Australia’s mountain bike scene is growing and small regional towns are jumping on the bike!
Tropical North Queensland may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of mountain biking. But a new multi-million dollar plan may just turn the sleepy towns of Eungella and Finch Hatton in the Mackay hinterland into a mountain biking mecca.
The Mackay Council have big plans to create world-class trails that wind through the cool tropical rainforest of the hinterland and connect the two small towns.
The council are keen to make the Mackay Region a year-round adventure destination, with Mayor Greg Williamson hoping the new trails will outdo what’s already out there in Aus.
‘We’re aiming to have the best downhill trail in Australia,’ he said.
The first stage of the project is expected to cost $3 million and will cover the land purchase engineering and design of 30km of trails, with plans for one epic 30km downhill trail to come in the second stage.
The region is blessed with warm weather all year long, so there’s no stopping mountain bikers from enjoying the region’s soon-to-be trails whenever they fancy!
Iain Masters from the Mackay District Mountain Bike Club says Mackay is perfect for mountain bike-based tourism.
‘We have a very long riding season — it’s essentially all year.’
Although Mackay won’t see international tourists any time soon, Mr Masters says COVID-19 and lockdown have stemmed an increase in the number of Aussie mountain bikers.
‘With COVID, sales of mountain bikes have been going through the roof,’ he said.
Once the project opens it’s expected Mackay will see an extra 18,000 visitors a year, with up to 30,000+ annual visitors once the trails and additional infrastructure are in full swing.
The council will consult with local Indigenous groups and the State Government to address the environmental impacts of the project before starting work on the downhill track.
For a bit of insight into exactly how these kinds of trails are constructed tune into the We Are Explorers podcast where we chat to Simon French, a mountain bike trail designer from Tassie, who’s constructed trails around the world.
Photos thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland