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Cooloola Great Walk

The Cooloola Great Walk highlights the Sunshine Coast’s stunning natural environment, unique wildlife and ancient cultural heritage.

Project overview

We are delivering this new tourism experience by working together in a collaborative model with Traditional Owners, councils and tourism operators.

Establishing low-impact, best practice ecotourism facilities along the Cooloola Great Walk enhances one of Queensland’s national park long distance walking experiences.

Tourism supports over 35,000 jobs and is an important industry for the Sunshine Coast. The Queensland Government is supporting the future of the region through sustainable growth, protecting the environment and delivering new ecotourism experiences for visitors.

View the Sunshine Coast Tourism Region Destination Tourism Plan for further details on tourism direction for the Sunshine coast.

About the Cooloola Great Walk

The Cooloola Great Walk, Great Sandy National Park is an existing 102-kilometre walking and camping experience that links Noosa North Shore with Rainbow Beach.

Visitors can discover perched lakes, ancient sand dunes and a diverse range of ecosystems including coastal woodlands, heathlands and rainforest, each boasting unique flora and fauna.

The existing trail is a rough Grade 4 track with steep and sandy sections and recommended for experienced walkers. Visitors can walk the trail over five days and camp in designated walkers’ camps along the way. Shorter walks and separate four-wheel driving tracks are available through the Great Sandy National Park.

The Opportunity

The Queensland Ecotourism Trails program is designed to enhance the existing Cooloola Great Walk and its public infrastructure and amenity. The additions could include nature-based tourism offerings such as low-impact eco-accommodation, guided tours and additional bushwalking experiences.

The Cooloola Great Walk presents a world-class opportunity to:

  • showcase the natural and cultural values of a cherished part of regional Queensland to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits to local communities and Queensland
  • support Traditional Owner businesses, existing local businesses and creating new business opportunities
  • underpin long-term growth for the Sunshine Coast and strengthening community resilience in regional areas
  • provide stronger appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal culture through unique, contemporary and engaging experiences
  • new local jobs to the region with the opportunity to develop and enhance local skills and increase diversity of regional jobs
  • enhanced passive surveillance and report on uncontrolled activities
  • enhanced monitoring of species and pest and weeds management
  • a new funding sources and reinvestment to contribute to preserving, protecting and presenting national parks and their cultural heritage
  • provide long term employment and business opportunities for Traditional Owners and their future generations

Explore the existing Cooloola Great Walk on the Department of Environment and Science website.

Benefits

  • Showcase Queensland’s natural beauty

  • Increase understanding of Indigenous culture

  • Create local jobs opportunities

Frequently asked questions

  • What kind of ecotourism offerings could feature along the Cooloola Great Walk?

    The Queensland Ecotourism Trails program is designed to enhance the existing Cooloola Great Walk and its public infrastructure and amenity. All facilities along the trail must be delivered in accordance with the Department of Environment and Science’s Ecotourism Facilities on National Parks –implementation Framework and Best Practice Ecotourism Development Guidelines.

  • Where does the Cooloola Great Walk start and finish and what facilities will be built on the trail?

    Proposed facilities include improved public infrastructure, low-impact eco-accommodation and low-impact communal spaces. The guided walk will start in the vicinity of Camp 4 and end at Double Island Point.

  • Who is the Preferred Proponent?

    The Queensland Government has selected CABN as the Preferred Proponent for the Cooloola Great Walk. With existing operations in South Australia and Victoria, CABN will provide off-grid, sustainable eco-accommodation.

  • What environmental approvals are still required?

    The State will facilitate obtaining approvals across Local, State and Federal Governments and assist the proponent with the local government approvals to facilitate in the delivery of the project. This is expected to take until end of Q3 2020.

  • What benefits will flow to the Cooloola National Park and the region?

    Benefits of the enhanced Cooloola Great Walk may include:

    • a new funding source and reinvestment to contribute to preserving, protecting and presenting national parks and their cultural heritage
    • long term employment and business opportunities for Traditional Owners and their future generations
    • enhanced passive surveillance and reporting on uncontrolled activities
    • enhanced monitoring of species and pest and weeds management
    • new local jobs to the region with the opportunity to develop and enhance local skills and increase diversity of regional jobs
    • support of existing local businesses and the creation of new business opportunities
  • Will there be a cap on visitors given limited campsites?

    The number of walkers using the existing Cooloola Great Walk walkers’ camps are capped due to the number of campsites available. Final plans for the eco-accommodation component of the Cooloola Great Walk may include caps on walkers to ensure an excellent ecotourism experience, visitor comfort, and safety.  This does not affect the number of walkers able to traverse the Cooloola Great Walk.

  • Will the track be open to mountain bike riders, horse riding or motorbikes?

    The Cooloola Great Walk is designed for walkers only. 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.

  • Have the Traditional Owners of the land been engaged?

    The Queensland Government has been engaging with the Traditional Owner, the Kabi Kabi People in relation to the Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism since July 2018.

    The Cooloola Great Walk is designed to provide visitors with an immersive cultural experience with Traditional Owners continuing to play an active role in the trail planning, development, maintenance and operation. The collaborative model between governments, tourism operators and Traditional Owners aims to deliver long-term job and business opportunities for Traditional Owners. These opportunities could include rangers, guides, chefs, service staff, artists and the supply of goods and services.

  • How will the Cooloola Great Walk benefit existing businesses?

    Queensland Ecotourism Trails aims to deliver cultural, environmental, social and economic benefits to Queensland and the regions.

    The Cooloola Great Walk will deliver a world-class ecotourism experience with direct benefits to regional Queensland businesses and local Traditional Owners.

  • Will there be other opportunities to be consulted and involved?

    Additional community consultation processes will be undertaken as part of Local, State and Federal Government approval processes. Tourism Development Projects Division will continue to meet with stakeholders, industry and community members about the Cooloola Great Walk.

  • Will the public be able to visit the Cooloola Great Walk and access the public campsites?

    Yes, the Cooloola Great Walk public camp sites remain open to the public. Other walking tracks within Great Sandy National Park remain open to the public with information and trail alerts available from the Department of Environment and Science’s Find a park or forest website.

Community engagement

Between 31 May 2019 and 22 August 2019 the community was invited to share their ideas and knowledge on the Cooloola Great Walk to help shape its future planning. Input and feedback from the consultation was sent to the project’s shortlisted Proponents to help them deliver a world-class eco experience.

Contact us

  • Online form
  • Phone: 1800 959 989 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm AEST)
  • Mail:
    Tourism Development Projects Division,
    Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development,
    PO Box 15168, City East, QLD, 4002

Last updated: 11 Feb 2020