It’s no secret that the Peel region boasts a stunning and diverse natural environment with geological features and unique ecosystems, making the growing popularity in trails tourism a significant opportunity for economic growth.
Positioning the region as an iconic trails drawcard and building a critical mass of tourism and trails infrastructure, will deliver crossregional economic benefits and create jobs. Western Australia has seen exponential growth in participation in outdoor recreational activity increasing demand for access to quality trails in close proximity to the main population base in Perth and Peel. This trend is in line with global trends which show a growing adventure tourism market, presenting an additional opportunity to attract international visitors to the Peel.
The vision for trails in the Peel, as defined in the Regional Investment Framework, is of supporting Peel as a tourism destination with a corridor of natural and built attractions that create an epicentre for walk trails, mountain bike trails, horse riding trails and adventure centres. Linking trails across the region and between regions, as well as creating central hubs providing public amenities, information points, camping facilities and gathering points means more people using our trails network with greater community, social, cultural, economic, environmental, health and wellbeing outcomes.
Capitalising on its iconic landscapes and variety of trail experiences from scarp to sea, the Peel region attracts tourism visitors, adventure seekers and trails enthusiasts for day visits, short breaks and extended holidays.
With the development of Peel’s trails infrastructure, more visitors will be able to enjoy the full range of quality trails and associated activities.
These include mountain biking, hiking, running, bush-walking canoeing and four-wheel-driving, as well as incorporating heritage, food and wine and eco tourism opportunities unique to Peel.
Trails are economic development engines for local economies and businesses. Evidence from around the world cites the long-term benefits of trails and more specifically trail hubs, in creating jobs, contributing to sustainable economic growth and helping to grow stronger communities.
1. Dwellingup National Trails Centre Project and Dwellingup Adventure Trails
In the heart of the Peel region, Dwellingup is well on its way to becoming a key town in WA’s trails network. The redevelopment of the History and Visitor Centre into a Trails and Visitor Centre will provide a central meeting place for trails users with a range of trail associated facilities and amenities. The addition of a Hotham Valley Tourist Railway viewing platform overlooking a turntable, is better positioning the town’s rail trails as a central feature of Dwellingup’s tourism offering.
An adjacent pump track and skate park were opened in April 2019 and an attractive central walkway that connects the various components along with associated landscaping including barbeques and shelters, will complement the redevelopment of the Centre.
The Dwellingup Adventure Trails project will see significant investment in trails infrastructure with upgrades to mountain bike trails and the Captain Fawcett 4WD Track, canoe access points along the Murray River and a suspension bridge.
2. Byford Trail Centre
The Byford Trail Centre is the top priority trail for the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale. Situated on the western edge of the Darling Scarp, the Wungong Trail is renowned for its dramatic slopes, gorges and seasonal waterways providing spectacular views over Perth City and the Swan Coastal Plain. Development of the Wungong Trail Centre represents economic potential, tourism opportunity, value of the trail experience and demand with the rapid growth of the Byford population. Such a significant population growth will result in an increased demand in both unstructured and organised recreational and tourism opportunities.
3. Sea to Scarp Trails
The Shire of Waroona has teamed up with the Shire of Murray and has a vision of becoming an integral part of the Overall Peel Trails Initiative. The Shire has the capability to provide a range of recreational and adventure activities which would attract visitors not just to the Shire, but to the Peel region.
The Peel Regional Trails Strategy 2019 identified sea to scarp trails in the Waroona area of Peel, including bushwalking, urban walking, trail running, mountain biking, cycling, equestrian, paddling, four-wheel driving and trail biking. Two priority trail opportunities for the Shire of Waroona include;
- A shared use trail linking Lake Navarino to Drakesbrook Weir (with linkages to the Bibbulmum Track and Munda Biddi Track)
- A cycle trail linking Waroona and Hamel
4. Peel – Yalgorup Wetland Trails
The Peel-Yalgorup Wetlands Trails is comprised of two interrelated elements — the Yalgorup National Park and the Peel-Harvey Estuary trails. A partnership between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the City of Mandurah, is developing a Yalgorup National Park Recreational Master Plan to identify and map suitable nature-based tourism activities within and adjacent to the Yalgorup National Park. It will also provide a detailed analysis of the infrastructure investment required to enable new nature-based tourism development within the Park.
5. Hotham Valley Rail Trail
As recommended in the Peel Regional Trails Strategy 2019, the Hotham Valley Rail Trail will connect the Eastern most point of the Peel region and create a trails link and visitor flow between Dwellingup and Boddington via the rail reserve, as well as providing Boddington with a connection to the Bibbulmun Track. Additionally, this regionally significant trail will provide trail users coming to the Peel region from the Albany Highway with a more diverse trails option. This new trail and connection is the top priority trails initiative for the Shire of Boddington.
Peel an epicentre for walk trails, mountain bike trails, horse riding trails and adventure centres.
This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Spring/Summer – vol 5.2 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.