Yarra Valley Trail open

Council representatives, Matt Pilcher, Terry Jenvey and Paul Goodison (right) with Councillors Fiona McAllister and Cr Jim Child, Rail Trail Australia Vice-President, Steven Kaye and Wurundjeri Elder, Tony Garvey.

Yarra Valley residents are now able to walk, run and cycle between Lilydale and Yering, with Stage 1A of the Yarra Valley Trail officially opened for the public.

The trail was officially opened by Yarra Ranges Mayor, Richard Higgins, Casey MP Tony Smith, along with representatives from Rail Trails Victoria, Yarra Valley Cycles and community members on Saturday 15 February.

“This seven-and-a-half kilometre section of trail is already a tourist drawcard, and we know that when this project is finished, thousands of people will visit, ride or walk from Lilydale to Yarra Glen and Healesville, then over to the Warburton Trail.

“These are visitors who stop for coffee and food, who stay in the region and who will share their Yarra Valley experience with communities around the world.

“For just about any of our community members, the views you’ll get along the trail will be ones that few people have experienced in the four decades since the railway line closed.

“We’ll start on the next part of the trail this year, working to connect Yering to Yarra Glen, but for now I’m proud of our achievements and this is a great moment to celebrate,” Mr Higgins said.

Mr Smith said it was great to see the first section of stage one of the Yarra Valley Trail officially open and in use.

“It will be wonderful for recreation locally and beyond. It will also mean there will be great opportunities along the trail and into those townships for tourism and small business growth and of course that will mean more job opportunities as well.”

Yarra Ranges Council has been working with the Yarra Valley Railway to ensure the trail complements the proposed opening of the tourist rail line between Healesville and Yarra Glen.

This work has included developing shared visitor facilities at Yarra Glen Station to cater for all visitors.

The second stage of the trail will connect Yarra Glen to Healesville, while the third stage will connect Healesville to the Warburton Trail, creating a loop.

The Yarra Valley Trail’s first stage has been funded with $3.5 million from the state government ($2.5m Growing Suburbs Fund, $1m Eastern Metropolitan Partnership), $2.5m from the federal government’s Regional Growth Fund and $2.5m from Yarra Ranges Council. Stages 2 and 3 are unfunded at this stage.

For more information, maps of the trail and to stay up to date on the projects, visit rideyarraranges.com.au.