Eco-tourism is a way forward for our region

COFFS Harbour has been identified in recent State Government reports as possibly one of a number of areas for a focus for nature-based tourism development.

In the near future the Government is expected to release a report on tourism and national parks in NSW.

In addition, both the State and Federal governments have identified regional or local infrastructure programs to support local communities with infrastructure and employment and training opportunities.

This region has many outstanding natural features which, with careful investment, could increase tourism activities without spoiling the attraction or opportunities for residents. Some of the proposals below are far from new but in need of renewed ownership.

Here, where the escarpment fronts the coast, we are gifted with a pattern of short beaches and headlands. A coastal walkway along one of the most exciting coastlines, announced more than 10 years ago, is proceeding at a snails pace.

Each of the headlands is different and most provide an array of vantage points and plenty of opportunities for land-based whale watching. Rare plants abound on headlands as do opportunities for observing seabirds. Rehabilitation and development of tracks could provide us with accessible headlands. The coastal cycleway has sprung to life in some locations but often ends abruptly and is far from extending the length of the coastline as proposed some years back.

Our rainforests and eucalypt forests are of outstanding universal value and Dorrigo rainforest centre is a widely recognised attraction.

Our coast and hinterland provide magnificent opportunities for expanded development of a linked network of walking tracks and with additional low impact routes to more remote areas.

Finally, our small coastal estuaries are still a treasure despite past abuse. Touring and fishing from canoes and kayaks is growing and some improved launching facilities and even carefully located platforms for anglers could be considered.

The developments mentioned above are important infrastructure to underpin an expanded tourism industry. All could provide employment and training opportunities and could be rolled out fairly quickly.

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