Words: Will Shaw

Photos: Colin Levitch

The Bunya Mountains are in the Western Downs, about 3 hours northwest of Brisbane, 2 hours and 45 minutes from the Sunshine Coast, and 1.5 hours from Toowoomba. West Australian trail building company Common Ground Trails have been awarded the tender for this project, with work set to begin shortly and finish around May next year.

The trails will cater predominantly to beginner and intermediate skill levels, with six separate loops of varying difficulty levels between 1.4km and 7.8km planned. Despite the trails being predominantly green and blue loops, Common Ground’s Director Dave Wilcox says there’ll be something for all levels of rider in the Bunya Mountains.

‘The majority of the trails in the design are green trails, but once we’re on the ground we’ll be looking to add optional lines for more experienced riders. There’s a range of terrain in the Bunya Mountains, and some of the steeper slopes and amazing rainforest conditions should make the trails enjoyable for all skill levels.’

The trails will cater for all.

This announcement is one of many regional trail developments to be approved recently. Dave says it’s exciting to see local councils and state governments recognising the legitimacy of mountain biking, and the variety of positive impacts quality mountain bike trails have.

‘There’s a huge growth of mountain bike projects being funded in Queensland, and it’s great to see regional trail networks popping up. Local councils and governments are seeing the economic, tourism, and wellbeing benefits mountain biking can provide, and hopefully that will be the case with the Bunya Mountains trails.’

Work is set to begin very soon, and Dave thinks that the trails should be ready to rip midway through next year.

‘We’ll be starting there in about five weeks, and we’ll be finished in around May from a trails perspective, but there’s some other elements that will need to be completed before the trails open in mid 2022.’

In addition to the trails, the project will also include four separate trailhead areas.

The Western Downs Council are excited for work to begin. Council Spokesperson for Recreational Spaces and Cemeteries Councillor Carolyn Tillman said the trails have been designed with the natural environment and traditional owners front of mind.

‘These trails are designed to be considerate of the natural environment and have been approved by the Department of Environment and Science and we are working closely with multiple stakeholders, including the traditional owners, to ensure that the project is respectful of the pristine Bunya Mountains environment and indigenous culture. A key aspect of the trails is to ensure they are sympathetic to the environment and sustainable.’

We’ll be keeping a keen eye on how the trails are coming along, and we’re looking forward to a trip to the Bunya Mountains in mid 2022!

To find out more, visit the Western Downs Council’s website - wdrc.info/major-projects.