Saturday, April 21, 2018

Spectacular ride comes at a cost

Tourists will pay $50 a day to use new world-class mountain bike trails planned for Central Australia, planners have revealed.

The ambitious $12 million scheme, which is specifically designed to attract cashed-up tourists to the Red Centre, was unveiled by the Northern Territory Government in February.

Now the state’s Parks and Wildlife Commission has revealed the estimated cost of using the trails will sit at around $50 per day, per person.

The system is expected to rival the Moab in Utah or the Blue Derby in Tasmania, neither of which charge users for access.

Locals shocked at the price of access are calling for special dispensation to ride the Red Centre Adventure Ride once it is completed in 2019.

Marty Kreig of the Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory told ABC Radio Australia: “The Red Centre is an iconic part of the Australian environment, the colours are pretty spectacular, people will want to ride here.

“It’s anticipated that once the project is complete, it might take a few years for the numbers to build, but we’re anticipating it might be something like 20,000 users a year.

“The economic analysis was done of the basis of a $50 per person, per day fee, and then there’d be additional costs for accommodation, and there would be a range of accommodation from pretty basic camping through to luxury camps.

“It’s very much focused on tourism, tourism is the driver here.”

The new trails will traverse through the West MacDonnell Ranges starting at Alice Springs Desert Park, winding through mountains and valleys to finish at the permanent waterhole at Glen Helen or Orimiston Gorge.

The plan includes luxury four and five star accommodation experiences on a series of exclusive sites, including Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole and Glen Helen, as well as camping options along the way.

Known as ‘Tjoritja’ by the traditional owners, The West MacDonnell ranges are also home to the Larrapinta trail.

The parks service has worked with traditional owners, the Central Land Council and the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to devise the trails, and to develop economic and cultural partnerships.

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