Rail trail linked up, connecting region with tourists
A PLAN more than 20 years in the making has become a reality while connecting the missing link along the South Burnett Rail Trail, and joining it to the Brisbane Valley Trail.
Back in 1998, the mayor of the Nanango Shire at the time, Reg McCallum, shared a dream with a few fellow councillors of creating a horse track down the Blackbutt Range.
Thanks to the help of Heritage Bank, which donated more than $15,000 towards the project, Mr McCallum, now 92, was able to officially open the Yarraman to Kingaroy section of the South Burnett Rail Trail.
Heritage Bank representative David Kenny said it was thanks to Mr McCallum's original idea that the section was able to be opened.
"It's been like a slowly evolving flower,” Mr Kenny said.
"First it became the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, and then the Kingaroy to Kilkivan Rail Trail.
"And now the link here today has joined the two to create a 305km ride.”
Opposition Leader and Nanango MP Deb Frecklington also made an appearance at the official opening, and said there was nowhere else she'd rather be.
"We now have the longest continuous cycle trail in Queensland from Wulkuraka and Kilkivan,” Ms Frecklington said.
"What an exciting day for the South Burnett. There really is no greater part of the world. I'm really proud of this.
"We wouldn't be here without former councillor and shire chairman Reg McCallum. It was his idea that made this possible.”
Ms Frecklington said she couldn't wait to see what the new link would do for South Burnett's tourism industry.
"Now we're going to have people riding through Nanango,” she said.
"That means they're going to be looking for places to stay, and to get coffee, and to eat.
"This will open up all kinds of tourism opportunities for the South Burnett.”
Mr Kenny said the trail from Yarraman to Kingaroy was a 55km journey all up.
"In reality it's much more than just a 55km ride,” he said.
"It is a joining of the two great bush rides in south Queensland.”
Mr Kenny said it was now possible for anyone to take their bike on a train and get off at Ipswich.
"Then from Ipswich they can take off for a four- or five-day adventure in the bush,” he said.
"Overnight we now have access to an immediate market of over two or three million people riding through the South Burnett, so the tourism potential in that is now a reality.”
Mr Kenny said he would like to see an app established for users of the rail trail.
"It would then show users all of the hotels, motels, Airbnbs, cafes, pubs, wineries, and more,” he said.
"This link has opened up the South Burnett to the whole world.”