The spectacular Watarrka National Park in Central Australia could soon be home to a new walking experience.
The trail concept, running through one of Australia’s most beautiful locations, is currently in development with Matutjara Traditional Owners working closely with the NT Government and the Central Land Council.
The NT Government is investing $5 million into the new tourism experience as part of its Turbocharging Tourism stimulus package.
Traditional Owners are working with the NT Government to provide adequate protections for sacred sites and other areas of significance within the National Park, while developing suitable concepts for a multi-day walking trail with high-end eco-camp accommodation.
The project will generate local jobs through construction of the trail and associated camp infrastructure as well as opening up new commercial opportunities, such as accommodation options along the route.
Commercial investment will be sought to support the project, in partnership with the Matutjara people.
Home to Kings Canyon, Watarrka is one of Australia’s most unique locations and is in the top five parks for visitors in the Territory, attracting more than 250,000 visitors every year.
The Joint Management Plan (2018) that the Joint Management Committee governs the delivery of our outcomes and will support and facilitate training, employment, and commercial enterprise development for Traditional Owners with the support of relevant agencies.
The Park’s visitor numbers create significant opportunities for high quality commercial enterprises, to further enhance the visitor experience and encourage longer stays in the Park. Traditional Owners are already providing tourism services and wish to continue developing new experiences both as independent businesses and in partnerships with experienced operators. The Parks and Wildlife Commission is committed to Visitor Experience Development Plans for the Territory’s most visited parks, including Watarrka. These Plans will ensure sustainable tourism opportunities providing benefits to the Traditional Owners, the Park and the tourism industry.
The role of the Joint Management Committee is to assess and endorse commercial and development proposals.
Multi-million-dollar project awarded to the Australian Walking Company
Watarrka National Park on Matutjara Country will soon be home to a new multi-day hiking track after the Northern Territory Government and Traditional Owners awarded a multi-million-dollar project to the Australian Walking Company.
Australian Walking Company will invest in the design, development and operation of the walking track following a competitive expression of interest process. The company will work in partnership with Traditional Owners and NT Parks and Wildlife to achieve the best outcomes, with the first step being to negotiate the placement and nature of the walking trail with the Traditional Owners.
It is not clear what this plan will involve and it is not clear if commercial huts and lodges will form part of this multi-day walk. So, watch this space.
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The Mirage – NT Government
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Australian Traveller – EMILY MURPHY
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Turbocharged Watarrka National Park Opening Up New Tourism Experiences
Office of the Chief Minister
Published: 04 April 2019
New walking trails planned for Watarrka
Published: 04 April 2019