Yesterday, the Wet Tropics National Landscape was officially launched by Federal Environment Minister, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, at Skyrail’s Barron Falls Station. This is a very important milestone for the people who reside within the rainforests of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (and surrounds), as it aspires to optimise the value of the relationship between international experience-seeking travllers and the inhabitants of National Landscapes whose lives and livelihoods are so inter-dependent.
It is also a great achievement for the business members of Tourism Daintree Coast who have lobbied from the outset of the program until this very pleasing announcement and also the members of the Wet Tropics National Landscape working group for seeing the process through. The challenge now rests with the delivery and its adherence to the principles upon which it was espoused.
For many years, a policy of re-directing tourism south of the Daintree River prevailed over the various jurisdictions of the tourism-conservation paradigm, but in August last year (after 16-years) the Wet Tropics Management Authority agreed to overturn this destination-specific policy in favour of supporting sustainable ecotourism throughout all areas of the Wet Tropics, including the Daintree Rainforest.
One of the inserts within the WTNL launch kit outlined a suggested 14-day itinerary. This was taken directly from the Great Tropical Drive, an initiative of WTMA and Tourism Tropical North Queensland, conceived during the period when the Daintree Tourism re-direction policy applied. It recommends self-driving, thus:
Cross the (Daintree) river by vehicle ferry and continue to Cape Tribulation …
This advice would have self-drive travellers by-pass the very point on the planet where the last remnant of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world still flourishes, and whilst there was once a policy to rationalise such a recommendation, it is now dismantled and in the spirit of the National Landscape Program, experiential-travellers should be assisted in getting into these extraordinary treasures in the company of the people that live within them.
For a truly horizon-broadening experience, world-class experiential travellers should visit www.daintreecoast.com and build a holiday experience around a series of successful engagements within Nature’s Masterpiece and its inhabitants and especially do their utmost not to be persuaded to by-pass it.