The concept plan for the Batemans Bay Coastal Headlands Walking Trail was originally prepared in 2010 – 11 years later, official on-the-ground work has begun.
The 14.5 kilometre walking trail runs on beaches and headlands from Batehaven’s Observation Point south to McKenzies Beach.
Work began with the upgrading of some fairly rough and ready stairs at Casey’s Beach. A majority of the work will be similarly low impact, such as tidying up the existing track and ensuring all current infrastructure is at an acceptable standard.
But one of the major projects that will be starting soon is the upgrade of Observation Point. This will include a wheelchair-accessible viewing platform, upgraded lookout points, integrated cultural and historical information, both Aboriginal and European, and formal car parking and picnic areas. The idea is that this will serve as the trail’s gateway.
Eurobodalla Shire Council’s senior project engineer George Workman said the central idea is to enhance the nature trail that is already there.
“There’s probably about two or three kilometres where we will need to deviate from existing tracks because it’s either a little bit unsafe, too close to private properties, or we could just put it in a nicer spot,” Mr Workman said. “However, we will be looking to avoid taking trees or destroying any vegetation other than weedy species.”
Mr Workman described the trail as a “piecemeal project”.
“It’s not a project where we can start from one end and work through to the other, there’s a whole slew of heritage and environmental approval processes to go through,” he said.
The trail is being built with $5.25 million from the Commonwealth and NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, $672,000 from Building Better Regions Fund, $145,000 from Bushfire Regional Tourism Fund, $75,000 from Stronger Country Communities Fund, and contributions from the Rotary Club and council.
Coastal and Flood Management Planner at Eurobodalla Shire Council Norman Lenehan explained what the investment would bring to the region.
“There are many beautiful beaches in Eurobodalla and people think ‘well that’s Eurobodalla’ but we’ve got all these beautiful bushy headlands and a lot of natural features that many people don’t see,” said Mr Lenehan.
“They’re open to locals but there’s tourism infrastructure to open up our coast and give people alternatives.”
He believes formalising the track will give the community ownership, and re-engage locals.
All works are due to be complete by June 2023. More information about the project, including an interactive map of the route, is at the Eurobodalla Shire Council website.