Skip to content

Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail

Project overview

The Townsville region welcomed a record 1.4 million domestic overnight visitors in the year ending March 2019, a 31.9% increase compared to the same period a year ago. The Queensland Government is supporting the future of the region through sustainable growth, protecting the environment and delivering new ecotourism experiences for visitors.

About the Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail

The Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail is a proposed 125km walking and mountain biking trail in the Paluma Range National Park and Wallaman Falls region. The land on which the proposed Trail stretches has a unique cultural heritage and spectacular natural attractions such as Wallaman Falls, Australia’s tallest single drop waterfall.

A $450,000 injection of Commonwealth–State funding allows for engagement with Traditional Owners, development of a strategic business case and refinement of the proposed trail alignment. Tourism Recreation Conservation (TRC) Tourism was engaged to assist in the development of the strategic business case with the support of a Project Working Group with representatives from:

  • Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport (Chair)
  • Traditional Owner groups — Gugu Badhun, Nywaigi, Warrgamay
  • North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (Secretariat)
  • Local councils — Townsville, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook
  • the Department of Environment and Science
  • Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
  • Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government, and Planning
  • Townsville Enterprise Limited.

COVID-19 presented significant challenges to the development of the strategic business case throughout 2020 and 2021. The Queensland Government has been working with TRC Tourism and Traditional Owners to implement strategies that will allow critical feasibility, alignment, and engagement activities to proceed with a safe and respectful approach. The strategic business case was finalised in June 2022.

The proposed Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail would complement the region’s diverse portfolio of natural attractions including beaches, rainforest, islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. The Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail could be delivered as a Traditional Owner cultural product which would offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience a deep cultural immersion through learning the Dreamtime history of the region while walking the Trails that have existed for thousands of years.

To explore Wallaman Falls in Girringun National Park, visit the Department of Environment and Science.

Benefits of the proposed Trail include:

  • Create sustainable employment and business opportunities for Traditional Owners
  • Exemplify best practice ecotourism principles, promoting environmental awareness and creating community benefits
  • Stimulate economic and local employment opportunities
  • Build the destination profile of North Queensland and increase visitation and expenditure in the region.

Developing new ecotourism trails in National Parks are significant undertakings. The Queensland Government is reviewing the strategic business case to consider options for potential support.

Benefits

  • Supporting local jobs

  • Creating new experiences

  • Growing the local economy

Frequently asked questions

  • The Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail could showcase the region’s stunning natural environment, unique wildlife and fascinating ancient cultural heritage through additional tourism offerings and a collaborative model between Traditional Owners and tourism operators.

    This project could offer Traditional Owner led cultural experiences, lookouts, activities such as guided walks, public campsites and could include privately-operated low-impact eco-accommodation.

  • The Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail is a proposed 125km walking and mountain biking trail in the Paluma Range National Park and Wallaman Falls region. The Strategic Business Case stage of the project allows for staging of trail development as well as refinement of the trail alignment and the assessment of other tourism products.

  • Delivering an iconic ecotourism experience like the Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail requires extensive planning and engagement, with multiple stakeholders and environmental considerations. Whilst the Strategic Business Case proposes an implementation framework and delivery program, Government then needs to consider options for potential support.

    In December 2020, TRC Tourism was engaged to prepare the Strategic Business Case which included conducting detailed fieldwork and technical investigations into the feasibility of the proposed trail alignment, tourism product and alignment with broader local strategic planning initiatives and nearby infrastructure.

    The COVID-19 disruption to domestic travel and need to protect vulnerable Indigenous communities restricted the project team’s ability to undertake these critical foundation activities and TRC Tourism’s delivery of the Strategic Business Case throughout 2020 and 2021.

  • The Queensland Government was approached by a collaborative group of local Traditional Owners, a Paluma region tourism operator and Townsville Enterprise Limited with the project proposal and a draft concept plan.
    The concept plan was developed through funding provided by the three local councils of Townsville, Hinchinbrook and Charters Towers.
    The Queensland Government and the local councils are now collaboratively working with Traditional Owner groups on the Strategic Business Case and cultural heritage.

  • The Queensland Government and the local councils are collaboratively working with Traditional Owner groups on the Strategic Business Case and cultural heritage.

    Government will also work with the Traditional Owners to assist them to identify their aspirations for the area and to identify possible business and employment opportunities that could arise from the Trail.
    The land of the proposed Trail has a special cultural heritage and could present an opportunity to provide visitors with an immersive cultural experience and share the stories of the Traditional Owners of the land. The Traditional Owners will play an active role in the trail planning, development, maintenance and operation.

  • The Queensland Ecotourism Trails Program is designed to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits to regional communities, Traditional Owners and to Queensland. Key benefits include:

    • Long term job and business opportunities for Traditional Owners and their future generations
    • Stronger appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal culture through unique, contemporary and engaging experiences
    • New funding sources and reinvestment to contribute to preserving, protecting and presenting national parks and their cultural heritage
    • Supporting Traditional Owner businesses, existing local businesses and creating new business opportunities
    • Bringing innovative tourism offerings to Queensland that capture new market share with potential for thousands of new overnight stays each year
    • Bringing new local jobs to the regions with the opportunity to develop and enhance local skills and increase diversity of regional jobs
    • Enhanced monitoring activity of key areas such as protected species, pests and weeds
    • Underpinning long-term growth and building community resilience in regional communities.

Timeline

December 2019

Project announced


December 2020

Engagement of TRC Tourism: Following restrictions on domestic travel and Traditional Owner engagement due to COVID-19, TRC Tourism, an international tourism, recreation and conservation consulting firm, engaged to refine and assess the proposed project scope


2021

Strategic Business Case activities: The COVID-19 disruption to domestic travel and need to protect vulnerable Indigenous communities restricted the project team’s ability to undertake critical foundation activities and Traditional Owner engagement. This had a significant effect on TRC Tourism’s ability to finalise the Strategic Business Case

The Queensland Government has been working with TRC Tourism to implement strategies to allow the progression of critical Strategic Business Case and Traditional Owner engagement activities with a respectful and COVID safe approach across the later of 2021 and beginning of 2022.


Mid 2022

Delivery of final Strategic Business Case: consideration of options for Government support

Contact us

  • Online form
  • Phone: 1800 957 852 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm AEST)
  • Mail:
    Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport,
    PO Box 15168, City East, QLD, 4002

Last updated: 05 Jul 2022