G21 Adventure Trails
With its spectacular natural landscape, close proximity to Melbourne and strong population growth in areas such as Geelong and the Surf Coast, the G21 region possesses a unique advantage to grow the ‘adventure tourism’ sector, offering visitors authentic, memorable and engaging experiences.
Already it is a leading trail destination. There are a number of prominent trails of varying standards, including four of international standard, catering to all skill levels. The trail network also offers an impressive calendar of trail based events and international sporting events. This attracts visitors from both within and outside the region.
Typically, individual trail developments have occurred in isolation from other trails across the region. As a result, there is a lack of physical and promotional linkages between trails throughout the region and a range of trail construction and maintenance standards.
The Growing Adventure Tourism initiative has a vision for the G21 region ‘to be recognised as Victoria’s premier trail destination with a range of trails and cycling touring routes that offer exceptional natural adventure experiences’. It will do this by:
- providing higher quality visitor experiences that will encourage extended stays in the region
- better managing access and visitor activity in sensitive areas
- improving access to affordable outdoor social and physical activities.
This strategic framework responds to previous haphazard planning, and rethinks the way trails in the G21 region are developed, managed and marketed.
This aligns with Victoria’s Trails Strategy 2014-2024 vision for Victoria to be recognised as a leading trail-based destination that provides a diverse range of quality trail experiences for visitors, strengthens the economy and improves the health, wellbeing and lifestyle of the community.
The Growing Adventure Tourism initiative identifies four strategies:
Strategy 1 - Invest in leading trail experiences that define the region’s offering
Great Ocean Walk, Surf Coast Walk, Forrest Mountain Bike Park and You Yangs Mountain Bike Park have been prioritised for investment.
Strategy 2 - Recognise the importance of supporting trail experiences in extending length of stay in the region and provide significant benefits for our community
Barwon River Parklands and Trails, Bellarine Rail Trail, Geelong Waterfront and connections, Old Beechy Rail Trail, Anglesea Bike Park and Queenscliff to Barwon Heads Coastal Trail (proposed) are supporting trails that will achieve this.
Strategy 3 - Offer high quality trails that are well designed and managed
The implementation of best-practice sustainable trail infrastructure and maintenance standards across the region will help trail managers deliver quality visitor experiences across the G21 region.
The guidelines also set a systematic and consistent approach to monitoring and evaluation of the G21 Adventure Trails, which is vital in demonstrating the economic and community benefit that these trails make to the local economy.
Strategy 4 - Undertake strategic and focussed marketing
Coordination of marketing will position the G21 region as a trails based destination.
Keith Baillie, Chief Executive Officer, Surf Coast Shire.
Benefits for Victoria and the G21 region
Implementation of the Growing Adventure Tourism initiative will:
- provide significant economic opportunities to the G21 region, creating up to 159 jobs and have an estimated economic benefit of $55 million to the Victorian economy
- provide an important role in marketing Victoria and the G21 region, particularly to the rapidly growing international nature-based tourism sector
- improve the liveability of the G21 region by developing natural assets and connecting people with their natural environment
- improve the health and wellbeing of the community by enhancing recreation facilities across the region
- ensure that environmental assets are enhanced through re-vegetation and sustainable design consideration
- enhance Victoria’s reputation as a premier trails destination, contributing to the realisation of Victoria’s Regional Tourism Strategy 2013-2016 objectives.
What has been committed
The State Government has committed:
- $3 million towards the Barwon River Parklands Partnership and Strategy development
- $80,000 towards development of the Regional Trails Master Plan (2009)
- $5.9 million towards the Great Ocean Walk
- $1.1 million towards the Bellarine Rail Trail
- $800,000 towards the Surf Coast Walk
- $500,000 towards the Old Beechy Rail Trail
- $100,000 towards the Geelong Waterfront and Cycle Connections
- $40,000 towards Anglesea Mountain Bike Park
- $30,000 towards Forrest Mountain Bike Strategic Plan (2014)
- to help Barwon Water develop 66 hectares of public parkland around the heritage-listed ovoid sewer aqueduct in Breakwater.
What is required
A Government commitment of:
- $18.9 million for Years 1-4 critical works (see below figures for breakdown).
Critical works required for ‘Leading Trails’
|Great Ocean Walk - Trail Head infrastructure||$2.8 million|
|You Yangs Mountain Bike Park - Entrance upgrade||$600,000|
|Surf Coast Walk - Stage 2 feasibility||$480,000|
|Forrest Mountain Bike Park - Master Plan implementation||$360,000|
Critical works required for ‘Support Trails’
|Barwon River Parklands||$10.3 million|
|Geelong waterfront and connections||$2.2 million|
|Old Beechy Rail Trail||$1.2 million|
|Bellarine Rail Trail||$660,000|
|Queenscliff to Barwon Heads Coastal Trail||$210,000|