Trail head helps Murray Bridge capitalise on demand for nature tourism

At Sturt Reserve, walkers and riders can now find everything they need to explore the Murraylands.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

The opening of a new trail head at Sturt Reserve is one more step along the path towards Murray Bridge becoming a hiking and bike riding destination, locals say.

The rust-coloured structure on the city’s riverfront was officially opened on Saturday, unlocking a world of discovery for athletically minded locals and visitors alike.

Inside it are maps of local trails and photos of some of the highlights you might see along the way.

The trail head will serve as one end of the Lavender Federation and M2C trails, which stretch from Murray Bridge to Clare; and will eventually be a point of interest on the Murray Coorong Trail, which is being built between Cadell and Salt Creek.

SA Recreational Trails’ Graham Hallandal – author of Murray Bridge News’ Walk of the Month column – said the Lavender Federation Trail attracted more visitors than you might expect.

“It’s not like a football match where you can see an accumulation of people, but it’s constantly being used,” he said.

“It is attracting a lot of people from right throughout Australia.”

Local cycling advocate Dale Manson – who will debut a Ride of the Month column on this website next month – said trail heads were among the first features walkers and cyclists looked for when they visited an area.

He reckoned road cyclists, in particular, would be delighted with the routes available locally.

“Murray Bridge and the district has the best bitumen roads, low-traffic-volume roads, in Australia, I think, for cyclists,” he said.

“You can go to Tailem Bend without seeing a car, you can go to Mypolonga, Monarto South (on) wonderful, circular loops; the roads have been maintained very well by the Rural City of Murray Bridge; and they've put in some new bitumen roads: Hoadville Road, Usher Road.”

Mayor Brenton Lewis said the trail head would help Murray Bridge capitalise on the demand for nature-based tourism among overseas visitors once Australia's borders reopened.

He also hoped it would encourage more locals to get out and about.

Rotarian Bob England, trail head designer Quentin Gore and the Department of Environment and Water’s Paul Gillen also spoke at the opening, which was preceded by a community breakfast by the Rotary Club of Mobilong.