Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Conservationists promote tourism initiative on the Tasman Peninsula

This week the combined environment groups of Tasmania launched their tourism vision for the Tasman Peninsula – the Tasman Coastal Trails.

Their initiative, thoroughly researched and costed, paves the way for a new thinking to how tourism should be planned when it comes to providing the best opportunities for visitors which accommodates the ultimate protection of the environment and the economic prosperity for the local community.

Disillusioned by the state government’s planning stealth and fiscal unaccountability in proceeding with its fundamentally flawed and grossly expensive 3 Capes Track, conservation groups felt compelled to provide a credible alternative. The imperative here was a broader vision of how a region should be promoted and managed whilst providing an inspiring tourism ideology that protects the natural heritage being concurrent with an increased level of visitation.

The Coastal Trails initiative is modeled on the Great Ocean Walk in the Otway and Port Campbell National Parks in southwestern Victoria where visitor activity operates inside the national parks whilst all the commercial developments are outside the park boundaries. The Great Ocean Walk offers a wide range of accommodation, which could be similar in application to the external or fringing environs of the Tasman National Park.

One of the keystones to Tasman Coastal Trails initiative is the construction of a information/interpretive centre near Eaglehawk Neck that would provide visitors with information about the Tasman National Park’s spectacular natural features and fascinating cultural heritage, the walking trails, the scenic tours, and the local accommodation availability. Whilst most notable tourism regions have something to provide basic information to visitors, the Tasman Peninsula draws a blank here. Remarkably most visitors driving into the Tasman Peninsula are unaware that they are even approaching a national park, and often think there is little to explore beyond the Port Arthur Historical Site. Consequently this is why most tourists only visit the Peninsula as a day trip.

The other main feature of the tourism initiative is a continuous walking trail beginning near Eaglehawk Neck leading south, which follows some of the park’s the most spectacular and diverse features (including a beach walk) that was excluded from the Government’s 3 Capes plan. The beauty and simplicity of the extended walk is that it could be undertaken in several sections or in one continuous trip over 3-4 days, this is quite similar to the approach of the Great Ocean Walk.

With the exception of the Cape Pillar wilderness zone, almost the entire scope of the Tasman National Park has reasonably short access to its remarkable features. The driving concept behind the Tasman Trails is to promote and upgrade the day walking trails as an all year round destination that would encourage visitors to spend more than a day in the region and use the local overnight accommodation which should ultimately stimulate the economic prosperity of the local community.

The Tasman Peninsula has enormous potential for low impact eco-tourism. So far only the coastal sea cruises have been established. There is an abundance of opportunities with regards to wildlife, walking and camping tours, replete with development opportunities on the external fringes of the national park.

There is no question that the state government’s position in developing the Tasman National Park was initially driven by former Premier Paul Lennon in tandem with the assertive lobby from tourist entrepreneurs who espouse that many of the internal zones within Tasmania’s National Parks should be open for commercial development aimed at the high end of the market.

But beyond the state government’s political might their myopic vision for development in the Tasman National Park was way off the mark, which saw them unaccountably pouring money into a the completely unworkable and poorly planned 3 Capes project, which is estimated to cost around $62 Million upon its completion in 2016. That’s another $40 million that will be drained from the taxpayer’s purse for a project that seems on all accounts to be economically unviable. After many years of planning the government has yet to receive a committed ‘expression of interest’ from a commercial developer. That fact alone says a lot about the confidence of the project.

The Tasman Coastal Trails concept is estimated to cost less than $20 million, and depending on the overlay of tracks it may be quite a few $million less if the current trackwork is completed around the Cape Pillar region.

The success of the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria attests that the Tasman Trails model would be highly feasible. All it needs is recognition now, and a well thought out government strategy that would fund and promote the region’s inspiring development. It’s not too late for a new vision!

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  1. Rod Holden

    April 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Hi all,
    Where do we find a copy of this initiative, including the research and costs?
    Cheers Rod

  2. A.K.

    February 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    #16. Doug, considering I advocate a direct people run government, using referendum style voting, it would be hypocritical of me to put forward what I envisage, compared to what the people would accept and vote for with the right information and understanding.

