Skip links and keyboard navigation

Bushfires

For the latest information on national parks and forests' closures stay up to date with Park Alerts

Main Range National Park Ecotourism Project

The Main Range National Park (MRNP) Ecotourism Project, expected to be completed by March 2020, will include 55 kilometres of walking tracks (combination of existing and new), known as the Scenic Rim Trail.

The trail will begin on the privately owned Thornton View Nature Refuge, before making its way into the national park. The Scenic Rim Trail will be fully accessible to everyone, though people need to ensure they have suitable fitness to undertake the walk.

Three new bush camps are being built (each with a toilet) for free-and-independent walkers to use while walking the Scenic Rim Trail.

In 2013, the Queensland Government called for applications from suitably qualified individuals and businesses with an interest in building and managing ecotourism facilities in national parks.

At the conclusion of this competitive Expression of Interest process, ecotourism operator Spicers Retreats, Hotels and Lodges (Spicers) was invited to submit a detailed proposal for two proposed lease areas within Main Range National Park (MRNP). After a rigorous assessment process, the proposal was conditionally approved as demonstrating best practice ecotourism which highlighted the innovative, cultural and environmental values of MRNP.

Once the ecotourism facilities are constructed, Spicers will hold two small lease areas within MRNP. The lease areas will be known as the Amphitheatre and Timber Getters Ecocamps, and will include:

  • 1 x common building
  • 2 x communal bathrooms
  • 7 x individual sleeping cabins
  • 1 x effluent (black and grey water) system
  • 1 x bushfire bunker
  • 5 x 20,000 litre water tanks
  • solar power to supply renewable energy.

The Queensland Government has issued the leases to allow construction of the trail and QPWS bush camps, as well as the Spicers ecocamps, within Main Range National Park.

Work on the trail has begun and all works are scheduled for completion in March 2020.

During construction, the majority of the national park is available for existing use, with minor closures to allow for the transport of materials to and from the sites.

For more information refer to the frequently asked questions or email ecofacilities@des.qld.gov.au.

Frequently asked questions

Why Spicers Retreats, Hotels and Lodges Pty Ltd (Spicers)?

In late 2013, the then Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (NPRSR) called for expressions of interest from suitably qualified private operators to build and manage ecotourism facilities in national parks.

Following the assessment of expressions of interest received, Spicers was invited to submit a detailed proposal for the site.

In February 2018, Spicers submitted its detailed proposal for an ecotourism facility in Main Range National Park. The proposal was subject to a rigorous assessment process, including approval under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Spicers is one of Queensland’s most established and iconic ecotourism operators, having operated successfully for many years on private property bordering the national park.

What are the benefits of the project?

The project will have environmental, social and financial benefits, and is a good example of government working with the private sector to incorporate an innovative high end, off-the-grid ecotourism product.

The new Scenic Rim Trail will allow a wider cross-section of visitors to access the national park, attracting more people to the region while promoting the park and the world heritage values of the Scenic Rim. Free-and-independent walkers will also have access to Spicers’ privately owned Thornton View Nature Refuge to begin their walk.

This project will also contribute to conservation and management of the national park, through direct financial contribution and other initiatives supporting wildlife conservation, weed and pest management.

What will be carried out as part of the ecotourism facility works?

Spicers will have two small lease areas within Main Range National Park. Works will include minimal clearing of these lease areas, up to a maximum of 0.16 hectares at each location. Two Ecocamps (one on each area) will then be constructed, each consisting of:

  • 1 x common building
  • 2 x communal bathrooms
  • 7 x individual sleeping cabins
  • 1 x effluent (black and grey water) system
  • 1 x bushfire bunker
  • 5 x 20,000 litre water tanks
  • solar power to supply renewable energy.

What will be carried out as part of the QPWS infrastructure?

Approximately 55 kilometres of walking tracks (combination of existing and new) will be constructed, known as the Scenic Rim Trail. The trail will begin on the privately owned Thornton View Nature Refuge, before making its way into the national park. The Scenic Rim Trail will be fully accessible to everyone, though people need to ensure they have suitable fitness to undertake the walk.

Construction of three new bush camps, each with a toilet, for free-and-independent walkers to use while walking the Scenic Rim Trail. The three bush camps will be booked as a package.

When will the construction be happening and will the area be closed?

Construction is underway on the new sections of walking track. All works – including the Ecocamps and QPWS bush camps – are expected to be completed by March 2020. While most of the national park will continue to be available for the public and existing commercial operators to enjoy, some tracks may be closed for several hours during construction to allow vehicles and supplies to get to the to and from the sites.

Where else can I camp within the national park?

All existing camping areas at MRNP will remain open and available to the public. Visitors can continue to book through the online booking service.

Once the new QPWS bush camping areas open, will I be able to camp independently (unpowered tent camping)?

Yes, three unpowered tent bush camping sites (maximum of eight people per camp) will be available along the Scenic Rim Trail. The three QPWS bush camps and will be bookable as a package through the online booking service.

Will I be able to camp/stay at the two privately operated Ecocamps?

Yes. This will be available as part of a commercial multi-day walking package being offered by Spicers. To experience this new multi-day walk, which includes high end cabin style accommodation at the Ecocamps, you will need to contact Spicers through their website Spicers Retreats.

Do I have to do the multi-day hike or can I do a day walk?

The Scenic Rim Trail and the three QPWS bush camps have been designed to offer the multi-day hiker a new experience. When hiking in any national park, the experience is yours. It will be up to you how long you want to spend in the national park.

If I undertake the multi-day hike independently, do I have to walk in a specific direction?

The Scenic Rim Trail was designed to start at Thornton View Nature Refuge, where interpretive signs will let hikers know what they can expect along their journey.

What will it cost to stay at the Ecocamps after construction is complete?

As the Ecocamps will be owned and managed by Spicers, Spicers will set all pricing and promote the Ecocamps through the website Spicers Retreats.

What will it cost to stay at the QPWS bush camps?

The fees will be the same as all other QPWS managed campgrounds. Current fees are $6.65 per person per night (over five years old) or $26.60 for a family permit, which allows two adults and up to six children. Camping fees increase each year on 1 July.

When the bush camps are opened, will I be able to bring my dog/pet camping with me?

No. The bush camps are within a national park and domestic animals are not permitted. National parks provide a much-needed refuge for native animals. While dogs and other pets may be our best friends, they are not always friendly to our native animals. Visit the Department’s website for further information on camping with your dog.

What experience do I need to walk the Scenic Rim Trail?

QPWS use the Australian Standard, Walking tracks, Part 1: Classification and signage, to give our walking tracks a classification rating between 1 and 6. The Scenic Rim Trail will consist of class 3, 4 and 5 walking tracks.

Class 3 tracks offer an opportunity for visitors to walk in slightly modified natural environments requiring a moderate level of fitness.

Class 4 tracks allow visitors to explore and discover relatively undisturbed natural environments along defined and distinct tracks with minimal (if any) facilities. Visitors will require a moderate level of specialised skills such as navigation skills.

Class 5 tracks allow visitors with a high degree of specialised skills to explore, often indistinct, tracks in remote locations which include steep sections of unmodified surfaces.

When will the project be completed so that I can walk the entire Scenic Rim Trail, and stay at the QPWS bush camps?

The project is expected to be completed in March 2020, with the QPWS bush camps operational by Easter 2020.

Last updated
30 September 2019