We represent walking for all Queenslanders

On the Rail Trail with Andrew Demack

Seeking somewhere nice to walk? Why not try a rail trail!
We’re all looking for somewhere pleasant to exercise. Somewhere with great scenery, somewhere quiet, away from the cars, away from the noise and stress of the city.
Queensland has an amazing resource that celebrates the history of our state while providing a safe place to exercise. Across this vast state there are 422 km of rail trail.
What is a rail trail? It is a trail for walking and cycling and often for horse riding as well, and it uses a former rail corridor.
In the golden age of railways (1890 to1920-ish), the Queensland Government and its partners built many hundreds of miles of railways. Some railway lines were built to enable transport of coal or minerals, some were built to carry produce, but all were built to open up the state in the days when very few people had their own motorised transport.
The golden age of railways sadly past a long time ago, but in many parts of the state the railway corridors have been preserved. And as those corridors once connected the towns of each region to the larger coast cities, so does the rail trail network now provide connection to a more tranquil means of locomotion.
The best known of Queensland’s rail trails is the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. It starts at Wulkuraka, an outer suburb of Ipswich, and runs 161km through the Brisbane Valley and then up the Blackbutt Range as far as Yarraman.
For most of us, that’s too far to walk. It’s even too far to ride in a day. But the great thing about rail trail are their accessibility. Unlike National Parks where many of us drive hours through the bush looking for a park in which to go for a walk, the rail trail is always right there at every town along on its length.
So from any of the cool towns on the BVRT, you can pick up the trail, and walk as far as you like out of town before turning back. We reckon Coominya, Esk, Toogoolawah, Moore and Blackbutt are all excellent starting points for an out-and-back adventure..
Here’s a couple of excellent walks on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.
Fernvale to Lowood (9km one way). Only an hour’s drive from Brisbane is the lively town of Fernvale. This section of the trail has been open the longest, perhaps around 20 years. The highlight of your morning’s walk from Fernvale to Lowood comes when the Brisbane River comes into view after 5.5km, just past Vernor siding. Like all good rail trail walks, there’s a bakery at the start and a pub at the finish.
Linville to the Magazine Hut (7km one way). From Linville the trail heads uphill through a steadily narrowing valley. If you have the legs, McNamara’s Camp is about halfway from Linville to Benarkin, but the Magazine Hut is a good vantage point to see the the railway line snaking its way along the edge of the valley and disappearing into Bernarkin State Forest.
Find out more about the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT).
Of course, there are many more rail trails across the state. Rail Trails Australia has a comprehensive list.  
The scenic beauty of the Atherton Tablelands, the historic bridges of the Boyne-Burnett Inland Rail Trail or the coast charm of the Pineapple Trail at Yeppoon are all worth checking out!

Andrew Demack

Andrew Demack is the Director of Advocacy for Bicycle Queensland.  He believes that one day his grand-daughter will ask him: “Pop, what did you do to stop climate change?” He just hopes that almost 20 years campaigning for better active transport infrastructure across Queensland is an adequate answer.