The Queensland Government allocated $36 million in the June State Budget to fund construction of the Wangetti Trail in Tropical North Queensland.
The announcement comes after the government already announced $5.7 million in March to compete the first phase of the trail. Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones says the 94km Wangetti Trail will be ‘a game-changer’.
“It will be a magnet for keen hikers and mountain bike riders from throughout the world,” said Ms Jones.
“The Trail will give tourists a bushland and ocean experience, showcasing the beauty of the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage areas.
“There will be great opportunities for Traditional Owners and education providers to access the Trail and engage with tourists.”
Since the Budget announcement the State Government is engaging the market to get proponents interested in building and operating the Trail’s eco-accommodation and operating tour-guidance. The actual Trail itself will be commenced in 2019 and all sections completed by 2022.
“We’re looking to collaborate by providing successful proponents elements including: State-owned national park land for eco-accommodation; and ground leases for a term of up to 30 years plus one up to 30 year option to operate the eco-accommodation.”
Wangetti is part of Queensland Ecotourism Trails – an ecologically sustainable opportunities program aimed at delivering environmental, social and economic benefits to Queensland.
Four locations have been identified as part of the Ecotourism Trails program, with additional future opportunities expected. The current program includes:
- Wangetti Trail (Tropical North Queensland)
- Cooloola Great Walk (Great Sandy National Park)
- Whitsunday Island Trail (Whitsunday Islands National Park)
- Thorsborne Trail (Hinchinbrook Island National Park)
The program will be delivered through an innovative and collaborative model - focused on working with Traditional Owners and regional communities. The program is aimed at preserving and protecting community resources, and their natural and cultural values for future generations.
In the meantime, the Queensland Government has shortlisted three firms to deliver the Cooloola Great Walk - another world-class ecotourism attraction:
- Tourism Noosa
- World Expeditions
“Cooloola is one of the most beautiful places in Queensland – we want to share this slice of paradise with more tourists from around the world,” Ms Jones said.
“Again this is about the state working with the private sector, Traditional Owners and local councils to further protect and promote our world-class parks and new ecotourism opportunities.”
The Government is also committed to working with Kabi Kabi First Nations peoples who will be involved in the Request for Detailed Proposal phase through several workshops.
Kabi Kabi representative Brain Warner said the Traditional Owners of the land were proud that the project would allow more people to enjoy the Cooloola Great Walk.
“The objective of the Cooloola Great Walk is to provide an authentic eco tourism cultural product to allow Domestic and International travellers to experience one of Queensland's most environmentally significant and popular tourist areas.
It will be a primary focus on minimising impact on the habitat that fosters cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation of the environment". For more info, click here.