Bikes part of Freycinet’s future

We don’t often have our national parks putting forward ideas for greater bicycle use, but the Freycinet National Park master plan outlines a number of ideas to better cater to cycling.

The master plan is open for public comment until 22 July 2018 at the Parks and Wildlife website. 

The plan covers a 10 year span, with most initiatives recommended to be completed within the first five years. Implementation of the plan would be shared by the state government, Glamorgan Spring Bay Council and the private sector.

It is not confined to the boundaries of the national park, also taking in access from the Tasman Highway, Coles Bay township and Moulting Lagoon.

Concern about too much vehicular traffic within the park has shaped the plan to use shuttle buses, bicycles and more walking paths, especially for the popular Wineglass Bay lookout.

The master plan is very broad in its scope so there’s no a lot of detail about exactly where bicycle facilities would go or what they would look like.

The plan suggests the following initiatives:

Shared paths

Shared use trails for walking and cycling leaving from a new Visitor Gateway Hub at the entrance of Coles Bay through to Iluka Village and around the Esplanade. The foreshore pedestrian walk will not accommodate cyclists as the belief is the road would be less congested once the new Gateway Hub is operating.

Construction of a 5.1km shared use path from the Visitor Gateway Hub through to the Wineglass Bay trailhead, with seating and turnoffs for short walks. Bike hire would be provided out of the new visitor centre and bike parking would be available at Rangers Creek (existing visitor centre), Freycinet Lodge, Honeymoon Bay and Wineglass Bay trailhead.

Cycling loop

A new bicycle trail loop connecting Swanwick, Moulting Lagoon, Friendly Beaches and Bluestone Bay with the Visitor Gateway Hub. While this is designed as another attraction for tourists it could also benefit Swanwick residents who want to walk or cycle to Coles Bay.

The loop would be built on a dedicated track around the edge of Moulting Lagoon and use existing roads to connect to it. The masterplan is not explicit about what the on-road facililites would look like, such as the need for separation for traffic if the loop is going to be used by riders of a wide range of ages and abilities. Most of the roads have unsealed shoulders and would require extensive work to create safer conditions for bike riders.

The last section of the loop would be on fire trails, which means a hybrid or mountain bike would be needed for the entire loop. The plan does not mention whether existing trails would be regraded to ensure smoother cycling.

The masterplan identifies the cycling loop as a long-term initiative that would need more detailed consideration.

If you’ve ever cycled around the Freycinet Peninsula or have friends who’ve done it, pass on the news that their ideas are being welcomed.