Coastal walk a tourism winner

THE National Parks and Wildlife Service is doing its part to help boost the tourism potential of the Clarence Valley region.

The service is spending $2.5 million building what will become a unique recreational facility in the valley.

The project centres on completion of a 65-kilometre walking track through Yuraygir National Park, the longest stretch of protected coastline in NSW.

The track, named the Yuraygir Coastal Walk, aims to link the Clarence coast villages of Red Rock, Wooli, Diggers Camp, Sandon, Brooms Head and Angourie.

The first stage of the walk between Red Rock and Angourie is well under way, with installations of signs and track markers and production of walking guides due to be completed later in the year.

NPWS Clarence South Area Manager, Andrew Lugg said the track was designed to consolidate existing national park infrastructure such as walking tracks and other visitor facilities into a dream bushwalker's experience for the valley.

“Important attributes of the Yuryagir Coastal Walk link the experience and opportunities in Yuraygir National Park with facilities and services found in the coastal villages along its length,” Mr Lugg said.

“With long golden beaches, headlands, creeks, lagoons and heathlands with spectacular spring wildflower displays, the walk traverses the traditional homelands of the Gumbayngirr and Yaegl Aboriginal nations.

“As the majority of the facilities and attributes are already in place, including a range of accommodation options along the way, the Yuraygir Coastal Walk could significantly benefit tourism in the coastal villages of the Clarence Valley. A real appeal is the combination of options the walk offers. With shorter and longer sections ranging between one to four days and numerous easy start and finish points at Red Rock, Wooli, Minnie Water, Sandon, Brooms Head and Angourie, the walk offers considerable flexibility and opportunities for our local businesses.

“This includes direct benefits to boost the existing local business community, such as motels, caravan parks, restaurants and hotels, as well as creating new business opportunities such as developing guided and packaged walks.

“We are currently finalising licence arrangements with a tour operator planning to guide park visitors along the entire walk. The walkers will have their luggage transported in the operator's support vehicle and dine out and stay overnight in local businesses.

“We are keen to hear from others who may be interested in developing nature-based experiences while preserving and protecting the significant natural values of Yuraygir National park.”

Mr Lugg added an additional benefit would be the broader promotion of the Clarence Valley, capitalising on our wonderful natural assets in a sustainable manner.

“Although the walk aims to capitalise on and consolidate existing facilities and matching local business, a number of elements are still needed,” Mr Lugg said.

“Funding in part has been secured from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and DECC for this current stage.

“Given the broad social and economic benefits to the Clarence Valley and the fact the walk includes access through coastal villages, future funding and cooperation will be sought from Clarence Valley Council.”

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