Part of the trend to rejuvenate disused railway lines and making them into cycling tracks, the Dookie Rail Trail is short but sweet. It is 4.8 kilometres long, but as a casual round trip, it is a nice couple of hours of cycling (or a bit longer if you prefer to walk) through paddocks in this farming area.
The entire track is sealed, and easy to cycle or walk on for all ages and abilities. There are signs for cyclists (and walkers) the whole way along the trail, and there is only one spot where the trail crosses a ‘main’ road, which is well signed and has safety ‘barriers’ (the type you have to weave through). Seats are placed at regular intervals along the rail trail if you need a rest, or just want to stop and listen to the birds.
Paddocks and farmland surround the rail trail. If paddocks don’t surround you, you will be surrounded by gumtrees.
Start your journey by checking the map on the orange sign opposite ‘the pub’, the Gladstone Hotel.
- Keep an eye out for: Wallabies toward the end of the trail, just before the olive groves; brown snakes on the path (not common, but have been spotted); locals with their dogs — say hi as neither will bite.
- Food options: Stop off at the Gladstone Hotel for a bite, or beverage up on the balcony. The Dookie Harvest Cafe at the Dookie Emporium, next door to the pub, offers a short sweet and savoury menu and a good coffee Fri-Sun; and the ‘Dookie Shop’ (milk bar) is a couple of doors down from the cafe. Rest in the CWA Gardens (which also has BBQ facilities).
- Practical notes: There are no toilets, bins or drinking fountains on the trail, but there are toilets in the CWA Gardens in the town (and a drinking fountain and bins). Plenty of car parking is available in the main street of the town, and opposite The Gladstone Hotel.
The most recent addition to the Dookie Rail Trail is ready to help cope with a surge in walking and riding use of the path following the impact of COVID-19.
This extension heads westward from the Gladstone Hotel car park, through the centre of the town adjacent to the historic CWA Gardens and past the majestic ‘naked’ concrete and metal silos. It then travels past the remnants of a rail turntable construction, the site of the Dookie gravel crusher construction, and then by the currently operating million bushel silo central recieval point constructed in 1963.
The finishing touches have included sealing of the trail in Dookie itself and tidying up of the edges of the out-of-town section during spring. A new sign at the trailhead has a large-format map which includes the latest section as well as two walking tracks.
The Dookie & District Historical Society also produced seven interpretive signs that have been put up along the new part. The first section of the trail ran just 4.8km north from Dookie, and it took almost 11 years for this extension towards Shepparton to happen.
The budget for design and construction of the extension was $550,000, funded by Greater Shepparton City Council and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Victoria. The Friends of Dookie Rail Trail are delighted with the result and their ultimate goal is to see the path make it the rest of the way to Shepparton for everyone to experience and enjoy.
See what else is around the Rail Trail with our pop-up art!