In 2013 a group of local philanthropists on the Northern Rivers came together with a common vision to preserve the valuable community asset that is the 130km of disused rail corridor connecting Murwillumbah, Byron Bay and Casino and convert it into a modern cycling and walking trail through the region’s spectacular landscapes. Fast forward 8 years and, despite an unimaginable amount of resistance, this inspiring project is finally coming to life with construction of the ‘Tweed’ section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT) due to begin in the coming months.
It’s shovel ready, construction is set to start
Anyone who has been to or even heard about the Northern Rivers will be somewhat familiar with the immense natural beauty, environmental consciousness and cultural depth that we are fortunate to have available to us in this region. Beyond just the ‘Byron bubble’ there are expansive vistas, ample wildlife and historic villages in abundance. One of the biggest appeals of Byron and the Northern Rivers is the ability to feel connected with the countryside and small-town living while you are here. Looking at the success of relevant case studies such as the Otago & Great Victorian Rail Trails, it’s fair to say that this recent news about the progress of the NRRT has signalled an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to start dreaming that little bit more about the opportunities a rail trail will bring to the NSW Northern Rivers.
For locals and travellers alike
Locals will have available a highly accessible piece of infrastructure that will directly reduce congestion on the roads whilst supporting zero-emissions travel and generally combating the growing ‘automobility’ of society. Similarly, for visitors this corridor opens up the opportunity to venture inland and spread the isolated tourism value of Byron Bay to other regional areas like the Tweed, Lismore & Richmond Valley. Along the way, why not enjoy a beer at the Eltham Hotel, a coffee at Elwood Cafe in Burringbar or a visit to the Margaret Olley Art Centre in Murwillumbah…
Throughout 2021, we’ll be keeping you updated on the progress of the track. There’s still plenty of work to be achieved, including numerous approvals and large amounts of funding, before the entire 130km of the trail becomes a reality, though as they say “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.
If, like us, you’d like to see this vacant corridor of land one day thrive as a multi-purpose tourism corridor, there are plenty of ways you can get involved and help make the NRRT a reality, including: crowdfunding campaigns, online subscriptions and petitions as well as donating or sponsoring the rail trail.
In the meantime, get to know the route by road on The Road Trip ‘Northern Rivers Trail’ Tour. Over 2-3 days, you’ll cover the full length of the proposed trail from Casino to Murwillumbah on a self-guided or bike-packing journey.