TRC Tourism headed to the Noosa Hinterland this week to assess the Noosa Trail Network, a collection of ride, walk and equestrian routes exploring the fertile ranges and valleys to the west of the Sunshine Coast.
TRC Consultant, Chris Ord, took to an eBike to make his way around the majority of the network, to audit and assess for input into the Noosa Trails Strategy, which will guide the direction of trail development, experiences and sustainability over the coming 5-10 years.
“As we often find on these kinds of assignments, there is so much opportunity to leverage some stunning landscapes via trail development and curation,” says Chris. ‘It’s just a matter of identification and prioritisation. Figuring out what to keep, what to rationalise, where to develop new product, how it all links and how that could all be funded and maintained.”
He nominates the trails linking the small villages of Pomona and Cooran, with view aspects of the 400+m Mt Cooroora (home to the legendary King of the Mountain trail run), as being amongst his favourite experiences, along with lookouts in the Woondum Forest, and atop Tinbeerwah, and the established Wooroi mountain bike trails.
“But they are just the beginning of what could be a comprehensive and connected suite of trails for all users – visitors and residents alike,” says Chris, who notes that the Sunshine Coast community is known for being particularly active in the outdoors. “The great weather helps encourage an active lifestyle,” says Chris, who notes that tourism and residential user bases are equally important in the thinking around the Trails Strategy.
“In the north-west there already exists a bunch of great horse trail links with fabulous views back over the region making for some nice touring and a welcoming town in Kin Kin. For bike riders and walkers, there’s are some fun linking trails but the network remains a little inconsistent and fragmented in terms of a cohesive experience.
“What is exciting is the upcoming handover of some previously harvested forest regions such as Ringtail – which still boasts swathes of untouched rainforest – and the opportunity to establish upgraded networks within that space to then link in to the stunning Tewantin National Park and back to established trail hotspots like Wooroi and Pomona.
“Then there’s the opportunity to create some first class new trails that will fill the current gap in experience offering, especially utilising some of the ranges that offer elevation and interest in terms of topography and environment, remembering that the entire region is of special interest in terms of biodiversity.”
“The main focus will be to really hone in on identifying the zones where sustainable trails can be established, linking them together for a more cohesive experience that will draw greater visitation to the area and offer local users more variety and consistency in terms of trail experiences – even taking some pressure off Wooroi, which as the only curated MTB offering is already at capacity. It just shows that demand is there for a refresh, redesign and upgrade of the local trails network.”
TRC Tourism is working to finalise the Noosa Trails Strategy in partnership with trails consultancy, Common Ground, who has spent the last 12 months assessing trails in the region.