Trail joining Port Douglas to Palm Cove could be ‘Australia’s most breathtaking’


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Wangetti Trail could connect Palm Cove to Port Douglas along the picturesque Captain Cook Highway. IMAGE: Supplied.

THE Douglas Shire is on the cusp of enhancing its reputation as a destination for adventure, eco and active leisure travellers with the proposed development of the $21.25million Wangetti Trail.

The 76km trail will start at Palm Cove and weave its way through coastal rainforest towards Port Douglas, and has the potential to become a major tourist drawcard. It will run parallel to the Captain Cook Highway with exit points along the way.

An economic study, which formed part of the initial concept plan, estimated 28,000 mountain bikers and walkers will use the trail annually, generating an estimated input of $10.4 million a year for the region.

The Wangetti Trail is planned to link with the Northern Beaches Leisure Trail, an off-road cycling and walking path from the Cairns CBD to Palm Cove to be constructed by Cairns Regional Council. Various accommodation options, including five huts located at overnight campsites, are also proposed.

Today, Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the Wangetti Trail is destined to become one of Australia’s most breathtaking nature trails.

“And I can confirm that Council is working with Cairns Regional Council to formulate a joint project working group including stakeholders from our Council, Cairns Regional Council, State and Federal Government officers and traditional owners.

“The project working group will be tasked with identifying potential funding for the design, construction and management of the Wangetti Trail; and investigate marketing and promotional opportunities,” said Leu.

She added Council is currently finalising its budget for the new financial year which will include a financial contribution to help establish and support the aims of the joint project working group.

Responding to Douglas Shire Council’s support, along with the aforementioned stakeholders, Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said this is a key milestone in the life of the project.

“This is where we resolve to put our heads together and push forward with a strategy to make it happen.
“There is a lot of work to be done but we’ve put our support behind the concept and we look forward to working with Douglas Shire Council and all the stakeholders toward making the trail a reality,” he said.

Cairns Regional Council has agreed to allocate $50,000 in the upcoming 2017-18 Budget toward the cost of the next stage of feasibility development.

A priority recommendation within the Tropical North Queensland Regional Mountain Bike Strategy, the Wangetti Trail is identified as having the potential to be a world-class wilderness trail, running parallel to the coast from Palm Cove to Port Douglas.

The Australian Government has already shown support for the project by providing funding through the Community Development Grants Program towards the concept development.

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