It seems NSW treasurer Matt Kean is especially keen (see what we did there?) for New South Welshpeople to get their steps in. In the latest state budget, announced on June 21, not only was a cool $60 million earmarked for the creation of a whopping 91km walking and cycle track to stretch from Sydney Opera House all the way to Parramatta Park, but there has also been $57 million allocated to the creation of the Dorrigo Escarpment Great Walk. This 46km trail will explore the stunning Gondwana Rainforest of the state’s mid-north coast and include an ambitious architectural wonder, the Arc Rainforest Centre. Comprising a series of soaring curved walkways that will snake elegantly through the forest canopy, it will offer unbeatable views of this World Heritage site.
The trail itself will be divided into a two-day loop and a four-day loop, and new campgrounds and hikers' huts will allow visitors to immerse themselves in this beautifully unspoilt corner of NSW and get a restful night’s sleep as they do.
If you don’t have multiple days to spare, the new treetop skywalk at the Rainforest Arc Centre will connect visitors to the existing 6km trail of the Wonga Walk, which can be easily mastered in a day. The centre will also be a valuable educational hub, where visitors can learn about local conservation efforts and more about the Traditional Custodians, the Gumbaynggirr people.
A completion date for the ambitious plans is yet to be announced. Kean said that the project was part of the state government’s investment in eco-tourism, an ascendent travel trend in NSW. “This project will drive increased nature-based tourism in NSW, further bolstering the contribution that national parks make to the state economy,” he said.