GRAMPIANS Tourism has released a master plan for its proposed $27.5 million Grampians Peaks Trail.
Grampians Tourism, Parks Victoria and Tourism Victoria first mooted the idea for the 144-kilometre walking track in 2010.
The trail will go from Mt Zero in the north of the park to Mt William in the centre and then down towards Dunkeld.
Eleven hiker camps will be built along the route for walkers. Camps will be at Barrigar, Briggs Bluff, Lake Wartook, Mt Rosea, Barbican Rocks, Mt William, Stockyard Saddle, Yarrum, Mt Christabel, Cassidy Gap and Mt Abrupt. Grampians Tourism expects it will attract an additional 23,000 people a year.
Chief executive Will Flamsteed said the plan would be released for community consultation with information sessions at Wartook, Dunkeld and Halls Gap.
“The more stakeholders and the general public understand about it and the value it will bring to our region, the better,” he said. Mr Flamsteed said the project would require significant funding to establish the tracks and camping areas.
Construction costs are estimated at $6 million for the northern section, $12.5 million for the central section and $9 million for the southern section. “We are looking for state government funding to complete a major section of the trail,” Mr Flamsteed said.
Grampians Tourism estimates trail construction will create 120 jobs, and indirectly another 90 jobs.
Mr Flamsteed said the trail would be a ‘game-changer’ for visitors to the Grampians.
“Half of our problem is attracting new investment to the region and new investment creates new jobs and new experiences for tourists,” he said.
The proposal was discussed at Horsham Rural City Council’s meeting on Monday.
Cr Heather Phillips said she was excited about the proposal.
“It is a visionary project and it will become a walk that people want to do to challenge themselves,” she said. “Now is the prime time to build this trail. It will be a magnificent, iconic walk.”
Cr Tony Phelan said while tourism in the Grampians National Park was good, it could be better.
“People are going there, but the accommodation places are not getting people on extended stays because there are no big walks for them to do,” he said.
“This is a great idea — it will be a winner.”
Cr Mark Radford said he had hesitations about the project.
“I’m concerned about building accommodation on the mountains — because with that comes more roads, toilets and sewerage,” he said.
— Wimmera Mail Times