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Wangetti Trail

The Wangetti Trail will be one of Australia’s leading adventure based ecotourism experiences, attracting visitors on an international scale.

The Queensland Government is delivering the $41.4 million Wangetti Trail in Tropical North Queensland. $33.4 million of State funds has been allocated to the construction of the trail complemented by the Australian Government’s investment of $8 million into the project from the National Tourism Icons Program.


The project has been made possible by funding from the Australian Government and Queensland Government.

© Queensland Government

Project overview

The trail will enhance conservation and protection while delivering environmental, social and economic benefits to local communities and Queensland.

Approximately 94-kilometres in length, local and international visitors will enjoy the dual-use walking and mountain biking track through Tropical North Queensland’s coast and hinterland from Palm Cove to Port Douglas. The trail will provide a one-of-a-kind experience of the region’s Aboriginal cultural history and stunning coastal and hinterland scenery of the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef.

The Attracting Tourism Fund supported the seven kilometre ‘Mowbray North’ component of the 94 kilometre Wangetti Trail, with $5.7 million.


  • Create new ecotourism experiences

  • Generate economic and social benefits

  • Better protection and maintenance of our National Parks

Further benefits include

  • New funding and re-investment sources to preserve, protect and present  national parks and their cultural heritage
  • Better controls to limit damaging and uncontrolled activities within parks including feral animal management
  • Long term job and business opportunities for Traditional Owners and their future generations
  • Enhanced connection to Country whilst ensuring its protection and preservation
  • Stronger appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal culture
  • Underpinning long-term growth and liveability in the Tropical North and building regional community resilience
  • Supporting Traditional Owner businesses,  existing local businesses and new business opportunities
  • 150 new local jobs created as well as opportunities to develop local skills and increase the diversity of regional jobs
  • Potential to host domestic and international competitive sporting events, such as mountain-biking competitions.

Trail Route

The detailed alignment for the Wangetti Trail was released on 8 April 2019. Upon completion, the Wangetti Trail will stretch approximately 94 kilometres and is expected to be ‘Grade 3’ (medium difficulty) for walkers and ‘More Difficult’ for mountain bikers, providing an accessible but challenging offering for visitors.

The Trail may feature public campsites or privately-operated low-impact eco-accommodation at five locations. All facilities along the trail must be delivered in accordance with the Department of Environment and Science’s Implementation Framework: Ecotourism Facilities on National Parks and in line with Best Practice Ecotourism Development Guidelines.

Access points for emergency services, rangers and park operators are proposed to utilise existing tracks and trails near the Wangetti Trail alignment and may change over time subject to environmental assessment and approvals.

Proposed Wangetti alignment map - July 2020 (PDF, 1.3MB)

Summary of each section of the trail:


Approximate Length



117.1kmPalm Cove to Campsite 1Shared trail takes in open ocean views via 2km link to Ellis Breach and open eucalypt woodland vegetation with a proposed public camp site at approx. 17.1km.



Campsite 1 to Wangetti Township

Wangetti Township trail access point may serve as respite for visitors.



Wangetti to Campsite 2

Shared trail starting at Wangetti township, with ocean views, open Eucalypt woodlands, rainforests, swimming holes and waterfalls



Campsite 2 to Campsite 3

Slow descent from Pinnacles outlook summit to take in ocean views, open eucalypt woodlands, rainforests, swimming holes and waterfalls



Campsite 3 to Campsite 4

Slow ascent from the coastal ridgeline over the escarpment and deep into the rainforest plateau, swimming holes and waterfalls



Campsite 4 to Campsite 5

Ridgeline trail through rainforests, swimming holes, waterfalls and open Eucalypt woodlands



Campsite 5 to Port Douglas

Descent from the ridgeline down to the Mowbray River following it to its mouth with ocean views, mangrove boardwalk and beach trail along Four Mile Beach to Port Douglas

Frequently asked questions - trail routes

  • How long will the trail take to construct?

    Delivering an iconic ecotourism experience like the Wangetti Trail requires extensive planning and engagement, with multiple stakeholders and environmental considerations. Subject to approvals, completion of the Wangetti Trail is targeted to be operational in 2022.

  • Have the Traditional Owners of the land been engaged?

    The Queensland Government has been engaging with the Traditional Owners in relation to the Wangetti Trail since July 2018.

    The collaborative model between governments, tourism operators and Traditional Owners aims to deliver long-term job and business opportunities for Traditional Owners. These opportunities extend beyond the land to all aspects of the tourism industry, for example, as rangers, guides, chefs, service staff and artists.

  • How will the Wangetti Trail benefit existing businesses?

    The Ecotourism Trails Program aims to deliver cultural, environmental, social and economic benefits to Queensland and the regions, building community resilience for Traditional Owners and their future generations.

    The Wangetti Trail aims to deliver a world-class international ecotourism experience with direct economic benefits to regional Queensland and local Traditional Owners, potentially attracting thousands of local and international visitors annually.

    Up to 150 new local jobs will be created including opportunities  to develop local skills and increase diversity of regional jobs.

  • Will the Wangetti Trail be open to horse riding or motorbikes?

    No. Queensland Ecotourism Trails are designed, to the greatest possible extent, to be ecologically sustainable and aimed at preserving and protecting community resources, and their natural and cultural values for future generations.

