The TurtleWay Bike Way winds along the Boyne River and assists residents and their visitors in discovering and appreciating the beauty of Boyne Island/Tannum Sands.
For more than a decade, Council, with assistance from Boyne Smelters Limited and the Gladstone Ports Corporation, industry and the community, has invested significant resources in the development of the bikeway system to a total length of over 18km.
This uninterrupted foreshore bikeway access links all of the local primary and high schools, shopping centres and primary community facilities. Sculpture, interpretative signage and amenities have progressively been added to the cycleway to reinforce the educational and recreational qualities of the setting. The imagery of the turtle, which inhabits the Boyne River, is used extensively.
More recently, Council, Boyne Smelters and the broader community embarked upon the ideal of developing an interactive educational and signage package; that not only informed participants of the extent of the bikeway system and their current location, but also challenged them to unlock the mystery of the Turtle and discover the “Turtle’s Way”.
Essentially, the project is comprised of six distinctive directional signs strategically located throughout the township along the TurtleWay. Each sign utilises the imagery of the turtle as its icon or emblem, thereby making it easily recognisable to the community as a whole and reinforcing the symbolism and marketability of the project.
To encourage the community to explore the system, we aimed to make the discovery of each sign a reward. Adopting a principle similar to that of orienteering, each sign was designed and developed to form part of a poetry and visual puzzle, requiring the visitor to visit all of the signs in order to unlock the mystery of the turtle.
This approach challenges the intellectual and exploratory instincts of the participants by enticing them to discover the remaining five signs in order to reveal the poem and story image. The principal of incidental recreation has become a core component of the strategy and one which unconsciously rewards visitors for completing and visiting as much of the bikeway as possible.
The TurtleWay Signage and Public Promotion Strategy has proven to be the feather in the cap of what was already a tremendous public asset. Winner of the Heart Foundation National Local Government Award for best overall project and outstanding collaborative project and recently awarded National Overall Winner and National Rural Winner for excellence in Local Government, the strategy has become well recognised as a best practice model for the encouragement of physical activity.
Furthermore, the project highlights the value of partnerships between organisations and the tremendous things that may be achieved when forces join together, particularly in small communities.