‘Ride where our ancestors once walked, Girramay Country’
The Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Trails Project (the Trails or the Project) includes the proposed development of a new 94 kilometre, 26-trail mountain bike network in picturesque national park and World Heritage rainforest in Cardwell. The Project is focused on establishing the region as a ‘Ride Destination’ and integrates and promotes the unique cultural heritage of the local Traditional Owners, the Girramay Peoples.
The Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Trails Project is driven by the Cardwell community and their ambitions to establish Cardwell as a ‘Ride Destination’.
In September 2019 the first of a number of community-led meetings were held which, with strong local support and Traditional Owner representation, progressed the community representatives to engage Council to partner in taking the project forward.
Council support came with a commitment to funding of $50k in November 2019. This investment was matched by the Queensland Government – Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport to facilitate the Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Trails Concept Plan and Feasibility Study.
World Trail Pty Ltd were engaged to provide a feasibility assessment of Cardwell as a ‘Ride Destination’. To measure the potential of Cardwell as the location for a world class mountain bike trail network, one that would generate significant social and economic benefits to the region through bike tourism.
Following the Feasibility Study Council has continued to partner with Girramay and community on progressing a Business Case assessment for this project, the next stage towards delivering a world class mountain bike trail network in Cardwell.
The Business Case
The Business Case, as guided by recommendations of the Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Project Feasibility Report, was asked to consider operations / maintenance and revenue generation models necessary to support funding towards the Detailed Design and Build stages. The Business Case included continued engagement with the Girramay People Aboriginal Corporation - Traditional Owners, the Cardwell community representatives (Cardwell Mountain Bike Trails Group), and other Project Group stakeholders including Queensland Government, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Services, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, HQ Plantations.
The strong support for the Trails and the sense of enthusiasm amongst the local community and key stakeholders continues, and this was evident throughout the preparation of the Business Case. The Project was recognised on a national scale in 2022 through the Australian Government’s National Awards for Local Government, with the following quote - “A small community with deep pride for its culture has come together to take on one very ambitious goal – to be Australia’s next big ‘Ride Destination'."
The Business Case considers the Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Trails Project a significant opportunity to address the socio-economic challenges of Cardwell, generating increased tourism expenditure which will promote economic growth and enhanced prosperity in Cardwell and the broader Cassowary Coast and Tropical North Queensland region. In developing this Business Case, the work confirms the strategic opportunity of the Trails, and identifies a commercial, operational and maintenance model for the project.
The Business Case provides a foundation for seeking future funding support to progress the recommendations and this community-led initiative to Detailed Design, Approvals and Due Diligence (Preconstruction).
Project Features, Benefits and Next Steps
“This Cardwell Tropical Mountain Bike Trails Business Case was developed with the support of the Queensland Government in association with Cassowary Coast Regional Council and the Cardwell community and the Girramay Peoples Aboriginal Corporation.”
Cardwell Trails Concept
Only a short ride from Cardwell central is the Mountain Bike Park Trail Head which opens to the 26 individual trails linked across three main areas. Locations leverage the natural elevation on offer, at Attie Creek, The 7 Sisters (also known as Elphinstone Range), and the Cardwell Lookout.
Two events zones are set amongst the trail network, with shuttle access to key points so riders can make the most of their time on trail.
Set amongst Cardwell State Forest and Tropical Rainforests natural features such as waterfalls, fresh water swimming holes, and lookouts are some of the on-trail highlights. Off trail it is a short ride to Cardwell restaurants, bars, cafes, and accommodation. Apre-ride Cardwell is perfectly situated for visitors to explore and enjoy some of Australia’s best experiences – Hinchinbrook Island, Great Barrier Reef, Barra-fishing, Kirrama Range Road, Murray Fall, Dalrymple Track and the Girringun Art Centre to name a few.
Based in Cardwell the Mountain Bike Trail network will be a new attraction for Tropical North Queensland, adding a world class network to the regions mountain bike offering.