An innovative new business is looking at capitalising on the rugged and remote beauty of North West Queensland to capture the tourist dollar.
Trek West Hiking is the brainchild of Shelly Hawkins, a business founded last year and already successful through good word of mouth and social media.
Shelly Hawkins lives on Herbertvale Station, which adjoins Lawn Hill National Park – a beautiful part of the world, made even more famous this week by Chris Hemworth’s Superbowl ad.
Shelly has lived in the North West for 19 years and the idea to open the property to tourism was made possible as her children now go to boarding school.
“While the hikes started last year the planning had been going a year prior to that,” Shelly said.
“I did a couple of trial hikes with friends and then one big hike with my first customers last year.”
Shelly said the walks were a mix of on-property walks and national park trails.
“On the stock camp hikes we are mainly on our property but for the big loop trail which takes five days, three quarters of that is in the national park,” she said.
“We camp out each night, I’ve got hot showers and tents and sleeping mats for everyone and we finish up back at the base stock camp.”
The logistics of keeping everyone comfortable on a camping holiday in the wilderness can be tricky but she said the challenges involved were one of the selling points that made her hiking trails so unique.
“We’ve got two vehicles that come along and a trailer,” Shelly said. “Each night I set a big dinner table and we have a fully cooked hot meal each night around a fully-dressed dining table.”
But the real attraction is the area’s rugged remoteness.
“We were 10 ladies sitting down for dinner one night and a jet flew over, and someone said ‘it’s a bit surreal, sitting up here where it’s quite isolated, totally off the grid, and they (on the plane) would not think that down in the darkness are these ladies sitting around having wine and dinner around this lovely table’,” she said.
The hiking season is from May through to August and planning has begun for 2018.
“I’m just looking to fill a couple of places on a couple of hikes but other than that the 2018 season is pretty much booked out,” Shelley said. “Sometimes it’s a bit daunting starting a new venture but it was nice to get that interest, and I’ve got some booking for 2019 already.”
Shelly said her vision for Trek West was to create hiking experiences that will become lifelong memories.
The hikes are tailored for individual groups, ranging from bird watching, relaxing with wine watching the sunset, or more physically challenging long distance walks.
The story Trek West for great sights in North West Queensland first appeared on The North West Star.