Hundreds of mountain bike riders descending on Dungog to leave a trail of dust around first-class tracks.
For the volunteer-based organisation MTB Dungog, this is no longer just a pipe dream.
“Over the June long weekend, we had about 600 riders,” MTB Dungog spokesperson, Chloe Chick, tells Newcastle Weekly.
“Dungog Common has never experienced that before.”
The Dungog Common is 650 acres of communal recreational reserve on the western edge of the town in the Hunter Region.
It provides opportunities for horse riding, trail running, bushwalking, and a Landcare group.
Mountain bike riding, arguably its biggest attraction, boasts 22 kilometres of single track, a recently developed 1.2-kilometre flow track, and a purpose-built fun track.
A green flow track, aimed at beginner riders, is also expected to open in the next six weeks alongside signage and an amenities facility with hot showers.
The influx of visitors has seen Dungog businesses rally together, with vouchers, cards or coupons being hidden around the common to offer things like free schooners and coffees.
“We’re in a unique position because Dungog Common is strategically placed being only two kilometres from the railway station and the town,” Ms Chick says.
“Most of the visitors are coming for a day trip but, as the common continues to create more recreational facilities, overnight visitation will be an enormous economic boost, not just for Dungog, but also the entire shire.
“Our whole philosophy is to work side-by-side, not in competition.”
One local business, Tinshed Brewery, reportedly saw a 30% increase in trade in the fortnight after the flow track opened in March.
While the impact of COVID-19 subsequently put a halt to the town’s tourism push, Ms Chick hopes visitors will return in droves.
“There isn’t a business that can’t engage with [Dungog Common],” she says.
“Someone in Newcastle could book their car in for a service or a tyre change in Dungog while they are out for a ride.
“Teenagers could also jump on the train, mountain bike all day, and return home in the afternoon.”