Kuranda could soon become a new mountain bike hub after an online petition was launched to expand mountain bike tracks across the region.
Tony Trafford is the man behind the petition to put Far North Queensland on bike rider’s maps and he believes that the Far North has the potential to be the number one mountain bike destination in the world.
“The idea came after a ride in Smithfield with some friends; I said it’s an idea that really needs to happen. I said someone should do something, because nobody had, so I thought I should be that someone,” Tony said
“We started a petition to get the state governments support through our website.
“David Crisafulli the Shadow Minister for Tourism David will be tabling the idea in Parliament on July 17.”
Stage 1 of the mountain bike master plan is to add 55 kms of bike trails around the Smithfield area.
Stage 2 – Is to upgrade the Kuranda downhill and stage 3 is adding Skyrail extensions using the Skyrail access road and then adding all the links together.
Tony says “The trails will only be about 40 – 50 cm wide so we don’t need to cut down trees, we could be ready within three months.”
“We want to have over 120 km’s of mountain bike trails across the entire Far North and then people will come and stay in Kuranda. With that many bike trails, they will stay 4 -5 days to try all the different tracks.
“Most people only ride for the 3-4 hours per day so after their ride, they will drive to Davies Creek or Mareeba or Atherton to have a look around.”
According to Tony, the tipping point is 85-90 kms of trails “If you have that amount of trails with various difficulties it becomes a real mountain bike destination like it is in Tasmania and New Zealand.”
“At the moment Skyrail doesn’t have the capability to fit Mountain bikes onto their gondolas, but we have been talking to them about the way the gondolas work with the mountain bikers in Queenstown New Zealand.”
“The Mountain Bike economy is always there and we are looking at this like a ski resort, where people can buy season passes and use the different trails all year round.
“Our vision is to attract 50,000 to 75,000 domestic and international mountain bikers to our region, injecting $35-$50 million per year into the local economy.
The master plan includes an upgrade the Kuranda Downhill to attract a wider variety of riders, including Improving the Black Trail, a new medium level Blue Trail and a new Green Trail for beginners.
Eleven-time Australian National Champion and 2019 Mountain Bike World Cup champion Tracey Hannah says she trains on the Kuranda downhill course almost daily and that opening up the trails would be a boon for Kuranda and Far North tourism.
“At the moment it’s not the easiest place to ride, we sometimes get locked out of the trails and that’s why it has never really taken off,’ she said
“In 2016 when I raced in the world championship here, the trail was locked and we couldn’t even practice on it.
“When you race on a track overseas you think ‘these people are going to have a home track advantage’ we don’t get that when racing here, we don’t get that support as the tracks are gated off.”
Ms Hannah says that if rules were relaxed and more trails opened up it would encourage more visitors and a mountain bike riding community in the region.
“I used the Kuranda track to train on to become the World Champion, so expanding it would not only bring tourists but some of the top-level riders from around the world to train and ride here.”
Petition organiser Mr Trafford said there’s also other options and opportunities for Kuranda “We could have trails starting in Kuranda and going to Stony Creek or the Barron Gorge and if riders can get their bikes onto the gondolas, Kuranda would also be used for bikes and food supplies.”
“It could be a great lifeline for Kuranda.”
To sign the petition go to http://www.skytrails.com.au/