In need of some adventure and exploration, I was fortunate recently to be invited to join a trip away to try out the Northern Rivers Rail Trail just over the NSW border in the picturesque town of Murwillumbah. The NRRT is one of the newest in this part of the country and I have to say that it really is a cracker.
There’s one 24km section open so far but there’s plans to extend the NRRT much further so this is a great taste of what’s to come in the future. Passing through towns with various food options and alongside properties selling produce and other country fare, this ride can be as much a culinary experience as a reconciliation with nature.
Consisting of partly sealed trail and partly hard packed gravel, just about any kind of bike will get you from end to end and back again though I found my gravel bike to be the best choice for a good balance of speed and comfort. Or if you don’t have a bike, I spotted no fewer than three local establishments in Murwillumbah offering hire bikes in both the electric and acoustic variants.
The other highlights along the trail are the multiple railway tunnels you can ride through. They’re definitely a welcome relief on a hot day as the temperature inside is quite a few degrees cooler than outside. Remember to bring some lights to make the experience a bit more safe and enjoyable.
Staying in town was great. We camped in the showground at Murwillumbah which was basic but very adequate and, above all, it was quiet. The showground is just on the outskirts of town but still well and truly within walking (or riding) distance of the heart of town if you’re going out for dinner or getting some essentials.
Apart from the showground, Hosanna Farmstay is the other option for camping or non-camping accommodation. The beauty of Hosanna is that, not only is it close to town, but it’s also right on the fence line of the NRRT. Not that the showground is far from the trail either – we rode to the entrance from our campsite which took a bit over five minutes. There are also motels, etc in town.
Dinner was had at the Imperial Hotel in town (it’s the big pink one – you can’t miss it). The food was awesome and the staff were great. There was a large menu to choose from and the place has a great vibe with decor from the 1930s.
As well as the trail, you also have the Tweed River flowing right through Murwillumbah which could no doubt provide various other water based experiences if you brought along a kayak and maybe some fishing rods or something similar. And if that’s still not enough, coastal towns like Kingscliff and Fingal are maybe half an hour’s drive away or you could probably plot out some nice road bike routes to take in a few of those towns.
I was actually quite blown away at the quality of the trail, how nice a place Murwillumbah was to stay at and the potential for other activities there in future trips. I highly recommend trying it out and will definitely be back again myself as soon as possible.
See you out there sometime.