One of Australia’s oldest bushwalking tracks officially reopened on the weekend after an almost decade long restoration worth $4.8 million.
The Blue Mountain’s Grand Canyon Track, which is more than a century old, has undergone a 4.5 kilometre restoration across some of the most challenging terrain for walking track construction in Australia.
“Millions of people have walked this track over the past century,” Ms Upton said.
“It was built by pioneers and now it has been restored more than a century on, preserving its heritage and original track work.
“The restoration will ensure the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park is safe and can cope with the demand, while minimising any impacts on the environment.”
The restored Grand Canyon track was officially opened by the Hon Shayne Mallard on behalf of the Minister after he joined senior National Parks staff and industry leaders on the five kilometre walk.
"I am in awe of the dedication and passion of the team who over the last nine years have painstakingly restored this historic walking track," Mr Mallard said.
"3000 huge sandstone steps have been hand laid into this huge project involving over 2000 helicopter drops."
"With 90,000 visitors annually the track is a key Eco tourism destination and an anchor for future local and international tourism to the Work Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Parks." Mr Mallard added.
More than 90,000 people use the Track every year, more than triple its use since the project began in 2008. It’s expected that more than a million visitors will use it from now until 2030.
The restoration included 2,000 new stone steps among rugged terrain, creek crossings and cliff climbs. There were 2,000 loads of materials lowered into the narrow canyon with helicopters and more than 100 staff and contractors contributed to the track over nine years. The Track remained partially opened during the project.
An exhibition commemorating the track and its restoration runs until 29 November at the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre.
The official opening also acknowledged that the Blue Mountains National Park was recognised as a world’s best practice Ecotourism Destination through Ecotourism Australia.