Proposal: To extend the Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi Trail from Albany to Esperance
This discussion paper is based on the successful 2017 Nationals WA State Conference Motion:
The Nationals WA commit to the development of the extension of the Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi Trail along the south coast from Albany to Esperance.
The south coast between Albany and Esperance is an incredible stretch of coastline, with turquoise water, stunning white beaches, unique wildlife and dramatic landscapes including the Porongurup, Stirling Range, Fitzgerald River and Cape Le Grand national parks.
A recreational trail extending from Albany to Esperance would complement the existing Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail, both of which are already popular with hikers and mountain bikers.
Nature tourism is booming and active holidays, including walking and cycling, are increasing in popularity. Naturebased tourism forms a significant component of Australia’s tourism economy, ranking among top travel motivators for international visitors to the country.
Nature-based tourism is leisure travel undertaken largely or solely for the purpose of enjoying natural attractions and engaging in a variety of nature-based activities. In the year ending June 2016, 68 per cent (or 5million) of international visitors to Australia engaged in some form of nature-based activity.
Physical and mental health continues to be vitally important to the general wellbeing of West Australian communities and trails in all their forms provide a valuable outlet for exercise, education play, challenge, recreation and adventure. Trails also improve awareness and appreciation of the natural environment and build support for its conservation and protection.
Trails are increasingly important as visitors – both international and domestic – look for interesting and challenging experiences as part of their holidays and travels. Quality trails have the ability to create “trail towns”, “trail centres” and “trail networks” which embrace and benefit communities on an economic, tourism, health and social level.
Through the Royalties for Regions program, The Nationals WA have a long history of supporting community driven trails projects, including the Munda Biddi Trail extension, Warren Blackwood Stock Route and Torbay Rail Trail.
The Nationals WA commit to the development of world class hiking and mountain bike tracks along the south coast from Albany to Esperance focusing on:
- Track and trail alignment to utilise the existing track network around Albany and Fitzgerald River National Park
- Installation of new tracks and trails for one contiguous route.
- Development of existing towns into track and trail hubs creating new business and employment opportunities.
- Naming of the tracks and trails in recognition of local cultures and history.
- Utilise ‘best thinking’ design in track and trail infrastructure such as visitor huts and low environmental impact options.
- Promote the region as a tracks and trail destination both nationally and internationally.
- Support complimentary transport options that create employment and facilitate access to tracks and trails.
With the aim of developing the tracks and trails routes and to further identify opportunities and benefits, consultation will occur with:
- South coast local governments, communities and businesses
- Tourism WA, Australia’s South West and local tourism operators
- Relevant State and Federal government departments
- Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail foundations
- Indigenous groups and tour operators
- Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence
- Westcycle, Outdoors WA and other end user groups