The historic Hume & Hovell track will get a range of improvements to boost its tourism appeal with the assistance of $1.5 million in funding from the NSW Government.

Some of the Yass Valley project elements will include improvements to some of the hiker huts in Wee Jasper to attract more people from the Canberra area, and shorter loop walks explored to add value to local tourism.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman and Member for Albury Justin Clancy today announced the funding, as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program which aims to upgrade community infrastructure while supporting jobs and local economies.

Mrs Tuckerman said the funds will allow for the replacement of 15 pedestrian bridges, new galvanised steel steps at 30 fence crossings, regeneration of lookouts, new camping huts, upgraded track markers and visitor information signs, and the resurfacing of trails.

“This $1.5 million will be allocated over two years – $750,000 this financial year and $750,000 next financial year – to allow for the planning and implementation of quality upgrades for the Hume & Hovell Track,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“There are many interesting spots to promote and explore along the track like early gold mining sites and old tunnels where dynamite blasting was first used for Australian mining.”

The Hume & Hovell track first opened in Australia’s bicentennial year stretching 426km in a 20-day trek that encompasses 17 campsites between Yass and Albury.

The track is historically significant as it follows closely the footsteps of Hamilton Hume and William Hovell who led an 1824 expedition from Sydney to Port Phillip to open up new southern grazing land and to trace the flow of NSW’s western rivers.

Upgrade work will be managed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands with Snowy Valleys Council and input from local government, NPWS and Forestry NSW.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the stimulus funding would refresh the track and underpin plans to expand its appeal to a wider outdoor audience. “When the track first opened in 1988 it was focused on hardcore hikers but times change and there is now more potential to expand its focus to also accommodate walkers who prefer shorter options to the full 20-day hike,” Mrs Pavey said.

Hume Hovell Walking Track signage marker outside Yass Visitor Information Centre – Yass Valley Deputy Mayor Nathan Furry with Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman