The Palaszczuk Government has partnered with Spicer’s Retreat to build the largest ecotourism project ever seen in Queensland west of the Gold Coast.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones today announced the government had contributed $2.5 million to support the $10 million project to open the Scenic Rim Trail for a world class, long range six-day, five-night walking experience.
Ms Jones said once it was finished, the Scenic Rim Trail in southeast Queensland’s high country would be one of the ‘Great Walks of Australia’.
“New attractions like this will bring thousands more tourists and create jobs for locals – that’s our number one priority,” she said.
“This project will become one of Australia’s most iconic ecotourism drawcards.”
Ms Jones said the project would support 22 construction jobs and 26 operational jobs.
“Eco and adventure tourism is a booming global market – it makes sense for Queensland to be a world leader in this space,” she said.
“I’m proud to be part of the first government in Queensland’s history that’s actually taking ecotourism seriously.”
The Minister said as part of the project, Spicers Retreat would partner with the government to build two new eco-camps at the Main Range National Park.
Ms Jones said the expanded walk would attract an extra 1300 tourists a year and pump an extra $5 million into the local economy.
“The world-class Trail will include more than 27 kilometres of new public walking trails – making the entire walk more than 50 kilometres long,” she said.
“It will run from Thornton Trailhead to Spicers Peak Nature Refuge, within and adjacent to the Main Range National Park and the Gondwana Rainforests of the Australia World Heritage Area.”
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has issued authorities allowing for construction of the facilities and this follows approval from the Australian Government in July 2019.
DES has worked with the proponent to develop plans to ensure that the Park’s natural and cultural heritage values are protected, and the proposal is ecologically sustainable.
Spicers Retreats and Spicers Scenic Rim Trail founder Jude Turner welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s funding commitment.
“Having grown up in this region, my passion has always been to share it with others,” Mrs Turner said.
“The Queensland Government has supported ecotourism and the opportunity to share our incredible natural assets, as well as create local jobs and support the regional economy.”
Each tour of around 12 guided walkers will hike to a new location each day and stay overnight in two new low-impact sustainable eco-camps within the Main Range National Park and three existing sites adjacent to the national park at Spicers Hidden Vale Retreat, Mt Mistake Farmhouse and Hidden Peaks Cabins.
The key infrastructure, to be supported through the government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, includes the Amphitheatre Eco-camp and the Timber Getters Eco-camp within the Main Range National Park.
Each site will include modular prefabricated buildings with connecting raised walkways and supporting infrastructure including water tanks, solar energy and low amber lights to minimise nocturnal animal disruption.
Work on the project is under way and is expected to be completed in time for the first guided walkers in mid-2020.