much different to the dry summer landscape pictured above.

Do keep an eye out for wallabies at the end of the path near the olive grove and in warmer months be careful of brown snakes sunning themselves on the path. They are not seen often but have been spotted.

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Mount Major guides us home to Dookie.

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Once you have finished your walk or ride, stop off and say G’day to the friendly publicans at the Gladstone Hotel and enjoy a bite or a beverage. Alternatively, the Dookie Harvest Café is open Fri – Sun at the Dookie Emporium offering coffee and a small menu. Otherwise treat yourself or the kids to an ice-cream and cold drink at the Dookie Shop (milk bar).

Notes: There are no toilets, bins or water fountains on trail. These are all located in the CWA gardens at the beginning of the trail. Plenty of car parking is available in the main street and opposite the Pub.

Getting there: Dookie is about a 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne either via Shepparton or if travelling the Hume Highway taking the Violet Town exit. Dookie is approx. a 25 minute drive from Shepparton and is easily accessed from Benalla, Wangaratta, Cobram or Echuca.

 

In the Warby’s – Ned hung out here.

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The Warby Ranges – from the Wangaratta side

It was a hot day, around 32 degrees Celsius and I was lucky enough to have to travel to Wangaratta. I could have taken the boring route up the highway but thought a road trip through the Warby Ranges to Wangaratta was a much better option. Who doesn’t love getting off the highway and exploring?

The Warby Ranges is part of the 14,655 hectare Warby-Ovens National Park taking in the granitic hills and woodlands of the Warby Ranges, the Box-Ironbark of the Killawarra Forest and the River Red gum forest and wetlands of the Ovens Heritage River.

The park is named after Ben Warby who first settled the area in 1844. During the 1870’s it was thought that Australia’s most infamous bushranger, Ned Kelly and his gang, spent time hiding in the ranges. Most likely they were keeping an eye on the goings on at Glenrowan in the lead up to the Glenrowan siege. There is a Ned Kelly museum a Glenrowan if you are in the area and would like to know more about Ned.

My time was short, and I did not have time to explore properly. However I took the short walk to Ryan’s Lookout and was not disappointed. The 5 minute walk from the carpark was uphill on an uneven gravel surface. It was far enough for me on a hot day.

Climbing the stairs on the small elevated lookout I was rewarded with stunning views across the valley to the Alps in the distance. In winter the snow covered peaks can be seen – I might have to return for that.

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The area is popular for bushwalking, bike riding and car touring. There are a number of waterfalls including Briens Gorge Falls, Salisbury Falls and Jubilee Falls. The most popular walk is the 9.4 kilometre return walk to the summit of Mt Glenrowan (elevation approx. 507 metres). Looks like I’ll be heading back to the Warby’s on a cooler day when I have more time to explore.

Location: The park is 240 kilometres north east of Melbourne and 10 kilometres west of Wangaratta.