By Jared Loughnan and Emma Prior
Yarrawonga Mulwala will further tap into the lucrative cycling and walking tourism market with both council’s planning to embark on significant projects linking the towns to attractions and other destinations.
A 45km trail from Mulwala to Corowa is already in the pipeline, the established tourism trail from Yarrawonga to Silverwoods is almost complete and Moira Shire Council is now budgeting to install a new cycling/walking trail to link Yarrawonga to Burramine.
Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism & Business Executive Noel Wright said the new trails benefit everyone.
“These trails will provide us with a new tourism product attracting a growing market we do not currently have,” Mr Wright said.
“This is a big market bringing with it many benefits to the local economy which we will all benefit from. They will be exciting projects that can’t come quick enough.”
Major works on a new retaining wall, tourism trail, new vegetation and jetties adjacent to River Road were completed late last year as part of the Yarrawonga Tourism Trail, a shared pathway improving pedestrian access from the current traffic bridge on the foreshore through to the Silverwoods development. The project, auspiced by Moira Shire Council, is jointly funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Packages, Murray Darling Basin Authority and Silverwoods developer, Lotus Living.
In the Federation Council area, trail specification and tender documents are still being prepared for the 45km bike/cycle trail between Mulwala and Corowa.
“This will be ready to go tender in time for construction later in the year,” Federation Council’s General Manager Adrian Butler said.
“Council is also working on a signage plan which includes interpretative signs, marker posts, wayfinding and regulatory signage.”
The 45km trail was one of several projects included in an overall NSW State Government-funded $11 million worth of projects for the Federation Council area in April 2018.
Businesses to the west of Yarrawonga are set to benefit from the Yarrawonga to Burramine trail if Moira Shire Council’s application for a grant from the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program is successful.
Cr Peter Lawless said council applied to the Federal Government under round two of the program for the project with a funding application for $450,000 with the total project budget to cost $750,000, with council making up the difference.
No timeframe however has been announced on the beginning of construction.
“If successful with the application, this project would be the initial stage of an aspirational goal to link Yarrawonga and Cobram with cycling and walking trails including substantial lengths of riverside trails,” Cr Lawless said.
“This initial stage would see a 13.5km trail installed along the Murray Valley Highway between Yarrawonga and Burramine.
“The project aims to capitalise on Yarrawonga as an established tourism destination.”
The trail will include three hospitality/tourism businesses operating along that stretch of road therefore offering destinations or points of interest along the route.
The project will also benefit the tourism businesses along the trail and in the neighbouring townships through extending a visitor’s length of stay with the flow on boost to the economy and employment.
“In addition to benefiting the regional economy, the project will also provide enhanced opportunities for active recreation and connecting to the magnificent Murray River for locals,” Cr Lawless said.
“The proposed route includes numerous existing links to the Murray River Park, which means it offers various size loops so can accommodate walkers and cyclist of all ages, abilities and fitness levels.”
With a number of businesses set to benefit from the track, owners expressed their joy and view on what the future will look like with the track.
Rich Glen Olive Estate owner Ros Vodusek said the track is an exciting project and it will be a great addition for the town and tourists alike.
“It is exciting…what I have learnt over the years is the most memorable experiences are the simple things in life - quality time riding on a safe picturesque track to me sounds amazing,” Mrs Vodusek said.
“I just had a beautiful vision of a family riding from Burramine homestead back into town with a bike basket full to the brim of local produce and a picnic rug ... so many smiles.”
Shayne Preer from Airtree Golfers Resort said the trail is welcome news and he is looking forward to seeing it starting as soon as possible.
“Hopefully council is successful with the grant application and they can start to get things moving.
“The trail will not only benefit local business, but it will further provide the thousands of visitors each year a much safer and passive access to the Murray River parklands. The Murray Valley Highway’s shoulder is not sufficient for them to bike ride on at the moment.”
Mr Preer said he would also like to see council forward plan a similar trail from Yarrawonga to Bundalong.
“As a former resident of Bundalong I am still very keen to also see a tourism trail link out to Bundalong from Yarrawonga. Both trails do not take much work and the economic benefit would be huge.”
Mr Preer said he hoped local tourism trails would eventually link up to the North East rail trails which would open up further economic benefits.
Byramine Homestead & Brewery owner Nicole McPherson is also looking forward to another attraction being added to the area and a safe way for cyclists to visit the businesses along that stretch of the Murray Valley Highway.
“We are very excited to have the walking/cycling track coming to the Byramine Homestead & Brewery,” owner Nicole McPherson said.
“What a great day out for the locals and visitors; to set off from Yarrawonga on foot or bike and meander their way along an amazing trail. The track will expose our business to a whole new demographic of holiday makers.
“Cyclists will now be able to add the Yarrawonga – Burramine trail to their bucket list of rides. We look forward to welcoming visitors from the trail.
“It will be another great attraction for the Yarrawonga Mulwala region and will increase the overall visitor numbers to our towns.
“We currently have some cyclists visit on the weekends however it is extremely dangerous for them on the Murray Valley Highway. The new trail will provide a safe and enjoyable track for all.
“Campers who stay on the many beaches along the Murray behind us will really enjoy the track also. The new track will allow them to ride or walk between their camp, us and the other attractions along the trail safely.
“The Byramine Homestead & Brewery would like to thank the Moira Shire for funding the Yarrawonga – Burramine trail. It will be enjoyed by so many for years to come.”