    Being retired now, what I would like personally, is for there to be no tourists down here at all. Which is completely illogical and not a good direction for the future. So I look at what people say and what would make them happy to get the benefit of tourists, but not lose our way of life and magnificent peaceful environment.

    There have been many discussions down here around the approach to tourism and the direction it is heading, none is acceptable to most, except for the idiot bureaucrats and corporate vested interests. The idea of overhead light electric was brought up as a joke, using the mountain cable car issue during a meeting of real locals. The suggestion was we might as well put cable cars around the peninsula and people use them to get around. From there it got torn apart and the suggestion of using all the old rail lines which dot the peninsula, or overhead electrical light rail as a way to save our peninsula, yet give people, the opportunity to experience it without effecting the environment or wildlife.

    Everyone we have talked to say it’s a great idea which should be introduced as a long term plan and started straight away. Naturally when politicians, bureaucrats were asked to support it, we were told it was a stupid idea that couldn’t work. You only have to do a bit of real world travel to see innovations like this do wonders for local economies and environment. Heavily used walking tracks, destructive on ground supposed eco tourist ventures, just create more and more damage. If you’ve ever gone bush walking around Cradle mountain 20-10 years ago and seen it today, you’d understand our fears.

  3. Doug Nichols

    February 25, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    A.K., you said in #12, “These fools haven’t asked those that live down here what they would like to see as development, as usual they just think what they want is what counts.”

    So I take it you’ve run your electric rail idea past everyone on the peninsula and got broad approval and support? Or is it just something that *you* want?

  4. A.K.

    February 25, 2014 at 10:21 am

    #13, Mike, we have one, it’s called a swing bridge and works well.

    #14 Ted, fact is not satire, the scary things is what you and your mob envisage. This is the 21st century, not the 18th. We need tourism which least effects the environment, not wrecks it and having many thousands of people walking, dropping rubbish, human waste and supposed eco tourist corporate businesses, which are really ecologically destructive.

    Much better to have above ground pylon electric transport which excludes humans from the ground completely, except at stops. Cheaper long term maintenance costs, can carry more people with no extra environmental effect and no selective out of state commercial enterprises wrecking the place and taking our money.

    The only way you can conserve something is to keep humans away from it, we do a lot of bush walking and live on the peninsula. When you see the condition of tourist walks around the state and where we walk down here, then you may be able to understand why your plans are environmentally unsustainable.

    You have to think long term, not just to suit a few elitists, bureaucrats and corporate morons. The Cradle mountain walk is disgusting now, same with the Hazards since federal wrecked it.

    People down here don’t want what’s been done else where, when we know there are better more sustainable and environmental friendly ways. Letting thousand of tourist loose in the Tasman bush, will turn it into more of the same disasters we see across Tas.

  5. Ted Mead

    February 25, 2014 at 12:30 am

    #12 Thanks for your paragraphs of satire here. The scary thing is that maybe someone someday will seriously consider such things in an attempt to promote the region.

  6. Mike Bolan

    February 24, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    A.K. I’m for a drawbridge at Dunalley.

  7. A.K.

    February 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

    The supposed environment groups involved in this charade consist of bureaucrats and over educated elites, who really have no idea what they are doing.

    Tasman peninsula residents don’t like the idea of it being over run by terrorists (tourists), we got our fill of them during the fire last year. The concept of day trips sits very well with most, that’s why the majority of us stay at home from xmas to march and leave the on road insanity that prevails at that time of the year to others.

    Those advocating this approach don’t care if we lose our way of life and become just like every other tourist destination on the planet, stuffed. As usual the approach is last century and will only increase pollution damage and waste.

    These fools haven’t asked those that live down here what they would like to see as development, as usual they just think what they want is what counts and a quick look round the state will show you the outcome provided by letting fools run the show.

    There is one future form of environmental tourism which will not destroy the place, or fill it with human rubbish and waste, very light raised electric rail circumnavigating the peninsula which keeps the tourists in check and leaves nature to evolve. It would also allow many people incapable of walking long distances and facing very changing weather patterns to be able to see the area all year round.

