Queensland launches iconic ecotourism venture

Spicers Scenic Rim Trail, an five-day ecotourism experience in South East Queensland’s Scenic Rim has been approved by the Palaszczuk Government and will welcome its first walkers later this year.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones on Friday 22 February inspected the first range of eco-cabins, which will soon be installed as part of the Scenic Rim Trail.

Minister Jones said the planned 55 kilometre trail, extending from Mt Mistake to Spicers Peak Nature Reserve through parts of Main Range National Park, takes in sub-tropical rainforests, eucalypt forests and mountain heathlands.

“Ecotourism just makes sense for Queensland,” Minister Jones said. “That’s why we’re working with tourism operators to deliver projects that will create jobs and pump millions of dollars into our economy.

“We also know that projects like this will have a positive impact on our environment in the long-term. By showing more people the natural beauty of our rainforests, we’re promoting conservation of our national parks.”

Construction of the walking track and eco-cabins will take around six months to complete, with the first tourists expected in late 2019.

Minister Jones said Spicers Scenic Rim Trail was an example of how private sector ventures and the Queensland Government could work together to share the state’s natural beauty while also ensuring the preservation of natural conditions and protection of cultural resources.

Privately-funded by Queensland’s Turner Family with an investment of $10 million, the Scenic Rim Trail will extend existing walking tracks and include two new sustainable eco-camps, as well as improvements to public camping and hiking facilities.

The project was proposed in response to a Queensland Government initiative to facilitate ecotourism in the state’s National Parks. Main Range National Park contains one of 42 reserves making up the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area (GRAWHA).

The Turner Family owns and operates several eco ventures in the Scenic Rim region, including three nature refuges comprising around 5,500ha of protected land. They also established the $20 million Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, at Grandchester, to lead wildlife research and conservation efforts.

Founder of Spicers Retreats and Spicers Scenic Rim Trail Jude Turner welcomed the government’s approval of the project.

“Having grown up in the region, my passion has always been to share it with others,” she said. “I’m a passionate walker and I believe there is great benefit to disconnecting from city life and spending time in nature.

“I felt that Queensland deserved to be represented in the Great Walks of Australia collection with an experience that could rival guided walks in other parts of Australia and New Zealand. The Spicers Scenic Rim Trail will do just that.”

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