Meander Valley Gazette

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$20 million tourism boost for valley?

NewsJoanne Eisemann

November 2018 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Council will submit plans for a four-day walk across Tasmania’s central plateau to the State Government in January in response to its call for the next world-class walking experience. The Premier and Minister for Parks, Will Hodgman, recently announced that the government will invest up to $20m to deliver Tasmania’s next iconic multi-day, hut-based walk.

Based on a draft by Councillor Rodney Synfield, the council’s submission is tentatively called The Great Traverse Trail, which would be accessible to disabled people. It proposes a track with two starting points on the northern slopes of the Great Western Tiers: at Western Creek and at the Huntsman, south of Meander.

The two trails join up south of Mt Ironstone before continuing across the Central Plateau, through the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, before reaching a destination at the Fish River car park near Lake Rowallan. Cllr Synfield will work with council officers on a submission complying with government criteria. “Cllr John Temple has agreed to provide photographs specified in the criteria,” he said. The council maintains the proposed trail would “pass through a variety of stunning world class features”: mountains, cliffs, high plateau country, waterfalls, lakes and rainforest.

Existing terminating tracks between Western Creek and the Huntsman would be connected via the new trail. The two person-wide track is proposed to have no steps between Western Creek and the Fish River car park, making it accessible to wheelchairs or modified quad bikes. Three huts for overnight stays would be needed along the track. The call for a new iconic walk follows a report maintaining that current Tasmanian destinations including the The Overland and Three Capes Walks are in danger of being ‘loved to death’.

Premier Hodgman said the walks had captured the world’s attention: “They are a major drawcard for visitors to go beyond our major cities and tourist attractions and spend more time and money in regional communities.” Meander Valley Council believes construction and maintenance of a new track in the area would result in a jobs flow-on to local businesses from guiding and accommodation services. The Great Traverse Trail submission will be brought to the December council meeting for endorsement.