Trail paying tribute to pioneering family now open

Published on Wednesday, 13 September 2023 at 12:47:22 PM

A multi-use trail connecting Mount Barker and Porongurup is officially open, boosting recreation and tourism experiences in the Shire of Plantagenet.

The O’Neill Trail links the end of O’Neill Road and Woodlands Road in Porongurup.

The newly opened trail caters to pedestrians, cyclists including e-bikes riders, and horse-riders. The route is 18-kilometres return.

Parking is provided at both trailheads, including for vehicles towing horse floats, with users able to travel the trail in either direction.

The trail was named in honour of the O’Neill family, who were pioneers in the Plantagenet area, and whose history has been incorporated into trailhead signage.

Shire President Chris Pavlovich said the O’Neill Trail was part of the Great Southern Regional Trails Masterplan 2020-2029, which aims to establish the Great Southern as a world-class trails destination.

“It is very pleasing to officially open this trail, which is the latest in a growing network of trails within the Shire of Plantagenet,” Cr Pavlovich said.

“The community identified hiking and cycling trails as a top priority, with the creation of this trail aligning with the Shire’s Corporate Business Plan 2022/23-2025/26.

“Feedback from some of the first users has been positive, with cyclists, hikers and horse-riders enjoying the picturesque natural scenery between the Mount Barker townsite and Porongurup.”

“With the recent arrival of spring and our spectacular wildflower season, locals and visitors are encouraged to make the most of this new trail in the coming months.”

The O’Neill Trail was jointly funded by the Shire ($21,358 contribution) and the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program ($35,100 contribution towards the development of Stage 1A).

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program had been designed to directly fund projects that local governments such as Plantagenet considered to be high priorities.

“The multi-use O’Neill Trail will connect the Shire’s major town with one of its most important settlements,” Mr Wilson said.

“It will open the possibility for visitors and locals alike to better explore one of WA’s most scenic natural areas.”

A map of the trail is available below and on the Shire website:


  • Look for the signpost on Albany Highway at the intersection of O’Neill Road.
  • Follow O’Neill Road for 7.2kms and you will see the trailhead.
  • Class 2 walking trail, allow six hours return.
  • Class 3 equestrian trail, allow six hours return.
  • Very easy cycling trail, allow 3.5 hours return.
  • Take all rubbish with you – leave no trace.
  • Horse-riders are reminded that feed, fodder and manure may introduce weeds to the area, which would compete with native flora – please ride responsibly.

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