Dunkeld will soon be linked to the Grampians National Park as a loop walk between the town and Mount Sturgeon enters its final stages of planning.
Southern Grampians Shire manager of economic development and tourism Hugh Koch said the project was about 12 years in the making and would see the profile of Dunkeld lifted as a tourism destination.
"This project is important for the Dunkeld community as there is no track from the village to the national park," Mr Koch said.
"People have been walking along the road and as visitor numbers have grown, in the past 10 years particularly, it's been more critical to join the two.
"It will be a great addition to Dunkeld and get people to stay for more time in the town. It's important to get people to linger longer.
"It will be a mecca for the south-west."
The loop walk will begin at Dunkeld Information Centre and will be about a three kilometre walk to the Mount Sturgeon carpark. From the carpark, walkers can chose three options to continue their walks around Mount Sturgeon and it will link to the Grampians Peaks Trail.
The Dunkeld to Mount Sturgeon Loop Walk will be an accessible route for prams and bikes and will eventually have a smoother gradient for the whole distance.
A major obstacle in the planning of the loop walk was improving the safety of the track.
"We discovered when we started planning there were a number of different components for the project," Mr Koch said.
"We investigated the road reserve and safety requirements and decided that rather than impact on the road's speed restrictions and safety, we would have to acquire land.
"We were unsuccessful with the landowner initially and we had to resolve the road issues.
"It's taken a while to get it over the line but hard work and time has paid off and I think we've come out with better outcomes."
Southern Grampians Shire councillors approved a planning scheme amendment at its recent meeting.
No submissions to the amendment were received during the 30-day exhibition period.
The amendment will be submitted to the Minister for Planning for approval and to be gazetted
Mr Koch said that could take as little as two months and work on the loop walk was expected to begin as early as January 2021.
The $1.2m Dunkeld Visitor Hub and Peaks Trail Gateway Project supported the construction of the walk.
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said it would add a new experience to the iconic tourism destination
"The views along this walk are absolutely some of the most spectacular scenery in the Grampians National Park," he said.
"It will also provide information into the heritage of the national park and what makes it such a unique place.
"The new experiences of The Grampians will entice people to come back again and again."