    Keeping accommodation in already established places, would reduce construction costs, damage to the environment and and increase local incomes.

    Starting at Dunnelly, or Eaglehawk neck it could follow the coast, or road, which would reduce traffic and spread revenue. Having everyone park at Dunnelly, would give them a day to see all of the Tasman in comfort, allow them to break their journey during the day or overnight. It would be a world class unique experience.

    This idiotic proposal will once again put the control and revenue into the hands of the rich elites and dumb bureaucrats, not the local community. The people will miss out and the fat cats will grow fatter as they waste more and more of our money for no real return.

    One only has to look at the overland cradle mountain walking track, to see how disgusting and destroyed that has become, under the control of idiots.

  8. Ann Cadwallader

    February 24, 2014 at 5:59 am

    What a bunch of grumps! Don’t constructive or community minded people hang out on Tasmanian Times any more? This was a very heartening article about great local initiative with achievable goals.

    Exactly what we need. Thank you Ted, for this, and all the folks working on it down there for caring and getting on with it.

    Erggghh! What about a new rule for comments – if you can’t say something helpful, then sod off!

  9. Ted Mead

    February 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    #6 – I have no idea who the woy woy group NSW are? Enlighten me!!!

  10. Len Langan

    February 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Simon, One did not intend to write an essay or a thesis. The fact that our present State government has failed us is too obvious to question and the need for change is great. We can, and of course, should, embrace change but not void of compromise and moderated transition. At our next State election we are voting for something far above Green “fairy dust” and Labor/Green mediocrity that may well decide our fate as an independant State in our Federation. We have never faced a greater responsibility since Federation.

  11. Ted Mead

    February 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    #5 I can’t see what the relative criticism here is. The National park region has been protected for sometime.

  12. Simon Warriner

    February 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Len, not a word about the hundreds of millions of our dollars wasted on the forestry industry? I am all for a native forest timber industry, but not one that is an overblown welfare scheme, and is corrupt to boot.

    How are your mob going to fix it. Dot points detailing actions, with a timeline and targets please.

    What principles inform those actions?

    Let us know what we get for our vote.

    Slagging off the opposition is not good enough.

  13. john hayward

    February 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    How did the Peninsula Environment Group from the Woy Woy NSW area get caught up in this?

    John Hayward


    February 22, 2014 at 11:56 am

    We have already locked up – sorry,”protected” – more of our so called “wilderness” than anyone will ever look at or spend any time in. We constantly hear our badly needed visitors saying ” I’ve seen a Devil”, what’s for dinner” as they hasten back – hopefully – to their five star hotels and accommodations. Meanwhile the forest floor thickens with natural fire hazard material, that we cannot afford to maintain, waiting for the next careless traveler or lightening strike, to burn it all wild life and all. No one can advertise what is not there and the Greens and the over-the-top environmentalist – specialists in non-productive meaningless and untruthful rhetoric – are slowly destroying the very thing they claim to love and damaging Tasmania to the point of threatening its survival as an independent State in our Federation.

  15. Ted Mead

    February 22, 2014 at 12:27 am

    #2 The combined environment groups who support the Tasman Coastal Trails initiative are –

    Environment Tasmania
    Keep the Capes Wild Group
    Tasmanian National Parks Association
    Peninsula Environment Network
    Tasmanian Conservation Trust
    Wilderness Society (Tas Inc)

  16. Mark Hanna

    February 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I see no evidence that the Tasman Peninsula has the first idea how to advertise themselves as anything other than a daytrip to Port Arthur and/or the Tasman Island Cruises. I suspect some of them don’t want to, as it only clutters the road up with tourists.

  17. john hayward

    February 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Just who are the conservationists promoting the Tasman Coastal Trails?

    It’s hard to find anyone these days, apart from maybe Abbott, who doesn’t claim to be a conservationist.

    John Hayward

  18. peter adams

    February 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Having lived on the Tasman Peninsula for over twenty years and seen how the politicians can wreck any decent project, I can only surmise that the Tasman Coastal Trails idea will suffer the same fate all initiatives outside the Boy’s Club suffer: swept under a cloud of contempt for local people.

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