Local, Science/Environment

Great Koala National Park launches proposals for 4WD tours

The Great Koala National Park steering committee has today launched a report proposing the development of two four wheeled drive (4WD) car tours, supported by $200,000 investment for signage and promotion and interpretation, in association with the park proposal.

The proposed 4WD tours are in addition to many hundreds of kilometres of roads in existing national parks on the North Coast open to car touring – and in some cases for 4WD use only.

This announcement is the latest in a series of recent recreation propositions to be associated with the Great Koala National Park, including self-guided car tours, a network of mountain bike hubs supported by $6 million investment, a 217km iconic walking track and a 67km horse riding trail.

The community groups promoting the Great Koala National Park are calling for the creation of the park to be accompanied by regional recreation planning initiatives that will turn the area into a major ecotourism destination on the NSW North Coast and ensure local people can maximise economic returns from the park.

The latest component of this is the development of a number of 4WD tours of the region, supported by a range of information provided through digital apps and links.

Nature-based tourism is currently worth over $19.6 billion annually to NSW1, with the beach and national parks being the key driver of this growing industry. The Great Koala National Park would see the Coffs Coast stake a powerful claim for a share of this thriving industry.

A $200,000 investment is proposed to support the 4WD tracks through signposts, promotion and interpretation for two 4WD tours providing access to the natural and cultural resources of the region.

By utilising existing roads including highways and local gravel roads, collating existing local knowledge and modern communication techniques car-based touring can support existing businesses and create new business opportunities for the Coffs Coast while protecting areas of high conservation value.

“We are confident that the Great Koala National Park will not just protect koalas, but be a valuable economic asset for the entire community”, said Ashley Love, spokesperson for the Great Koala National Park.

“When you consider what we have right here on the Coffs Coast, it’s hard not to get excited!

“We have a marine park where you can see whales and dive with grey nurse sharks. We have the Gondwana Rainforest World Heritage area where you feel like you’re stepping back into a land that

dinosaurs inhabited. We have wilderness areas where you can lose yourself for days. We have glorious beaches with warm water – and we’ve got good weather!

“We’re convinced that the Great Koala National Park is a vital component of our area’s future, and we hope the community will support us in trying to make it a reality.” Mr Love concluded. A map of the self-guided car tours is below and more detail is available at: www.koalapark.org.au

The above is a Press Release from the GKNP Committee – Thursday 14 March 2019.

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