Queensland steps up to show the world its 10 Great Walks
QUEENSLAND believes it has hiking trails to match the best in the world and two energetic explorers have headed out on a 10-day adventure to showcase what's on offer.
The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) and Queensland Government have combined to launch the Q10 Great Walks and intrepid duo Luke Edwards and Lisa Marshall have accepted the challenge to complete one walk a day for a combined 400km of hiking from Currumbin to Cooktown.
The Q10 Challenge had the two Queensland adventurers setting off at 6am on July 18 on the expedition of a lifetime.
Edwards, who works with the NTAQ, devised the idea to tackle all 10 walks in just 10 days and Noosa Trek coach Lisa Marshall was invited to join him on the Challenge.
Referring to the walk as a "passion project", Edwards said:
"I'm a proud Queenslander, I love this wonderful state we live in and wanted to do something to celebrate the work that this amazing organisation does."
Edwards said the Challenge aimed to throw a spotlight on what Queensland had to offer, with 2020 targeted as the year to get an increased number of hikers heading out to try one or all of the Q10 Great Walks.
He foresees a time in the near future when hikers seeking bragging rights mention one or more of the Queensland walks in the same way they currently talk of New Zealand's Milford Track, Italy's Dolomites or Tasmania's Three Capes Track.
"For someone to throw a Queensland Great Walk on to the table as a badge of respect ... that to me would be success," he said.
NTA (Queensland) CEO Jonathan Fisher said: "The National Trust has always been committed to conserving and celebrating natural heritage, and we are proud to now be partnering with Queensland Government to deliver the National Trust Q10 Challenge.
"The team will complete 10 walks in 10 days, but we are really about promoting active lifestyles and getting people to celebrate the diversity of Queensland's stunning landscapes."
As well as their 400km hike/walk/run and kayak adventure, Edwards and Marshall will drive a combined 3500km between the trail destinations.
Along with a crew of drivers, film crew and support crew - they have set out in two Apollo campervans to capture the best of the Queensland 10 Great Walks. They will drive through the night to several locations.
Marshall has hiked all over the world but has lived in Queensland for just two-and-a-half years so has been looking forward to getting out over the next 10 days and exploring what's on offer in the state.
"I truly believe in the magic of being out in nature and how good it is for us both mentally and physically to spend time outdoors," she said.
"I couldn't turn down the opportunity to go to all these amazing places - many of which have been on my bucket list forever."
Minister for Environment and Science Leeanne Enoch said Queensland was unlike anywhere else in the world.
"Queensland is home to five World Heritage Areas and more than 1300 national parks, marine parks, state forests and other protected areas," she said.
"We are home to the world's oldest tropical rainforest - the Daintree - and we have such a vast environmental landscape, ranging from the desert to tropical rainforests to the Great Barrier Reef.
"All of these places are incredibly valuable to our state, and help provide unique environmental experiences to visitors.
"This is what this Q10 Challenge is all about - it is an opportunity for Queenslanders and visitors to experience Queensland's natural beauty first hand."
The 10 great walks, from south to north, starting on July 18 and finishing on July 27 are:
. Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, Lamington and Springbrook National Parks;
. Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, Mapleton Falls National Park and Kondalilla National Park;
. K'gari (Fraser Island) Great Walk, Great Sandy National Park;
. Carnarvon Great Walk, Carnavon National Park;
. Mackay Highlands Great Walk, Mackay Highlands and Eungella National Park;
. Conway Circuit (Whitsunday Great Walk), Conway National Park;
. Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail (kayak), Whitsunday National Park Islands;
. Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island National Park;
. Goldfield Trail, Wooroonooran National Park; and
. Gamaay Dreaming Track, from Cooktown
To follow the progress of the Q10 Challenge, visit queensland10.org.au. Daily updates will feature on the website, with photos and video also appearing on the Queensland National Parks Facebook page.