Great Valley Trail

The Great Valley Trail project will deliver 16 kilometres of family friendly shared trail, completing a 27 kilometre link between Harrietville and Bright, and extending the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail to the base of the Alps.

The section to be built is just over 16km in length and will complete the recreational link from Bright to Harrietville. This final 16km link starts at Tawonga Gap Road and links to the existing trail at Stony Creek Road (Harrietville Trout Farm).

On completion, the Great Valley Trail trail will be a 2m wide sealed trail along its entire length (approximately 27km from Bright - Harrietville), with grades suitable for children and families. The proposed alignment stays as close as possible to the Ovens River, switching sides on a number of bridges (new and existing) and provides a recreational experience through lightly used sections of riverside reserves.

In some sections the trail comes back to the Great Alpine Road - where riders will benefit from good separation from the traffic lanes, guard rail, or both.


Map 1 - Germantown Streamside Reserve to Old Harrietville Road

Begins at the end of the existing trail at Tawonga Gap Road. The Great Valley Trail enters the Germantown Streamside Reserve and generally follows an access track for the full length (approx 2km). At the South end the trail crosses Old Harrietville Road, and stays on the East of the Ovens River.

Map 2 - Old Harrietville Road to Dibbin Lane

Begins at Old Harrietville Road, and follows the powerline easement South for a few hundred metres. The trail then pushes into a new section of river frontage before coming out on Snowy Creek Road - near Snowy Creek Produce. The trail then crosses the river on an existing road bridge, and follows existing trails South for about one kilometre until it reaches a (new) footbridge. The trail then continues on existing tracks on the West side of the Ovens River for approximately one more kilometre to Dibbin Lane, Freeburgh.

Map 3 - Dibbin Lane to Smoko

The trail follows Dibbin Lane, crosses Websters Lane, and joins the Great Alpine Road for a straight run of approximately 3km. The trail will be separate from the road, and will generally stay close to property boundaries. Where the trail comes closer to the road, or around bends, there will be guardrails installed between the road and trail.

Map 4 - Smoko to McMahons Lane

The trail leaves the Great Alpine Road at the Mills View area hill. This will provide a flat, safe option for users, and allow access to a previously mostly inaccessible section of river. The trail comes back alongside the Great Alpine Road for another 800m, then veers away from the major road and onto McMahons Lane.

Map 5 - McMahons Lane to Smoko Creek Road

This section follows McMahons Lane to the (recently harvested) pine plantation. The alignment goes around the pine plantation and alongside the river (once it can be accessed). Once past the pines, the trail goes onto an existing vehicle track alongside the Ovens River.

Map 6 - Smoko Creek Road to Smoko Campground

This section continues along the Ovens River, and crosses Smoko Creek as it connects to the Smoko Campground. The path crosses Miley Lane, and goes past the existing toilet block at the campground. The trail does not share the campground roads through this section.

Map 7 - Smoko Campground to Bibby Lane

The trail comes back alongside the river once past the campground, and enters a section of river frontage between private property and the Ovens River. The trail sticks close to the river, and then moves onto the GAR for another 800m link. Through this section, users will be buffered from vehicles with guardrail and existing vegetation. The trail crosses the river again at Bibby Lane, where it utilises an existing road bridge.

Map 8 - Bibby Lane to Trout Farm

The trail crosses Bibby Lane, and heads South between farming land and the Ovens River. The trail then crosses Stony Creek, and meanders along the river frontage below Millers Track. This completes the 16km link through to the existing section of trail (approx. 5km from Harrietville). 

The total cost of the project is $2.6 million. $1.3 million is being contributed by the Federal Government through the National Stronger Regions Fund and $800,00 from Sports and Recreation Victoria, reducing Council’s commitment on this $2.6 million project to just $500,000.

The project will deliver the two metre wide trail and is due for completion by June 2022.

There has been strong and widespread community support for this project since an initial scoping study for the route was completed in 2011.

This trail will provide infrastructure that is accessible, free to use and safe, enabling all ages and socio-economic groups to participate in low impact exercise. The trail will also provide a connection between the Alpine Shire’s communities of Germantown, Freeburgh, Smoko and Harrietville.

The Upper Ovens River valley is a rich source of historical and cultural heritage and this trail will provide places for people to meet and interact, increasing community and social connection to each other and to the history of the valley.

The growth in ongoing economic activity will benefit existing businesses along the route, as well as stimulate the development of new businesses in Harrietville, broadening its appeal as a tourism destination and improving the resilience of the local tourism industry.

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