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Poverty Point Bridge and Thomson River Walk, Walhalla

Home > Melbourne > Trains | Outdoor | Fun Things To Do | Walks
by Lyndsey V (subscribe)
I'm an ecologist and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Also visit me at www.instagram.com/victoriafloraandfauna
Published July 26th 2018
Combine a riverside walk with a charming mountain train trip
Poverty Point Bridge crosses the picturesque Thomson River near Walhalla, Gippsland, and is a photogenic and historically interesting destination for a day walk.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge
Poverty Point Bridge


Also known as the Tramway Bridge and the Old Steel Bridge, it was originally built in 1900 to serve the Long Tunnel gold mining company mine in Walhalla during the town's gold rush. It was part of the extensive tramways in the area that were built to transport timber for the mine furnaces. The history of the original Poverty Point residents is fascinating.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River
View of the beautiful Thomson River from Poverty Point Bridge


The bridge's timber deck and steel were rebuilt in 1976, and it is now a pedestrian bridge that can be reached on walking trails along the Thomson River. It's also on the first day of the epic Australian Alps Walking Track that continues all the way to Namadgi Visitor's Centre in Canberra.

There are at least three walking route options, including one that involves catching the historic Walhalla Goldfields Railway! All three walks are relatively flat, although the tracks can get wet and slippery after rain so good walking shoes are recommended. A rough mud map of the area, including the walks described, can be found here.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River
Looking down to the Thomson River from the walking track


Option 1. An out-and-back return walk from Walhalla township (17 km). Poverty Point Bridge is 8.5 km from Walhalla along the Australian Alps Walking Track, making a 17 km return walk. The walk officially starts at the Band Rotunda and follows the Tramline Walkway south. A map of the main street to help with orientation can be found here.

The walkway becomes the Australian Alps Walking Track, meandering through a beautiful tall forest and wet ferny gullies. Shortly after the start, the track turns to the west, with glimpses of Walhalla Road below visible through the trees. After 4.8 km there is an intersection with Mormon Town Track. At this point, continue on the Australian Alps Walking Track which turns to the north to follow the Thomson River all the way to Poverty Point Bridge. The track traverses through a range of vegetation types, from dry forest with a shrubby understorey to small pockets of wet forest with tree ferns and small creeks. After reaching the bridge, turn around and follow the track back to Walhalla.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River
Exploring the main street of the very cute town of Walhalla after the walk


Option 2. A loop walk from Thomson Station (8 km). Thomson Station is at one end of the historic Walhalla Goldfields Railway, and is about four kilometres west of Walhalla township. There is a small parking area on the unsealed Old Depot Road opposite the station, on the north side of the road near the Thomson River.

This walk heads north up to Poverty Point Bridge on the west side of Thomson River, and then returns on the east side to form a loop of about 8 km.

To find the start of the track, from the car park walk 400 metres along the Old Depot Road. A signposted walking track leaves the road and follows the Thomson River north, with lovely views of the river below. The track was once another old tramway that was used to haul timber for the gold mines.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River
Views of the Thomson River from the track on the western bank


After 3.7 km the track reaches the Poverty Point Bridge turn right here. The return to the car is then the same section of the Australian Alps Walking Track described above. However, when the intersection with Mormon Town Track is reached, instead of walking to Walhalla, turn right and follow Mormon Town Track back down to Walhalla Road (this bit is quite steep take care here), and head back to the carpark.

Option 3. A one-way walk with a train ride back to the start (13.7 km). This is a fun option that involves a scenic and historic train journey. It's based on the walk described in the excellent Day Walks Around Victoria by Glenn Tempest.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River, train
The historic train at Walhalla Station


I've completed the walk as described in the book: start from Thomson Station and follow the walk as described in Option 2 to Poverty Point Bridge and keep going as far as the intersection of the Australian Alps Walking Track with Mormon Town Track. At this point, instead of returning to the car, continue on to Walhalla along the Australian Alps Walking Track. Once in town, head down the main road to the Walhalla Station and purchase a ticket for the train ride back to Thomson Station.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River, train
The train at Thomson Station


This option requires a bit of planning check the Walhalla Goldfields Railway website for train times and up-to-date ticket prices as you need to make sure you finish in Walhalla in time for the last train back. The trains only run on certain days of the week depending on the time of year.

walhalla, walking, history, poverty point bridge, Thomson River, train
Views of the Thomson River from the train


The day we completed the walk was quite a busy public holiday, and we were lucky to get a ticket for the train journey back to the car a few minutes later and we would have missed out and had to walk back, making for a very long day.

An alternative option is to do the train trip at the start of the walk instead: park in Walhalla and catch the first train to Thomson Station, and then start the walk. This way you won't need to rush the walk to get back at a certain time.
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Why? Hike along Thomson River and return on the historic train
When: Any time (but check train timetable if catching train)
Phone: 131963 (Parks Victoria)
Where: Walhalla
Cost: Free to walk, check Walhalla Goldfields Railway website for up to date train ticket prices
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