Great Southern Adventure Trails

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A regionally significant network of highquality trails that will provide long-term benefits to visitors and the local communities of the Great Southern.  

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Great Southern has much to offer with its unique tingle and karri forests, spectacular Southern Ocean vistas and protected inlets and waterways.  This is an area of significant natural beauty and has the potential to become a national leader in the fast-growing trails market.  

To achieve national significance for the region, a marketable trail product that appeals to both general visitors and trail enthusiasts needs to be created, or in some locations upgraded, to meet user expectations. 

To attract destination trail-users, the region also needs to offer mountain bike, walking and running trails that are specifically designed for the purpose, are of high quality and in keeping with the natural environment. 

The Great Southern Adventure Trails (GSAT) project is designed to provide for, and support, trail development and enhancement and offer outdoor recreational opportunities in a region where demand is increasing. 

Utilising the unique forests and coastal landscapes of the Great Southern, the area will be developed as a mountain bike, paddle and walk trail adventure destination. This initiative will stimulate economic diversification and support social outcomes and opportunities within the Great Southern Region.

 

TRAILS AND FACILITIES

The aim is to create high-quality mountain bike, walk and paddle trails in the Great Southern that will attract local, national, and international trail users, to support the local economy, job growth and promote the region as a trails destination.  

Incorporating new or renewed trail infrastructure includes:  

  • Realigning sections of the Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail. 
  • Upgrades to existing trails and infrastructure including realignments and erosion management. 
  • Increased accessibility for paddle trail launch platforms. 
  • Increased accessibility for walk and cycle trails.  
  • New interpretive and directional signage including trailheads.  
  • New and improved site facilities and associated amenity infrastructure for trail developments.  

 

Site infrastructure, facilities and amenities will consider the natural setting and user needs. Where these adjoin existing facilities, they will support connectivity and integration or interaction, including commercial opportunities. 

Importantly, this project will ensure that trails are of a high-quality design and construction and are offered in an accessible and consolidated environment with the potential to generate revenue. 

 

Tangible benefits flowing from this project will include

  • $15.2 million spend on trails and associated infrastructure. 
  • A regionally significant network of high-quality, purpose-built trails that will be an invaluable tourism and recreation resource for visitors, businesses and the residents of the Great Southern. 
  • Enhanced and upgraded existing trails to support increased trail use, promote natural setting experiences and diversify visitor opportunities over multiple locations. 
  • Creation of around 200 jobs during construction (direct and indirect). 
  •  An estimated annual total of over 44,000 additional visitors including new visitors (destination trail users) and trail-users who extend their stay.  
  • An estimated $23.2 million additional annual tourism spend associated with increased visitation. 
  • Opportunities for new business development and consolidated offerings by existing local businesses to service the anticipated demand from increased visitation, accommodation requirements, and products and services to the region. 
  • Improvements to existing trails and tourism drawcards such as the Bibbulmun Track, Munda Biddi Trail, Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, Discovery Bay Tourism Experience and Porongurup, Torndirrup and William Bay National Parks. 

TIMELINE

The Great Southern Adventure Trails project commenced planning and design in October 2020, with trail construction works to relocate the Southern Terminus of the Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi Trail in Albany and construction of a loop to the Harewood Forest trail in Denmark.  

A program of works including new and upgraded trails, visitor facilities and infrastructure works will be progressively delivered in funded stages over the project period to June 2024. 

ENVIRONMENTAL and CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS

The Great Southern Region project area encompasses eleven local governments, stretching from Walpole in the west to Albany in the east and north to the shire of Mt Barker. 

The region is a popular tourist destination renowned for its world class wine, food and diverse landscapes that include the highest ranges in the southwest, productive farmland and spectacular coastal scenery. 

It has a rich cultural heritage and strong connections for the Traditional Owners (Wagyl Kaip). The area is also steeped in history. Albany is nationally and regionally significant as the site of Western Australia’s first European settlement and has a strong military heritage with a focus on the Anzac connection.  

The region contains important conservation estate that is a key component of the State’s biodiversity values and boasts colourful wildflower displays that are a drawcard for the Spring roadshow and grey nomads. The area is also becoming increasing popular as a lifestyle destination for families and retirees. 

All trails built as part of the Great Southern Adventure Trails (GSAT) initiative will be planned and developed in accordance with an eight-step Trail Development Process to create sustainable trails that protect these natural and cultural values. 

 

Environmental and cultural considerations such as Phytophthora dieback, flora, fauna and heritage (both Aboriginal and European) will be assessed in detail, with trails designed to minimise impacts on these important values. 

Trails will be built using best practice construction techniques to ensure the highest quality, maximum sustainability, minimal maintenance and maximum fun! 

