About this project

GeoLINK work alongside NPWS to finalise Masterplans and detailed design for
parts of the proposed Tweed Byron Hinterland Trail.

Project Overview
GeoLINK have been involved with the Tweed Byron Hinterland Trail since early 2020. The project is a multi-day walking track, commencing at Unicorn Falls in Mt Jerusalem National Park, and finishing at Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park.

As part of the project a master plan of the Unicorn Falls precinct was released (prepared by others) in June 2020 and included plans for a small day use area at Unicorn Falls and a campground at Manns Road, approximately 1 km away.

NPWS undertook considerable community consultation. GeoLINK were engaged to redesign two locations to capture comments received through the public consultation process.

Project Background
The 3 night/4 day walk is designed to be walked from north to south, with trail users encouraged to be dropped off at the Manns Road trail head near Unicorn Falls and finishing the walk at Minyon Falls. This not only provides an opportunity for tourism businesses to provide a transportation service, but also reduces the need for long term parking at Unicorn Falls.

As the trail head, the Unicorn Falls precinct plays a significant role in introducing visitors to the trail.

Landscape, Ecology and Civil Engineering Services
The initial design and masterplan needed to be redesigned in two locations to capture comments received through the public consultation process.

  • Manns Road trail head
  • Unicorn Falls

Manns Road area needed:

  • Parking for 15-20 vehicles (including a small bus)
  • New trail head
  • Composting toilet
  • Shelter and directional signage
  • Lockable gate to prevent unauthorised vehicle access along South Chowan Road
  • General spatial arrangement to protect the natural and cultural values.

Unicorn Falls area needed:

  • Paths and steps for access
  • General spatial arrangement improvement to protect the natural and cultural values.
  • A small parking area at the falls to accommodate local use

Our environmental expertise also came to the fore on the project. It was important for NPWS that environmental factors be considered as part of the design. The walk and supporting infrastructure such as visitor hubs, campgrounds, picnic areas, car park and toilets needed to:

  • provide the walker with the ultimate rainforest experience
  • have a minimal impact approach by;
    • using existing trails
    • allowing the natural elements to determine the route, reducing the need for extensive trail construction.
  • Allow the walk to be undertaken as self-guided, or through commercial tour operators.

Integrated solutions to meet client needs
GeoLINK’s ability to provide comprehensive and integrated solutions were exactly what NPWS needed to finalise this stage of the project.

The combined services of Landscape architecture, Ecology and Civil Engineering were implemented for this project, with the Manns Road parking area requiring significant input from our civil engineering team. Their role was to determine the maximum parking spaces and provide detailed documentation to enable its construction.

Being able to provide proven experience in both areas of expertise meant a more cohesive and complementary solution for our client.

Concept Design
Concept Plans were prepared based on existing information, site visits and discussions with the project team. Ensuring we capture the needs of the client is paramount. That’s why we focus on developing relationships with our clients and spending the time needed to understand the intricacies of each project we take on.

The concept design and accompanying documentation we provided included:

  • Vehicle parking layout
  • Layout of access and circulation paths
  • Location of infrastructure and style as per NPWS Parks Facilities Manual
  • Location of significant features such as threatened flora, hollow bearing trees or heritage items
  • Identify trees and vegetation for removal
  • Locations requiring revegetation.

 Project Status
Our designs and plans are now included in the Unicorn Falls Master Plan. The outcome of this stage of project means the designs for both Unicorn Falls and the Manns Road trail head will have minimal impact on natural and cultural values. Both areas take advantage of previously disturbed areas.

With construction now underway, this is one project we can’t wait to see come to fruition.

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