$25m adventure trail closer

By Tyla Harrington

ECHUCA-MOAMA is one step closer to having a multi-sport adventure trail along the Murray River.

The project received $500,000 in the Victorian Government budget last week to go towards the $25 million juggernaut initiative.

Which, if developed in its entirety, would be the longest land and water trail in the world.

The Murray River Adventure Trail will run along the length of the river within the Murray tourism region in Victoria and NSW, using land and water to incorporate walking, cycling, kayaking/canoeing and other forms of water transport.

Murray Regional Tourism chief executive Mark Francis said the funding would go towards the next stage of planning.

‘‘It’s for planning and development work which is great and is a step in the right direction,’’ he said.

‘‘Basically what we have done is develop a short list of stages, given the project is so large.

‘‘We did some consumer research which identified the people who are not visiting the Murray region were really interested in trails, tracks and nature based experiences.

‘‘So the aim is to drive new visitors to the region but also increase the length of stay.

‘‘It’s a large project but an exciting one because it has high potential to drive visitors to these regions.’’

The trail extends from Lake Hume, near Albury Wodonga in the east to Mildura, Wentworth in the West.

The land-based path (for cyclists and walkers) is around 1040km, while the water-based trail (for kayakers and other craft) is 1390km.

‘‘Because there’s so many stages, it’s a long-term seven to 10 year plan, by the time it’s actually implemented,’’ Mr Francis said.

The trail will create employment opportunities in the initial construction and through the attraction and development of new tourism products associated with the trail; attract and extend the length of stay of 110,000 visitors to the Murray region annually; be used 200,000 times per year by local residents; and generate annual output of $12.8 million and 71 jobs per annum in the region’s economy.

‘‘There’s been some significant investment from state and local governments,’’ Mr Francis said.

‘‘We’re definitely interested in securing federal funding in the future so we will be looking at working with both state and federal governments going forward.’’