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    Establishing the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Region as an international mountain bike destination

    July 2015

    JCrowe Stamp

  • Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges MTB Destination|Final Report| July 2015 1


    The report Establishing the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges region as an international mountain bike destination has been prepared by TRC Tourism (, Earthcheck and World Trails for:

    Department of Environment, Water and Natural



    Any representation, statement, opinion or advice, expressed or implied in this document is made in good faith but on the basis that TRC Tourism, Earthcheck and World Trails are not liable to any person for any damage or loss whatsoever which has occurred or may occur in relation to that person taking or not taking action in respect of any representation, statement or advice referred to in this document.

  • Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges MTB Destination|Final Report| July 2015 2

    Executive Summary Introduction

    The Adelaide Mount Lofty Region (AMLR) is an emerging mountain biking destination with some high profile trail networks and many high quality but less known formal mountain bike trails. In many parts of the world mountain biking trail networks have become significant visitor destinations which attract international visitors and contribute to economic sustainability and recreational opportunities for local and regional communities.

    The South Australian Government has recognised the importance of the AMLR, and its future potential to contribute to the development of Adelaide and the region as a thriving nationally and internationally competitive place to live, invest and visit. The Government has committed resources to build the AMLR as an international- level mountain biking destination that they would like to see become an important driver of tourism and economic sustainability in the region.

    This AMLR Mountain Biking Destination Implementation Plan (the Plan) provides the framework for building the destination over time through an integrated approach and collaboration between government agencies, local councils, the tourism industry, mountain biking organisations and the community.

    The current situation

    The AMLR already features an extensive network of trails suited to different markets including two quality, high profile mountain bike trail networks– Eagle Mountain Bike Park and Fox Creek (also known as Cudlee Creek) that offer downhill and cross-country riding across a range of difficulty ratings. Both networks also host large competitive events which have contributed to building their reputation as places to ride.

    The AMLR region also has many lesser known, high quality, formalised mountain bike trails in places like Lynton, Belair NP, Sturt Gorge RP (Craigburn Farm), Cobbler Creek RP and Kuitpo Forest. Touring by mountain bike also occurs on shared trails throughout the AMLR. The region includes a number of popular long distance riding routes that the local community and visitors ride including the Mawson Trail (which extends to the Finders Ranges), the Amy Gillett track and the Coast to Vines.

    It is estimated that the AMLR receives as high as 950,000 mountain bike visits each year consisting of:

    » approximately 26,200 residents (estimated from the population within a 40km radius) who participate in mountain bike-related activities approximately 930,000 times a year.

    » a visitor market of 13,300 (including domestic day, overnight and international visitors) who make nearly 18,000 MTB trips per year.

    The potential

    Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges will be an international mountain bike destination offering world class

    experiences for a range of cycling markets

    AMLR offer an excellent opportunity for the development of a world class network of mountain bike trails building on the existing well developed and popular trails. Their popularity with the local community is expected to increase significantly through higher participation in mountain biking as an activity.

    Experience elsewhere in Australia suggests that interstate visitor numbers to the mountain bike trails are likely to grow with the development of ‘hero rides’, promotion amongst mountain bike networks, and the development of new events including a range of technical and mass participation events suited to different riders. New visitors encouraged to visit will promote the trails through their own networks and social media.

  • Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges MTB Destination|Final Report| July 2015 3

    Achieving international recognition that converts into visitation to Adelaide specifically for mountain bike riding will be slower. It will rely on strong exposure through a range of channels and events as well as a collaborative approach with other Australian mountain bike destinations to grow awareness of the opportunities that exist for world class mountain bike riding in Australia. Achieving IMBA status for part of the network as an IMBA Ride Centre or an Epic Ride would grow positioning within the international mountain bike community. Getting the trails to the standard where they can attract one of the word class events has the greatest potential to leverage the international mountain bike market. Collaboration with successful New Zealand destinations (such as hosting an event in AMLR to coincide with major events such as Cranworxk in NZ) may also be worthwhile to position Australasia as a destination worthy of the visit for the long haul markets.

    The greatest short term growth in international visitors using the trails is likely to be the ‘non-core riders’ that are attracted to SA for other reasons such as Tour down Under, other non-cycling events, or food and wine. With appropriate facilities, services and promotion, visitors may well be interested in one or two days of riding as part of their holiday. Promotion of riding as part of the broader tourism offering and a way to experience the different parts of the AMLR and nearby areas will be important to leverage this broader tourism market as will the use of images that portray the iconic nature of riding from the top of the AMLR to the city.

    As show in the table below, based on a mid-range growth scenario, it is estimated that developing and promoting the AMLR as a world class mountain bike destination could achieve total overall expenditure of $18.1 million in the region by 2020. This would be achieved through implementation of priority actions in this document including some infrastructure development, attracting a range of events, and effective promotion.


    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020


    Locals 27,181 27,489 27,752 28,017 28,285 28,555

    Day 11,933 12,161 12,375 12,594 12,816 13,041

    O/N Domestic

    2,851 2,897 2,942 2,988 3,034 3,080

    International 1,088 1,125 1,162 1,199 1,234 1,269

    Events (Nat/Int)

    1,924 1,587 3,309 3,180 4,231

    TOTAL 43,053 45,595 45,818 48,107 48,549 50,176


    Locals 942,103 980,834 994,475 1,008,287 1,022,272 1,036,432

    Day 11,933 12,161 12,375 12,594 12,816 13,041

    O/N Domestic

    7,168 7,446 7,723 7,998 8,274 8,551

    International 7,212 7,455 7,702 7,945 8,181 8,414

    Events (Nat/Int)

    4,879 3,953 8,690 7,923 10,814

    TOTAL 968,417 1,012,776 1,026,228 1,045,514 1,059,466 1,077,252


    Locals $9,581,189 $10,160,623 $10,510,027 $10,888,297 $11,297,637 $11,740,482

    Day $901,465 $961,626 $1,023,280 $1,085,701 $1,146,187 $1,205,962

    O/N Domestic

    $977,953 $1,063,413 $1,153,214 $1,245,279 $1,336,426 $1,428,196

    International $543,279 $587,816 $634,994 $682,934 $729,531 $775,895

    Events (Nat/Int)

    $1,215,871 $1,011,928 $2,228,031 $2,120,817 $2,938,051

    TOTAL $12,003,885 $13,989,348 $14,333,444 $16,130,241 $16,630,599 $18,088,586

  • Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges MTB Destination|Final Report| July 2015 4

    What will it require?

    While a destination may have world class trails within it, it is the combination of trails plus the overall visitor experience of the destination that combine to create a world class destination.

    When AMLR is compared with other international destinations and Australian competitors, the following observations can be made:

    » Like Whistler, Queenstown and Rotorua, AMLR has the potential to have a strong mix of trail infrastructure including opportunities for core and non-core markets combined with close proximity to accommodation for events and visitors

    » The AMLR destination can offer a suite of trail hubs and linkages between them which can be promoted in a similar way to 7Stanes

    » Long downhill flow trails, linkages between hubs and upgrading of trailhead infrastructure could enable an IMBA Epic Ride to be created with the associated international recognition by the mountain bike community

    » One of the hubs (such as Fox Creek) could also be planned as an IMBA Ride Centre

    » Whilst the close proximity of AMLR to Adelaide is comparable with Mount Stromlo to Canberra, the extent of trail infrastructure, number of hubs, and supporting tourism destination offerings will make AMLR a much more attractive mountain bike destination than Canberra

    » The extent of trail infrastructure, and number of hubs currently offered, together