‘Secret’ spots on rail trail
THERE are hundreds of beautiful "secret" spots along the overgrown Casino to Murwillumbah rail line, says rail trail supporter Richard White.
Mr White is one of a handful of people intimately familiar with some of the best sections of the trail.
He has walked from Bentley to Tuncester, Bangalow to Byron, and enjoyed the dramatic Naughtons Gap tunnel near Casino.
What struck him about being on the track was how different an experience it was to driving or riding through the same landscape along the road.
"The amazing thing is, if you are on the track you get away from the road, and it's a really quiet rural landscape," Mr White said.
"It's a totally different perspective."
"And the fact that you will be able to spend the time enjoying your pushbike instead of worrying about traffic, and ride with your children - you won't know yourself."
A few spots stood out as especially memorable for Mr White, and they're all situated at different points along the 123km trail, which boasts a whopping 158 bridges and nine major tunnels.
One is a beautiful stretch around Woodlawn, just five minutes north-east of Lismore on the way to Bexhill, a picture of bucolic rural beauty and rolling hills quite remarkably different from the more densely foliaged areas further north in the Tweed Shire.
Then there's the stretch between Bentley to Naughtons Gap, which includes the Naughtons Gap tunnel and several elegant old bridges through another stunning fertile valley.
One unmissable world-beater which may come to define the rail trail's public image is the view from St Helena north over Cape Byron on the rail line between Bangalow and Byron Bay.
In fact, Mr White said anyone could ride the trail from Byron Bay up to Bangalow, such is the gentleness of the gradient.
"It's really good to see the lack of gradient from St Helena going down to Byron Bay. It's minimal," he said.
"The train's taking a totally different route from the road and cuts out all the gradient."
The Burringbar Range between Mooball and Stokers Siding on the way to Murwillumbah introduces some majestic drama to the experience, taking in views over Mt Warning and dense rainforest around Burringbar.
Eltham Station is a quaint historical waypoint on the railway with an old railway cottage, the Eltham Pub, and tennis courts.