Geelong has many walking trails that people can head to, and to walk along, and to enjoy the sights and sounds along the way. One of those trails (walking tracks) is the Bellarine Rail Trail.
The beauty of the walking tracks is that you can park your car, walk as far as you want, and head back to your car. If you're lucky enough to live near the Bellarine Rail Trail then that's even better. Find an entrance to the Rail Trail, take a walk along the track and walk home again.
This Trail goes for 32 to 35 kilometers, depending on the information that is available. I am sure most people who want to go for a walk will probably not be up to the whole 35 kilometers.
Walking is an affordable exercise. If you don't want to hit the gym every day, then you can get regular exercise by walking or riding your bike. If you don't live close to the Bellarine Rail Trail there are other walking tracks all over Geelong.
I sometimes drive down to the Barwon River, park my car and head off along the river walking tracks. Exercise of any type should be undertaken with your level of fitness in mind. If you've been unwell or are suffering from any type of heart condition please see your doctor and check that it's okay to head off on a walk.
As with any outside activity, remember to slip, slop, slap. For most people this should bring to mind the advertisements from The Cancer Council and Sun Smart - with Sid Seagull in his starring role of the slip slop slap seagull. Now there are two more "s's" added to the Sun Smart message - slip slop slap slide seek.
Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat, slide on your sunglasses and seek shade. Australia is a nation of sun seekers, and too much sun can lead to skin cancer. Sun Smart and the Anti Cancer Council support the Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide message that Sid the Seagull has been delivering for a few years now.
Even on a cool, cloudy day there is the potential to end up with sunburnt skin, especially on your face and arms. I get caught out sometimes and forget to take my hat and sunscreen. I have come home from a walk on a cloudy day with a red nose.
About the Bellarine Rail Trail
The trail follows the old Railway Tracks (it is actually built over the old railway tracks, the rails have been removed and the walking tracks have been built in their place) from South Geelong to Queenscliff. The track is made of compacted, crushed rock, and some of the trail is sealed. It is approximately 32.5km long.
The trail links South Geelong to Queenscliff and it follows the original Geelong to Queenscliff Railway Line. The surface is suitable for most bicycles, unless the bike is fitted with racing tyres.
Parts of the Bellarine Rail Trail are sealed. The sections between the South Geelong Railway Station and the Bellarine Highway are sealed, and Melaluka Road and Curlewis Road sections are sealed.
The Bellarine Rail Trail starts at the South Geelong Railway Station. The trail meanders through the Eastern Suburbs of Geelong, and on to the Bellarine Highway. It continues through Leopold and Drysdale and ends at the Queenscliff Railway Station.
Along the Rail Trail there are lots of trees for shade, and there are many indigenous plants, which creates a tranquil, peaceful walking track.
At Christies Road, Leopold, walkers and bicyclists can stop for a drink at the drinking fountain, for a rest in the shade and to use the toilets. Drysdale Railway Station also has toilets available for public use. Suma Park also has a shelter and toilets for another rest spot for walkers and bike riders. There is also a shelter where the rail trail crosses Swan Bay Road at Mannerim.
Popular with Bicyclists
For the keen bicyclists, the trail is a great weekend trip to take. Ride the 32km (or 35km) trail, finish the ride at Queenscliff, have a meal and stay the night. Then head back to your starting point the next day.
What a great way to spend the weekend! Riding your bike along the rail trail, taking in the scenery of the farmland that you pass through, and views of the coast as you get closer to Queenscliff.
The trail is mostly flat with a gradual climb in some places. The Bellarine Rail Trail follows the old historic railway line between Geelong and Queenscliff. If you ride from Geelong to Queenscliff and back, the ride will take about four hours.
You can do the trip in one day or take it slow and easy, and stop on the way to try out some fine food. Set yourself plenty of time and stop in at some of the wineries for a bit of wine tasting, for a meal if the cellar offers meals, or plan to dine at Queenscliff.
Bike riding or walking the rail trail gives you a great opportunity to take in the landscape and to spot the birdlife. If you come to Geelong during the festival season, you may be able to indulge in Toast to the Coast, the Queenscliff Music Festival, and other special events that Geelong hosts throughout the year.
During summer, you can also have a swim at a beach after or during your trail ride or walk. In winter there are many places for you to head to - to warm up over a hot meal and an open fire.
What more can I say about this incredible weekend adventure? Walk for a day or a weekend. Ride for a day or a week. Stop off for food and rest along the way. Plan your trip to coincide with one of the festivals that Geelong turns on.
I recently walked the Bellarine Rail Trail with a friend. We started off in St Albans Park. We walked almost to Leopold. We were both very unfit at the time, so when we got to 9kms (according to my walking app on my phone) we realised we had to turn around and walk another 9kms home to St Albans Park.
It was a nice brisk walk when we left St Albans Park. It was a slower walk back. My friend started to experience some trouble as his feet had formed blisters. He had to be picked up and driven home. I finished off the walk, but at a very slow pace, as I was feeling exhausted and the last 4kms went very slowly.
Moral to that story! Don't walk too far if you aren't fit. Don't attempt a big walk along the trail if you haven't done much exercise lately. If you are walking to get fit, start off slowly and work your way up to a bigger walk. If you hit the trail and walk like a seasoned walker on your first walk, you may not get back out and walk again. Slow and steady is the way to start any fitness regime.
Bellarine Rail Trail map
Walk or ride, smell the flowers, enjoy the experience of the Bellarine Rail Trail safely. Take your sun hat, water, sun screen and anything else you'll need for a safe and fun trip. If you forgot the aerogard, it might be a while before you can find a shop to buy some!