    The Wangetti Trail will extends through two World Heritage areas, in which visitor safety and environmental protection of sensitive ecosystems are top priorities, so the proposed Wangetti Trail is designed for walkers and mountain bike riders only.

  • Has the alignment changed over time?

    The Government is currently engaging with the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy and Cairns Regional and Douglas Shire Councils to secure development approvals for the delivery and operation of the Wangetti Trail.

    Following early engagement with these authorities, Campsite 1 proposed near Hartley’s Creek has been removed for environmental reasons and the section of trail from Palm Cove to Wangetti has been reinstated as a shared use trail with a public campsite proposed at the approximate mid-point. Visitors may elect to walk the full trail from Palm Cove to Port Douglas or complete either the northern or southern sections of the trail at their discretion.

    The alignment of the trail has been extensively surveyed by ecologists, environmental planners and engineers and other technical experts.

  • Has the Queensland Government secured the appropriate approvals to commence the Wangetti Trail?

    The Queensland Government is in the process of securing a number of significant environmental approvals for the delivery of the Wangetti Trail. This includes working with local authorities, Local, Federal and State Government to secure approx. 19 approvals required for the Wangetti Trail to move forward with construction.

    All appropriate approvals will be secured prior to construction works commencing on the trail, and a detailed design process will assist in informing some of these approvals.

  • How will the environment be protected during construction?

    The trail must be delivered in accordance with the Wet Tropics Management Plan, requirements under the Nature Conservation Act (1992) and other environmental approval conditions.

    The Queensland Government has also prepared a construction methodology manual that will guide the trail builder on the preferred infrastructure, methods and materials for building the trail within protected areas.

  • How is the project funded?

    The Queensland Government is providing $41.4 million from the State Budget to fund construction of the Wangetti Trail in Tropical North Queensland. This is complemented by the Australian Government’s investment of $8 million into the project from the National Tourism Icons Program.

  • Is the trail in a national park or the wet tropics World Heritage area?

    The first section of trail will traverse through the Macalister Ranger National Park which is located wholly within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Community consultation

Following months of intensive fieldwork, planning and investigations, the Queensland Government released further information on the Wangetti Trail. Between Monday 3 August 2020 and Friday 11 September 2020 members of the community were invited to submit their ideas and comments on the trail.

The community consultation undertaken in August and September 2020 is subsequent to the first round of consultation undertaken from 8 April 2019 to 31 May 2019.

Feedback received from both rounds of consultation is helping to inform project concepts and planning as it progresses into the next stages.

Design and construct tender

A design and construct (D&C) tender for the first stage of trail construction works was released on 23 June 2020. The tender was for an approx. 32km walking and mountain biking trail from Palm Cove to Wangetti, including a public camping area and a daytrip trail to Ellis Beach.

Subject to approvals, the investigations, survey and design works are set to commence by the end of 2020 with construction to start in early 2021. All works will be subject to conditions of the environmental approvals to protect and preserve the environment and cultural heritage.

The tender documentation was available on the Queensland Government’s QTender website from 23 June 2020 to 20 August 2020 and it is anticipated the contract will be awarded by late September/early October 2020.

Delivery of the Wangetti Trail has been split into a number of works packages which suit the specialist skills of targeted builders and contractors accordingly. Following the D&C tender of the first stage of the trail, from Palm Cove to Wangetti, tenders for the remaining sections of the trail will be released in due course. This information will be available on our website and tenders will be released via the Queensland Government’s QTender website.


Q2 to Q4 2018

Feasibility: Queensland Government announced its support of the Wangetti Trail, a proposed dual-use track in Tropical North Queensland stretching along the coastal plains and mountain hinterland between Palm Cove and Port Douglas

Business Case: Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development develops a Business Case with a leading local trail design and construction company appointed to design the alignment

Q3 to Q4 2018

Walk through and engineering design: Local trail designers complete walk through of the trail and engineering design of the alignment, working closely with Traditional Owners, specialist consultants and engineers

March 2019

Mowbray North Announcement: Queensland Government announces $5.7 million investment to complete the seven kilometre ‘Mowbray North’ component (Port Douglas south to the Mowbray River) of the Wangetti Trail, with construction scheduled to commence in Q4 2019

8 April to 31 May 2019

Trail Alignment and Community Engagement: Detailed alignment of Wangetti Trail released for public comment

June to July 2019

Registration of Interest: Interested parties were invited to register their interest in delivering eco-accommodation and tour guidance along the Wangetti Trail, demonstrating track record in delivering world-class, ecotourism experiences

July 2019

Mowbray River bridge tender released. Works include a new pedestrian bridge, pedestrian underpass and viewing platform

Q2 2020

Anticipated lodgement and public notification of Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 referral application

Q2 - Q3 2020

Trail construction tender period: Release and award of construction tender(s) for the Wangetti Trail subject to securing development approvals.

Late 2020

Trail construction commencement: Development approvals secured and construction anticipated to commence

Eco-Accommodation Operator Expression of Interest: Shortlisted proponents from the Registration of Interest stage to be invited to express their interest in the project by developing their concept and proposal, including opportunities for Traditional Owners


Trail Operational: Trail operational and open to the public

Last updated: 21 Aug 2020