The Great Koala National Park steering committee has launched a report proposing the development of six self-guided car tours in association with the park proposal.
The announcement follows others by the steering committee for a mountain bike network, a long distance walking track and a horse riding trail.
The community groups supporting the Great Koala National Park are calling for the creation of the park to be accompanied by a number of regional recreation planning initiatives that will turn the area into a major ecotourism destination on the North Coast.
"We’re asking the government to commit $0.5 million to signpost, promote and provide interpretation for six self-guided car tours providing access to the natural and cultural resources of the region," spokesperson for the Great Koala National Park Ashley Love said.
Three of the self-guiding car tours would be regionally-based, averaging 400km from Coffs Harbour providing access from the coast to the tablelands as long day tours or tours with overnight stays.
The other three self-guided car tours would be shorter in length, averaging 40km and near Coffs Harbour.
Ashley said that by using existing roads, local knowledge and modern communication techniques that car-based touring could support existing businesses and create new business opportunities for the Coffs Coast while protecting areas of high conservation value.
"This will add to the magnificent offerings the Coffs Coast already possesses and help create a truly world-class nature-based tourism destination."
The proposed car tours are in addition to many hundreds of kilometres of roads in existing national parks on the North Coast open to car touring and in some cases for 4WD-only use.
The self-guided car tours proposed in association with the Great Koala National Park are:
Tour 1 – Macleay Valley Drive. Distance: about 420km, a long day tour.
Tour 2 –Dalmorton, Nymboida and Orara Drive. Distance: about 250km (about 320km for Chaelundi alternative), a short day (long day for the Chaelundi alternative).
Tour 3 –Grafton, Glen Innes to Ebor Drive. Distance: about 500km.
Tour 4 –Sherwood Drive. Distance: About 42km, beginning and ending at Woolgoolga. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours
Tour 5 –Coffs Hinterland Drive Distance: About 35km, beginning and ending at Coramba. Allow 1.5 hours not including suggested side trips (allow 1.5 hrs for the Bangalore side trip and 1 hour for the Mole Creek trip)
Tour 6- Bongil Bongil Drive. Distance: About 26km, beginning at Bonville and ending at Overhead Bridge Road on Pine Creek Way (the old Pacific Highway). Allow 1 to 1.5 hours.
We are so excited about what our local area could become if our leaders have the vision to create the Great Koala National ParkAshley Love
“We are so excited about what our local area could become if our leaders have the vision to create the Great Koala National Park,” Ashley Love said.
“The area has five pillars of significance for conservation: World Heritage rainforests, the most diverse tall eucalypt forests in the world, the most significant wild koala populations in eastern Australia adjoined to an outstanding marine environment. The final pillar overlaying those already described is the region's outstanding Aboriginal cultural heritage.
“We’re convinced that the Great Koala National Park is a vital component of our area’s future, and we hope those who value conservation of our natural and cultural riches will support us in trying to make it a reality.”
Details of the self-guided car tours are available on: https://koalapark.org.au/