DEVELOPMENT of the 1.8km walking trail between Kidd Bridge and The Sands, along the banks of the Mary River, has already produced a stunning transformation.
Scheduled for completion at the end of November, The Gympie Times can today bring you a sneak peak of the $600,000 project's progress - and it is already impressive.
The trail begins at the weir near Kidd Bridge and follows the meandering river, closely in parts, not-so-closely in others, retreating up to the top of the steeper, more densely vegetated sections of the river bank, before heading back down to the water's edge in others.
The result is a walking tail that offers a good workout and a 3.6km loop - the steeper staircases would however make it almost impossible for anyone hoping to push a pram or ride a bicycle along the full length of the trail.
Rock walls enhance certain sections, as does landscaping with native grasses (3000 lomandra plants so far), a new canoe and kayak launch point and sitting areas to enjoy the stunning scenery. Couple this with copious wildlife and it really would be worthwhile taking a pair of binoculars to identify the different birds and many sun-baking turtles.
About half the trail is still under construction, which makes for an adventurous walk in parts at the moment, but a wonderful walk nevertheless. The trail climbs to the top of the river bank behind Albert Park, the Gympie netball courts and Aldi, revealing in parts some old car bodies and white goods dumped over the bank over the decades.
After 1.8km you arrive at The Sands where work is well underway on the new road in, roundabout and parking areas. From now until next winter it would be a good move to take a backpack with your swimmers and a towel (and maybe a picnic lunch) in it, as the "beach” is broad and the water is refreshing and inviting as it ripples over the shallow rapids.
When completed, the entire trail will run 6.4km from Albert Park to the Tozer St railway station, and back to the city centre.
This statement from Gympie Regional Council today:
Works are still in progress for the River to Rail Trail, for completion by the end of November and will be launched in early December.
Work still to be completed include the sealing of the entry road into the Sands which leads to the car park (still to be completed), rehabilitation work with some areas yet to be converted to walking tracks.
Although some of the sand stone seats are placed, there are still further seating that has yet to be brought onto site and placed.
Further revegetation along the trail - did you know that over 3000 lomandra plants have so far been planted along the trail?
Also so the public are safe, please note the entire trail is still under construction and closed to the public.
Works are fully funded by the State Government Works for Queensland funding program and is not a track open to vehicles.
GYMPIE'S Mary River hideaway The Sands is getting a big facelift including a sealed turnoff and gravel car park as part of a wider $600,000 project.
Revegetation and signage will also be installed at the site, which is part of the wider River to Rail Trail being built by Gympie Regional Council.
To protect the environment, cars will no longer have access to the river beyond the car park.
Safety is our number one priority for all future users in this area and by restricting vehicle access on the existing tracks we hope to encourage more families and tourists to get out and about on the trail,â€ a council spokeswoman said.
It would allow "existing vehicle tracks can be rehabilitated which will encourage endangered species to return to the areaâ€.
Work on the whole trail is expected to be completed by November 30, and is fully funded by the State Government's Works for Queensland program.
Seats will be installed at various locations along the 1.8km long river pathway, which will run from the canoe and kayak launch point at the Gympie weir to south of Normanby Bridge.
When completed, the entire trail will run 6.4km from Albert park to the Tozer St railway station, and back to the city centre.