Over many years, significant effort by various stakeholders has been undertaken to develop a high-level concept for a long-distance walking trail in far Victoria’s east Gippsland reaching from coastline to Mount Ellery, colloquially known as Sea to Summit. This concept was for a 10–12-day walk with campsites along the route. A demand analysis identified that this concept might not be sufficiently feasible and so a supply analysis was then needed.
We undertook extensive fieldwork to assess the strength of key supply elements, such as potential accommodation nodes, attractions and interpretive stories.
We found that there was not a large enough continuous natural area to justify the development of the Sea to Summit concept, nor the accommodation nodes and 4-5 day supporting products recommended by the market research. Too much of the Sea to Summit route is taken up by badly burnt forest, heavily logged forest or just plain and simple featureless forest. Trying to thread a route through as much lesser burnt forest as possible creates a route alongside creek gullies that loses potential views and is particularly expensive to construct and maintain.
Following robust and concise reporting and presentations to senior staff, we then pivoted and prepared an alternative solution for the client to consider. The project continues.