Trail unveil: Parks Victoria’s Jodi Heath, Bob Hartmann, Mary-Anne Thomas, and Michaela Settle open the track. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Get your steps up in the grass trees

May 3, 2021 BY

WOOWOOKARUNG Regional Park’s Grass-tree Nature Trail has officially opened for the community to enjoy.

The 1.8-kilometre bush track amongst the native grass trees takes approximately 45 minutes and 2400 steps to walk, but is also accessible to bikes and horses.

It runs between the Park lookout and Katy Ryans Road, and has been developed with a State government Pick My Project grant worth $78,000.

Starting at the lookout, hikers, runners, cyclists or horse riders can travel along the new trail for 1.8 kilometres.

Bob Hartmann is president of the Friends of the Canadian Corridor who drew up the trail’s first basic designs, originally explored its costings, and campaigned for funding.

“This trail and its infrastructure is really important for our community,” he said.

“There are 100,000 people in Ballarat, and by 2035 there’ll be about 150,000. Woowookarung is going to be pivotal for health and wellbeing for this community.

“In 2013, we were worried the park was going to be sold off for housing estates, so it’s fantastic to be where we are now. People are getting out to enjoy it all the time and it’s busy.”

FoCC consulted with local Wadawurrung people to discover the traditional name for the xanthorrhoea australis plant, or grass tree.

This word is baggup, and FoCC hopes the community will grow to affectionately know the track as Baggup Trail.

Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas said the track will make the city a better place to live, and the park an even better place to escape to.

“The new trail will allow locals and visitors to experience the beautiful wilderness and history of this area, and we’re proud to support it,” she said.

For Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle, Woowookarung is a “tremendous community asset.”

“This trail adds another dimension to its appeal. It’s a win for the people of Ballarat and the growing number of visitors who have discovered its beauty,” she said.

FoCC’s long-term plans are to complete a 10,000-step network of connected trails around the entire park.

“The next project is to… integrate the second lookout near the water tanks into another trail, and complete that,” Mr Hartmann said.

“We’re also working with the Great Dividing Trail to integrate that into the park. We want to do a bridge crossing at the gorge.”