How many cities boast a trail that richly encapsulates all of its urban and rural landscapes, communities, aboriginal and pioneering cultural heritage, all while providing for a vast array of users inclusive of walkers and runners, road riders, mountain bikers, horse riders, naturalists, and even those looking for a spot of birdwatching or fishing?
TRC Tourism consultant, Chris Ord, believes Wagga Wagga must be one of the few major population centres in the world that can proudly say it hosts such a trail, one that circumnavigates the entire city and in doing so captures its essence and heart.
“It offers an ideal way to experience the city from numerous perspectives, be that through a visitor’s or a local’s eyes,” says Chris.
Chris spent three days exploring the Wiradjuri Walking Track, a 42km trail that rings Wagga Wagga City, part of the initial stage in creating a Trail Masterplan that will help guide development of the trail over the next 10 years.
“There are so many multi-layered features that make this trail special,” says Chris. “It takes in impressive ridge viewpoints across the city and its rural landscapes; there are unique riverside and wetland environments, forest and open pastures, major points of historical interest and plenty of aboriginal and cultural sites of significance. It offers so much all within reach of a good coffee – always a selling point.”
“It’s a beautifully-woven patchwork of experiences as you move around the trail – all accessible quickly and easily from Wagga’s neighbourhoods and communities who will all benefit immensely from taking the trail to the next level,” says Chris.
“The Wiradjuri trail powerfully connects the community to landscape and environment, to physical activity and wellbeing, and to other communities. Importantly it also connects to the multitude of important stories that underpin a place they call home.”
“There is an exciting opportunity to build on what is already a great foundation,” says Chris. “Better connections, massaging of alignments, improved wayfinding, more promotion, an injection of user facilities and expanding of the cultural and heritage storytelling – if we can deliver a Masterplan that provides a pathway to these aspects and more, Wagga Wagga will have itself a truly outstanding trail attraction.”
The Wiradjuri Trail Masterplan will guide approaches to future alignments and design, infrastructure, sustainability and environment, management, maintenance and promotion. It will also provide guidance on how to activate the trail and better-service a wide variety of users, while also assisting events and local businesses in leveraging the community asset for growth.