The opportunities for cycling tourism are endless following the completion of the final stage of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, Australia's longest continuous hiking, cycling and horse riding trail.
A successful campaign by the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association and the local council saw $3.34 million in funding from the Queensland Government and Federal Government awarded in 2017 to complete the final section between Toogoolawah and Moore.
With the full trail now open for business, Somerset Regional Council estimates that the completed rail trail will increase direct tourism in the region by $1.5 million per annum, bringing an additional 4,000 overnight visitors to the region each year.
Opening opportunities for employment, new local businesses are also in the process of establishing themselves along the rail trail ready to capitalise on the growing potential for cycle tourism.
Starting at Wulkuraka Station in Ipswich, the 161km off-road Brisbane Valley Rail Trail winds its way up the Brisbane Valley through farmland, forests, rural settings and quiet country towns before arriving in Yarraman. The trail is popular with people who ride bikes, trekkers and horse riders.
The trail travels through Somerset, South Burnett, Toowoomba Regional and Ipswich City local government areas linking Wulkuraka, Fernvale, Lowood, Coominya, Esk, Toogoolawah, Harlin, Moore, Linville, Benarkin, Blackbutt and Yarraman.
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann welcomed the completion of the trail, telling the Queensland Times, "We are welcoming new development and tourism businesses in our region with open arms," Cr Lehmann said.
"Of course, developments must still meet all the necessary requirements and have approvals from the relevant departments but the opportunities for new tourism businesses to establish themselves in Somerset is at an all-time high.”
"There is demand, there is opportunity and there is plenty of visitation from cyclists, horse riders and hikers keen to experience this fantastic new asset."
There are currently more than 100 rail trails across Australia with Victoria hosting the most at 39.
To learn more about Australia's existing and planned rail trails, visit Rail Trails Australia.
Image courtesy of Rail Trails Australia.