Opportunity for all to explore the Mid North

Image supplied: An example of a trail rider used in Victoria to allow people with disablities access to hiking and biking trails.
Image supplied: An example of a trail rider used in Victoria to allow people with disablities access to hiking and biking trails.

People with disabilities will now be able to tackle the trails in the Mid North and Southern Flinders Ranges with the introduction of a motorised, multi-chain, single wheel trail rider set to join tourism operator, In The Flinders in April next year. 

In The Flinders applied for funding through the Fund My Idea campaign, an initiative of the South Australian Government, where they were required to submit their idea and an explanation on the monetary details. 

The project was estimated to cost $13,950.00 and every dollar was granted to the great idea. 

The idea behind the project was to be able to make the trails in Ranges accessible to everyone, not just able bodied persons. 

Parks Victoria have a strong trail rider program and South Australia is slowly following in the footsteps with what is happening on the east coast and throughout their national parks. 

Quinten Vanderwerf, the manager of nature based tour operator, In The Flinders says a goal for his business was to provide opportunities for all to access and explore the iconic Southern Flinders Ranges. 

“We feel that the outdoors is something that is so important to our physical and mental health and we could see that there was a gap there with people with disabilities.”

“Our trails are quite technical and it stops a lot of people from getting out into the region. Accessibility and social inclusion was a strong driver for us to introduce the wheelchair. By Bringing in that wheel chair hopefully we will make our region more accessible for people with a disability so they can enjoy the trails that the rest of us enjoy.”

Holidays for families who have disabled members are usually restricted and planned to suit the needs of that person. 

The addition of the trail rider provides a holiday destination within South Australia for families to visit and engage in nature based activities. 

The trail rider brings a lot various benefits for families and people with disabilities, the most recognised being the opportunity it provides for people to be outdoors. 

“It has been proven to offer a lot of benefits including increased happiness, reduced anxiety, reduced mental fatigue and these are all opportunities that people with disabilities are not often given. The wheelchair will open up those sorts of opportunities for people but also for their immediate families”, Quinten said. 

The tourism market is widening in the Mid North region and Quinten believes the trail rider will be a driver for the market. 

“We certainly feel it is a niche market and I believe that we will get a lot of people from outside of the districts coming to our region.

“Most people make their trip into a weekend, a two day get away. I think we will get quite a bit of influx from outside the region and we need to take advantage of it.”

The trail rider has been imported from Canada and is currently undergoing modifications in Australia before it is set to arrive in the hands of In The Flinders in January. 

“We anticipate to be able to make it available for people in the 2018 tourist season which opens up after the fire danger season.”