A BLACK slash of bitumen stands starkly against the golden hills of Goulburn and Crookwell.
It looks like any other stretch of road, but locals are hailing it as the beginning of an exciting new era of tourism.
Upper Lachlan tourism manager Scott Pollock said, “This road is the missing link to a tourist drive from Canberra through Gundaroo, Gunning, Grabben Gullen, Crookwell, Goulburn and Collector.
“It means that we can establish a tourist route so people and coaches can head off the highway, see some of the country and basically do a round trip back on to the highway.”
Upper Lachlan Shire Council Mayor John Shaw said the area had a lot to offer to tourists.
“The road gives a lovely rural outlook,” he said.
“No matter what time of year you’re there, whether it’s parched grasses in summer or beautiful lush green hills in winter, it’s a lovely drive.
“… I’m sure you’ve been told many times before that the people are so friendly.”
Rural tourism has been tough in recent years.
The 2007 Collector Pumpkin Festival was cancelled because of dry conditions, and equine influenza has crippled many popular show and race days.
But Mr Pollock said the future was looking bright once again.
He said there were plans to establish an historic and scenic drive including Gunning, Collector and Breadalbane, as well as a Collector history walk.
Future events in the Upper Lachlan Shire include the Crookwell annual agricultural show on February 9-10, the Gunning Community Fair on February 16-17, and a host of village markets in Taralga, Gunning and Crookwell.