Three older women stand on a gravel path surrounded by forest with their bikes, with one woman leaning over a rail in a shelter.
North East Rail Trail just the ticket

Our volunteers have made a timely addition to their self-guided Tasmanian rides collection: the North East Rail Trail.

A legal appeal against extending the trail is set to be heard at the start of August, but riders can still enjoy the existing trail.

The 50km return ride on gravel path follows the old rail line from Scottsdale to Billycock Hill, close to the towns of Legerwood and Branxholm.

For people who like the idea of rolling through the forest but don’t want the high energy of a mountain bike trail, rail trails are just the ticket.

It’s a perfect off-road ride for people wanting to experience a peaceful day on the bike without the stress of traffic, although there are a couple of road crossings along the trail.

Redheaded woman wearing a yellow high vis vest smiles as she rides through a puddle on a gravel path flanked by tree ferns and forest.

The self-guided ride is housed on the Bicycle Network Tasmania Ambassador ride page on the RidewithGPS platform. You can download a map, directions and a graph showing distance and elevation,  so you know what conditions to expect.

Ambassador guidance

The Ambassador ride recommends starting at Billycock Hill. Aim for lunch in Scottsdale before returning, and stay nearby in Branxholm or Derby.

Scottsdale is a better starting point for riders wanting to hire a bike. Beer lovers it may prefer to make a visit to Little Rivers Brewery at the end of the ride, rather than halfway through.

The trail wends through forest for most of the 26km, offering glimpses of pretty fern glades and dramatic rock cuttings before hitting farmland closer to Scottsdale.

A bike leans against a wooden picnic table with a blue sky and white fluffy clouds over  a river edged by forest.

Rail memorabilia is dotted along the trail; the trailhead at Billcock Hill is the old Tullendeena station and the Trewalla station has been converted to a covered rest stop.

Interpretive signs along the route also detail the history of the line and the communities that lived there.  

The Ambassador page includes links to other pages to help you plan your trip, including the Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe, Little Rivers brewery, House of Rhubarb and Blue Derby mountain bike trails.

Electric and manual bike hire from Scottsdale needs to booked in advance.

A big thanks to our social ride volunteers who put these guides together. Their work makes it easier for the rest of us to get out and enjoy ourselves on our bikes.

Satellite map showing a red line where the NE Rail trail runs with a graph of distance and elevation of the route underneath.