Trailblazing plan for walking and biking tracks

Minister for Tourism and Sport The Honourable Michael Healy
  • $750,000 invested in future development of five new and existing bushwalking and mountain biking trails across the state
  • More than 100,000 Queenslanders are regularly mountain biking, double the number since 2016, while 424,000 Queenslanders like to participate in bush walking
  • Pilot program is funding trail planning in the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Cardwell, Mackay, Redlands/Logan and Townsville/Hinchinbrook regions.

With the popularity of bushwalking and mountain biking surging, the Miles State Government is working with local councils and stakeholders to plan and improve new and existing tracks and trails across the state.

Seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand dollars is being invested in planning for the future development of six trails in a pilot Tracks and Trails program rolling out this year.

The Queensland Government is working collaboratively with local councils, mountain bike groups, local Traditional Owners, the private sector and regional communities.

The plan will deliver genuine ecotourism experiences, unlock new income streams for the preservation and management of parks, and support long-term environmental, economic and social benefits.

Cairns Regional Council will be provided $150,000 to investigate sites on the renowned 60 kilometres of rainforest trails within the Smithfield Mountain Bike Park to improve future operations and maintenance.

Another $150,000 will support Mackay Regional Council’s planning for stage two of the Pioneer Valley Mountain Bike Trail. Stage one, a purpose-built trailhead, pump track and 14.5 kilometres of trails in Finch Hatton is currently under construction. The second stage is proposed to be 82 kilometres of trails in the subtropical rainforest from Eungella to Finch Hatton

A third $150,000 is being invested in planning stage three of the Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Trail which is being delivered by Cassowary Coast Regional Council. This proposed 94-kilometre network includes a 26-trail mountain bike network through the national park and World Heritage rainforest around Cardwell.

$150,000 is also being invested to undertake further due diligence in the proposed 127 km trail from Paluma to Wallaman Falls. The trail would travel along the traditional language and storylines of the Warrgamay and GuGu Badhun first nations people and link to Australia’s largest sheer drop waterfall.

A further $75,000 will assist the development of an early-stage feasibility study into the Daisy Hill koala conservation trails and $75,000 will support an investigation into the viability of the proposed extension of the Atherton Trails.

The 2023 Ausplay survey from the Australia Sports Commission revealed a massive increase in bushwalking activity among Queenslanders over the past seven years from 258 000 to 424 000 in 2023, while mountain biking participation grew by an extraordinary 110% from 48 000 to 101 000.

Quotes attributable to Tourism and Sport Minister Michael Healy:

“We know Queenslanders love bushwalking and mountain biking.

“We are working collaboratively to develop a network of great trails and tracks across the state where people can get out and get active in our beautiful rainforests, mountains, beaches and bush.

“These tracks and trails are exceptional drawcards for visitors, and we want our network to be at the forefront of international ecotourism.

“We plan to preserve our natural wonders, while at the same time offering immersive experiences in the unique ecological diversity of Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to Cairns Mayor Terry James:

“Mountain biking is an important part of the local tourism market and has the potential for significant domestic and international growth.

“The Smithfield MTB trail network is already well established and has previously hosted world class events including the UCI World Championships in 2017. In the last couple of years, we have seen even more interest in the sport with the advent of Crankworx Cairns.

“However, there is still more room for growth, which requires further investment in the Smithfield trails. A Tropical North Queensland Mountain Biking Market Analysis report (2021) identified that mountain biking related tourism had the potential to generate an additional $95 million per annum in visitor spend.

“Council has developed a Smithfield Mountain Bike Park Expansion Concept report, which proposes an expansion of the Smithfield trail network from 30 kilometres to 82 kilometres. This is needed for the Smithfield trail network to compete with national and international mountain biking destinations.

“This contribution of $150,000 from the State Government is welcome and will allow Council to finalise the business case for the proposed expansion and bring it closer to being shovel ready.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Springwood Mick de Brenni:

“What’s special about this project is that it’s a vision of a broad group of community leaders working in collaboration, and I’m just so proud to see us really get going.

“The Koala Coast Ecotourism Trail Project across Redlands and Logan will open up one of the longest mountain biking, walking and horse-riding trail networks in the nation, and we look forward to the project partners working together to deliver it with this help from the Miles Government.

“This State government support to the project means we can deliver the feasibility study, including draft maps and project costings, so we can secure funding sources for project delivery and construction.

/Public Release. View in full here.