A ‘‘WORLD-FIRST’’ mountain biking experience through rugged parts of the North-East has been given the go-ahead by the state government.
The Blue Derby Pods Ride will be a three-day tour of trails in the Blue Tier Forest Reserve, Frome Forest Reserve and Derby Forest Reserve, and allow participants to stay in suspended, pod-style accommodation.
Environment Minister Matthew Groom has given the project the green light, after it was submitted under the government’s expression of interest process for developments in national parks and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Mr Groom said the Blue Derby Pods Ride was the kind of sensitive development that the government was seeking.
‘‘This is a great example of what the government set out to achieve with the EOI Process, with a fantastic proponent showcasing Tasmania to the world,’’ he said.
‘‘If we are going to grow our visitor numbers, we need to expand the range of experiences and this new development will do just that.’’
Proponent Tara Anstie said she hoped to attract a new kind of visitor to the state.
‘‘The experience itself could really raise the profile of the North East and the North as a really iconic mountain biking destination,’’ she said.
‘‘We will be able to attract fast adventure seekers, and showcase the state to people who might not have been mountain biking in that area.’’
Ms Anstie said the experience would also showcase fine Tasmanian food and wine.
The pods will include solar panels, composting toilets and manually pumped showers in an effort to reduce their environmental impact .
Ms Anstie said the experience relied upon having a pristine environment.
She said the project would create 16 full-time jobs, and could accommodate up to 1000 visitors a year.
The proponents and the government will now negotiate lease arrangements for the site.