Mountains of Trails

By Sam Forbes

Omeo’s outstanding natural assets are set to attract visitors for a healthy holiday in the great outdoors with new mountain bike and walking trails.

According to East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor John White, there is cause for great optimism in the Omeo region as “mountain biking is one of the fastest growing adventure tourism markets in Australia”

A staggering 121 kilometres of shovel-ready trails in the Omeo region have been designed and assessed through a masterplan and business planning process – Omeo Mountain Bike Destination Business Case.

Image montage: Omeo Mountain Bike Complex masterplan

In Gippsland, the Omeo plan is part of a broader push for the adoption of tracks and trails as one of the region’s points of difference. Agencies from across government and community sectors including the Latrobe Valley Authority, Destination Gippsland, the Gippsland Local Government Network, the Gippsland Mountain Bike Club are working together to coordinate a network of trails that take in the landscapes and experiences of Gippsland.

The Omeo project area is located on Crown land currently managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria, and the Mount Mesley Reserve encompassing Livingstone Park managed by Council.

Image by Sam Forbes: Livingstone Creek Public Park and Recreation Reserve

Trails will weave through the historic Oriental Claims gold mining area, which has been preserved for tourism, the picturesque Livingstone Creek, and the rugged Mount Mesley and Mount Sam.

The Business Case promotes the potential for this strategic investment in Omeo could reinforce the link between East Gippsland and North East Victoria, which already experiences large amounts of biking, hiking, food, and rural experience type tourism.

Mountain Biking has proved a tourism boon for small towns in Australia most notably in the former tin mining town of Derby in Tasmania.

In an ABC News article, Derby was described as having undergone a transformation after major investment in mountain biking. This investment included the development of new food and beverage outlets, accommodation, and bike stores.

Following drought, fire and uncertainty in the timber industry across the region, the boost from mountain biking could help to build towns like Omeo into a year-round tourist destination.

Image: Gippsland Tracks & Trails Feasibility Study, Gippsland Mountain Bike Club Inc.


Related reading: Campbell Telfer of Sale has been recognised for his achievements in Downhill Mountain Bike Racing. Campbell has gained selection for the World Championships in Austria.

Cover image: Blue Derby mountain-bike trails (Traveller)

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