Cycle tourism has been identified as a key priority for the region through the Hunter JO’s Strategic Plan and Advocacy Framework, presenting a fantastic opportunity to deliver regional benefit for our communities through collaborative efforts.
The Hunter JO has been advocating for a focus on cycle tourism across the region using the Shiraz to Shore cycle trail as a major drawcard. The Shiraz to Shore Cycle Trail, connects the picturesque wine country in the Hunter Valley to spectacular coastal beaches of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
This project is about creating one cycling super experience in which people can literally choose their own adventure. One of the most exciting aspects of this project is that we’re not starting from scratch. A Hunter Cycle Tourism product connects and amplifies a collection of already outstanding cycle experiences that span mountain, road, and leisure riding across The Hunter.
A unique opportunity exists to link existing and planned cycleway infrastructure, local businesses, and points of interest across all council areas; to create an integrated region wide network. We have received funding to develop a Business Case and Concept Design for the Shiraz to Shore initiative, with the outcomes detailing the proposed alignment, indicative costs, and concept designs for a shovel ready infrastructure project, broken down into stages.
This initial stage of project planning will provide a robust advocacy document to seek investment for detailed design and construction to realise Shiraz to Shore’s potential. The Business Case funding will also identify the initiatives to position the region as a premier cycle tourism destination.
The Hunter is currently a major tourism destination in NSW and Australia. Over 10 million visitors come to see the great variety of Hunter experiences every year. Tourism already provides $3 billion of GDP, and we will need much more, as the region evolves from a resource economy.
Cycle tourism is widely known as a driver of visitor spend and overnight stays. The introduction of a premium cycle tourism experience in the Hunter Region can take advantage of its flat river valley and surrounding hills for a truly accessible cycle experience for all.
Cycle tourism provides clear benefits to local communities and economies as was seen in Tasmania. Blue Derby in Tasmania, once a successful mining town dwindled to 173 residents before investing into cycle trail construction and marketing, that now attracts 138,000 visitors per year, creating 51 full time jobs and add a further $6.88 million to the economy pa according to TRC consultants.
Without a high level of fitness or skill, this experience will develop the tipping point to attract mainstream tourists to the Hunter for their next cycling adventure. In the same way people choose to ‘do Mona’ and, do all of the rest of Hobart, we believe that people will ‘do the Shiraz to Shore’ and in reality ‘do the Hunter’ and all it has to offer.
Click on the image below to access our more detailed Shiraz to Shore proposal: