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Popular rail trail tipped to get funding boost from Victorian government

Alia Parker's picture
People using the 50km O'Keefe Rail Trail starting in Bendigo. Source: Bendigo Tourism.

The O'Keefe Rail Trail in rural Victoria is expected to receive funding towards a feasibility study into extending it even closer toward Melbourne, a local news group has reported.

The O'Keefe – a crushed granite trail which starts in the historical gold town of Bendigo and runs southeast for 50km to Heathcote, was completed in May 2015.

There has been strong support to double the length of the trail by extending it south to Wallan, just 50km from Melbourne and accessible on the V/Line train.

The move would push the length of the trail past 100km and make it the only trail in the state accessible by train at both ends.

O'Keefe Rail Trail map. Cycle TravellerVictoria's Regional Development Minister, Jaala Pulford, is expected to announce funding into a feasibility study for the extension project in the coming week, local news mmg.com.au reported.

In all, $150,000 is needed to carry out the study, with the councils of Greater Bendigo and Mitchell Shire having already committed $25,000 each.

The expected announcement follows a 2014 election promise by the Victorian Labor Party to fund the study, which will examine the potential to develop a walking and cycling path along the existing rail line from Heathcote to Kilmore, then beyond to Wallan.

The O'Keefe Rail Trail has opened up a new avenue of tourism growth for the region and local councils are keen to capitalise on the potential.

Heathcote Tourism and Development is currently carrying out a feasibility study into connecting the O'Keefe to local attractions, including Pink Cliffs Reserve and a number of wineries in the district.

Video of O'Keefe Rail Trail, Victoria. Cycle TravellerThe trail also sits amid a number of other popular bicycle trails, including the Great Victorian Rail Trail, the Goldfields Track and the Murray to the Mountains, all which have played an integral role in the growth of cycle tourism in Victoria.

More info

More information about the O'Keefe Rail Trail can be found on the trail's Facebook Page as well as at bendigokilmorerailtrail.com.

 

 

 

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