Eco Innovator March 2012


Margaret River Ecotourism Site

Expressions of interest are sought from private investors and tourism operators for an ecotourism opportunity in the Margaret River region of Western Australia.

Wharncliffe Mill in Bramley National Park is being released as part of the State Government's Naturebank program, which aims to position WA as a premier ecotourism destination.

Wharncliffe Mill is a niche tourism opportunity that will enable visitors to explore some of the region's attractions.

Classroom/activity centre at Wharncliffe Mill.

Environment minister Bill Marmion said the site was selected because it had existing budget style facilities with potential for a quality ecotourism operation offering unique environmental experiences.

"The mill was operational until 1987 and in 2004 was upgraded as an eco-discovery centre with a bunkhouse that sleeps up to 42 guests," he said.

The area has a number of nature-based activities including easily accessible bushwalking trails with the potential to be developed into guided cultural and nature-based tours.

Tourism minister Kim Hames said "Previous Naturebank sites have included a new safari camp in the foothills of the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberley's World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park and the Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge in the King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park. Both sites will be ready for operation in the 2012 tourism season," said Dr Hames.

Naturebank is jointly managed by Tourism Western Australia and the Department of Environment and Conservation, with funding from Royalties for Regions.

Regional Development minister Brendon Grylls said the Royalties for Regions funding for Naturebank aimed to encourage tourism operators to grow regional businesses by investing in ecotourism developments within the State's national parks.

Naturebank has a number of other sites currently being assessed, including one due to be released in mid-2012 at Francois Peron National Park in World Heritage-listed Shark Bay.

The closing date for expressions of interest is 10 April.

Chimney walk trail in WAs south west is part of an eco-tourism opportunity.





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