TOURISM AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS

This project aims to achieve the following outcomes: 

  • Achieve national significance for the region in the bushwalking and mountain bike trail tourism markets driven by the development of high-quality trail products that showcase the region’s natural features. 
  • Create a marketable trail product that appeals to a broad cross section of visitors while also catering for trail enthusiasts with a view to attracting destination users who will visit the region specifically for the trails experience, as well as attracting visitors who will extend their stay to experience the trails. 
  • Deliver an integrated tourism experience across the region, that will increase the number of new and repeat visitors, extend the length of stay of visitors and increase the direct tourism spend in the region.  
  • Provide direct economic opportunities for local and regional businesses, through the construction phase of the project and through the provision of services supporting the adventure and ecotourism trail experiences. 
  • Creation of jobs during construction and ongoing maintenance and management of the facilities. 
  • Creating a stronger tourism and business sector through provision of accommodation, retail and hospitality industries that will be realised, resulting in a stronger, more sustainable and diverse rural economy. 
  • Raised local, State, national and international recognition and awareness of the region’s natural amenities, heritage, adventure and ecotourism assets and its outstanding biodiversity. 
  • Provide facilities that will improve the lifestyle and community amenity for Great Southern residents, including educational institutions, Traditional Owners (Wagyl Kaip) and volunteers. 

 

The establishment of trail developments across the region will have a transformation effect on the tourism market, while also providing community recreation and volunteer opportunities. 

By supporting this project, the State government will be building on its other investments in the region to create a connected and diverse ecotourism, adventure and heritage product that is highly marketable and sustainable in the long term.  

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Great Southern Adventure Trails project is part of the McGowan Government’s $5.5b WA Recovery Plan. Funding from this initiative will be used for the planning, design, construction, branding and marketing of a mix of high quality, purpose-built trail developments across the Great Southern Region that will enable visitors and locals alike to explore, enjoy and appreciate this fascinating and unique region.  

All construction works for the trails and supporting infrastructure will be tendered by DBCA in accordance with standard State government procurement processes. Where possible, local content preferences will be added to procurement processes. 

This project aims to establish several trail developments including high quality and increased accessibility trails, supported by financially sustainable management models.

The overall objective of this project is to construct and market a range of regionally significant trail facilities that will establish the Great Southern as a nationally significant trails destination for mountain bikers, trail walkers and trail runners. It will also provide the Great Southern community with a diverse range of recreation and business opportunities.  

Throughout the project, opportunities will be provided for local businesses to be involved in the project. As more trails are built and the project moves toward an operational phase, workshops will be conducted to help local businesses get ‘trail ready’. 

All trails will be planned and designed following the eight-step Trail Development Process to ensure environmental and heritage values are protected.

DBCA will consult closely with traditional owners in the planning and construction of new trails and facilities. The trail network is being developed to protect identified heritage sites and does not impact on them.

A sustainable business model will be developed and implemented at the same time as the trails are developed. DBCA will work with local government, volunteers and the MTB community to implement the model and maintain the trails.

The Great Southern Adventure Trails initiative will be managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). The project is also supported by a range of key stakeholders including the Outdoors Great Southern (formerly GSCORE), the Western Australian Mountain Bike Association (WAMBA), WestCycle, Trails WA, Munda Biddi Foundation, Australia’s Southwest, the Bibbulmun Track Foundation, Shire of Plantagenet, Shire of Denmark, Shire of Manjimup, City of Albany, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. 

The Great Southern Adventure Trails are expected to create the following community benefits:

  • Create high quality visitor attractions in the South West region by establishing nationally significant adventure trail opportunities that will help to grow and sustain the tourism economy;
  • Create marketable trail products that appeal to a broad cross section of tourists while also catering for trail enthusiasts;
  • Establish marketable trail products that enable the holding of national and international events;
  • Deliver an integrated tourism experience across the region that will increase the total number of visitors to the region, increase the number of repeat visits, and extend the length of stay;
  • Stimulate local tourism economies in the region (e.g. accommodation, retail and hospitality);
  • Establish new businesses after construction that support adventure and eco-tourism trail experiences;
  • Raise local, State, national and international recognition and awareness of the region’s natural amenities, heritage, adventure and eco-tourism assets and its outstanding biodiversity;
  • Provide trail facilities that will improve the lifestyle and community amenity for the South West region residents;
  • Establish best practice trail development and management that minimises impact on the natural environment;
  • During construction, direct employment and flow-on permanent employment post-construction for tourism businesses, accommodation and associated service businesses and trail maintenance;
  • Post construction potential to stimulate permanent ongoing employment through businesses supporting the activity and other visitor services industries such as bike hire, trail maintenance, accommodation and hospitality;
  • A level of rider accessibility, challenge and enjoyment consistent with rider expectations and needs;
  • Improved visitor satisfaction in parks and towns where trail infrastructure is established or upgraded;
  • Develop a sense of ownership by local trails groups and volunteers to support ongoing trail maintenance;
  • Facilitate the aspirations of the local Aboriginal community in terms of training, employment, heritage interpretation and business development; and
  • Potential for development of a range of mobile and web-based applications and online resources for trail users.

No. All land tenure will be either State Government or Local Government (LGA).

The trails will allow greater community access to engage with the region’s natural environment and cultural heritage, and therefore learn about and appreciate the importance of these values. Interpretative signage and other print and digital information products will raise awareness and connect trail users to opportunities to support environmental and cultural advocacy. 

GET IN TOUCH

Want to know more about the project, or want to leave some feedback? We’d love to hear from you!

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