Grampians Peaks Walk
11 May 2015
$27million for Grampians Walking Trail
Articles in a number of local newspapers have recently announced that a consortium of local Grampians shires and councils have finalised a deal with the state government to fund a $19million share of a $27million project to create 144 kilometres of walking tracks around the Grampians. The project is to be called the Grampians Peaks walks and is planned to connect the major peaks in the Grampians including Mt Zero, Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon via a series of walking tracks. A comment from one of the local councillors in the Hamilton Spectator stated, “The full trail will provide walkers with an adventurous 13-day and 12-night walk with hikers’ camps strategically located for overnight stays.”
Local councillors have enthusiastically welcomed the development and have compared the new development with Cradle Mountain“ development in Tasmania commenting, “Once this trail is complete, word-of-mouth will lead to more tourists, particularly from Melbourne, heading to the Grampians,” What wasn’t mentioned, is the project will take until 2025 to complete, and while the announcement seems to indicate this is brand new undertaking, it is actually been in progress for a number of years and the first stage of the project from Halls Gap to Borough Huts had already been funded by the previous liberal government is currently under construction. In addition, the walk will use nearly 70 kilometres of existing walking tracks so the project already 50% complete.
Also when you look closely at the all of the details, the Grampians Peaks Walk is aimed at a very small elitist group of walkers who enjoy camping rough, sleeping in tents and carrying back packs through the bush. The Grampians Peaks Walk is basically a wilderness walk where tourists using the track, will camp in one of 12 designating camping sites, and will bring their own cooking and camping equipment and apart from a bush toilet at each site there will be no other facilities. Local businesses expecting this project to bring financial benefits to the region will be very disappointed as tourists using this track will not be spending very much money in local shops or on local accommodation.
The other problem lies with the lack of any plans for supporting infrastructure along the walk and although the master plan models itself on places where accommodation is provided, e,g, Cradle Mountain walk in Tasmania and Milford Sound walk in New Zealand, Parks Victoria has a dismal track record in providing any facilities. They already administer two other walks, “The Great Southwest Walk” established in 1981, and “The Great Ocean Walk” established 2006, and during a period of 34 years and 10 years respectively, neither of these walks have added accommodation or any other tourist amenities which would be needed to bring them up to a standard required to appeal to international visitors and therefore these walks are predominantly used by local bush walking clubs, and if the Grampians walk fails to provide a reasonable level of service then it too will become another waste of tax payers money.
Bold Master Plan for the Shipwreck Coast
12th March 2015
40 Minutes and 18 Cents
The Corangamite shire has recently released what it calls a bold master plan for the tourist areas from Princetown to Peterborough. The plan comes hot on the heels of a recent survey which shows the average tourist to the 12 Apostles spends 18 cents in the area and stays for just 40 minutes.
This is simply because the vast majority of tourists come to see the 12 Apostles via bus from Melbourne - they get on the bus early in the morning and travel to the 12 Apostles get off the bus, walk around for about an hour then get back on the bus and go back to Melbourne
The Corangamite shire plans to address this situation by creating a Park And Ride hub where the visitor would get off the bus ( or in cases where they arrive by private vehicle they would park their car) and take a “green-powered” shuttle bus to visit a number of attractions between Princetown and Peterborough, thus according the shires plan it would give visitors a more leisurely experience. The plan includes re opening Glenample homestead which was closed in 2007 due to lack of interest and also to create a series “visitor pods”at locations along the coast - and while no one know quite what a visitor pod it sounds quite impressive.
Typical of many “Government Thought Bubbles” it seems no one has actually thought this plan through - The 12 Apostles during the busy holiday season can have over 1000 visitors on the site so how many green powered shuttle busses would be needed to ferry tourists back and forth over a distance of about 25 kilometres, and also who is going to provide and run a small fleet of Shuttle buses, and more importantly who will pay
The plan also doesn’t address the amount of time available to visitors arriving by bus and simply providing a fleet of shuttle busses won’t make people stay any longer, anyone who arrives on a bus will need to be back in Melbourne by 8 or 9:00pm, so this idea is not going to make visitors stay any longer.
The plan to re opening the Glenample Homestead as a providore style café also reeks of hypocrisy, as the shire has only just ended a massively expensive nine year legal battle with Parks Victoria because they objected to the 12 Apostles visitor centre selling any sort of food and now they want to set up a cafe about 1 kilometre away.
Some councillors have expressed concern about the project with one councillor stating while some people would view the draft blueprint as “a visionary thing” others might say “we have got rocks in our head”
We have a fair idea of what most people will think !!
Tourism in Australia is controlled by three tiers of government (local, state and federal)and decisions made by them have far reaching effects on how visitors Our editorial policy is to present a balanced view of tourism and to examine some of the decisions made by all three tiers of government - too many publications are simply reprinting government media releases without checking their impact or making any sort of constructive analysis of the proposals.
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