Sine Cera

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail: Transforming Community Connection and Leisure

Spanning an impressive 132 km’s, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is an ambitious project transforming the dormant Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor into a vibrant, modern pathway for cycling, running, walking and horse riding.

A Collaborative Effort

This collaborative initiative unites Tweed Shire, Byron Shire, Lismore City, and Richmond Valley Councils, progressively converting the old rail corridor into a trail that showcases the region’s breathtaking landscapes.

Upon completion, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is set to become a premier tourist attraction, offering an immersive journey through some of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes. It aims to significantly boost tourism across the four encompassing local government areas, providing a unique blend of recreational enjoyment and in time, practical commuting routes for the community.

Ten Years in the Making

The project, over ten years in development, has been propelled by a dedicated collective of local philanthropists, volunteers, council members, and tourism industry leaders.

To date, enthusiasts and the local community have warmly welcomed the opening of two trail sections: the segment from Crabbes Creek to Murwillumbah, launched on March 1, 2023, and the Casino to Bentley stretch, which officially opens on March 23, 2024.

Crabbes Creek to Murwillumbah Trail – A Huge Success

The Tweed segment, a 24 km stretch from Crabbes Creek to Murwillumbah, promises a seamless journey, featuring asphalt pathways and compacted gravel surfaces, accommodating all levels of cyclists, runners and walkers. There is even a 2.2km stretch dedicated to horse riding.

And it’s a win for residents who are lucky enough to live nearby the Rail Trail, offering them new opportunities for outdoor exercise. Whether it’s a morning run or ride, after work stroll, the rail trail has multiple uses to suit everyone.

The trail’s success is evident, with over 130,000 users in just the first ten months, turning it into a bustling weekend hub for horse riders, families, runners and cycling aficionados. But don’t worry if you don’t have your own bike, Northern Rivers Cycles have got you covered with a cruiser or e-bike.

Innovative New Business Opportunities

The Rail Trail has also inspired a number of new businesses to cater for visitors including Pedals and Picnics who are curating extraordinary picnic experiences. Including your bike hire and a fabulous pre-prepared picnic either in a box or at a destination, this business is elevating the cycling/picnic experience to a whole new level.

Casino to Bentley Trail – Something for Everyone

The recent unveiling of the Casino to Bentley section is set to attract not only cyclists and runners but also the horse riding community. Covering 13.4 km, this stretch boasts a brand-new bridle pathway. Starting from Naughtons Gap Carpark, this segment offers ample parking for trailers and floats, ensuring a hassle-free adventure.

Mountain biking from Kyogle, just 30km north of Casino is now an option in addition to the existing mountain bike trails. The Kyogle Mountain Bike Club built and maintain trails at Kyogle MTB Park within the Boorabee State Forest.

As an evolving attraction, the Rail Trail not only enhances the local tourism landscape but has also inspired nearby councils to develop and integrate new strategies, bolstering the region’s appeal and infrastructure for future visitors and tourism enterprises.

A Shot in the Arm for Local Tourism & Tyred Turkeys

The Tyred Turkeys, a group of 12 dedicated bike riders, have been passionately mapping bike routes in Kyogle LGA for 20 years, with six founding members, including Greg Daley, 68, and Damien Cox, 67, still riding together regularly.  

Their signature rides, like those in the Border Ranges, present significant challenges, but they persevere, albeit  acknowledging the necessity of electric bikes or the youthfulness of riders required for some of the Border Ranges sections.  Greg Daley’s mapping efforts have greatly contributed to the group’s ventures, including their memorable trip around New Zealand a decade ago. 

Both riders champion gravel bikes for their versatility and the added fitness benefits they offer. Greg envisions a potential tourism boom for Kyogle through cycling, advocating for the development of bike trails and extensions of existing routes, such as the Tweed Valley rail trail and the proposed Bentley to Casino rail trail. Their infectious enthusiasm for cycling is palpable, evident in their continuous quest for new trails and their shared maps on platforms like Rides With GPS, reflecting their commitment to both their hobby and their community’s growth.  

The Daley family have been regular guests at Sine Cera Rainforest Retreat for many years and we are in a unique position to support large groups and because we are a bit remote, Sine Cera offers safe storage for bikes.  Sine Cera Rainforest Retreat is perfect for short stays on longer rides, or as a base for a few days to explore the nearby trails at the Border Ranges National Park.   

What could be better after an adventurous day in the saddle – relaxing in nature and arriving at Sine Cera to wash down with a nice cool swim in Main Creek during summer, or a nice hot shower during winter? 

@mala_snaps Mala Norris Photography