Camping boom could see destinations loved to death

Published: October 1, 2021
Carnarvon National Park

The surge in interest in domestic travel is leaving some popular destinations somewhat overwhelmed … even those in what were once considered ‘remote’ locations.

At Carnarvon Gorge, about 400 kilometres south-west of Rockhampton, June-July school holiday visitor numbers more than doubled from an average of 407 main track walkers per day in 2019, to 911 in 2021.

And a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) spokesman said camper numbers at the south-west region’s national parks had ‘increased dramatically’.

However, it’s led to fears that the gorge and its culturally significant sites are being loved to death.

As the son of a Bidjara man and a Ghungalu woman, Milton Lawton told the ABC that looking after the country is a responsibility entwined with his identity.

“I view Carnarvon as a huge cemetery, the Carnarvon Ranges, that whole sandstone belt, and for that reason we have to carry a fairly high degree of reverence when we walk into those places,” he said. “Tourism has had a big impact on that place … there’s potential for these places to really deteriorate given the high level of traffic into those sites.”

Mr Lawnton said all visitors needed to respect the location.

“It’s a place for all people … and non-Indigenous people have a huge role to play in preserving our story and our culture,” he told the ABC. “It’s through places like Carnarvon that they can assist us in that journey, by having an understanding of what that place is all about.”

Australian Nature Guides co-owner Simon Ling has worked at the gorge for about 22 years.

“Covid-19 has just exacerbated a pre-existing curve of increasing visitation,” he told the ABC.

Mr Ling said graffiti and people jumping safety barriers were persistent problems.

“Staying on the track really helps the rangers look after the place,” he said. “The simplest thing to remember is if you’re in a national park, then you should be leaving nothing but your footprints and taking nothing but photographs.”

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Deb
3 months ago

Not surprising, since they have sealed the road thru to the end, they have now made it more accessible to all vehicles as well as day trippers who don’t need to stay overnight.

Graeme
3 months ago

Yes I agree, we camp at a remote location, which I won’t name to keep it special, on a private station. People are supposed to be fully self contained, including taking your own rubbish out, but this year about 5 campers with approximately 16 people (including children) arrived and over their stay went into the bush with a toilet roll without any means of covering their you know what. I’m sure when the station owners/manager find out I wouldn’t be surprised if the gate gets locked

Len Sorrell
3 months ago

Graeme, we have been travelling around Australia for many years and this sort of behavior is increasing. The previous “ME” generation was bad enough but the latest “Stuff You” generation takes the cake!.

Graeme
3 months ago
Reply to  Len Sorrell

That’s exactly how I feel. Just another example of the “me” generation we go to Darwin each year and share a clothes line with one other van, well this year the “me” people did the washing at 6pm and hung their clothes on the entire clothes line then next day went fishing at 5am waking everyone close, leaving the clothes on the line and didn’t return until after dark, again leaving the clothes on the line until they woke up next day and decided to take them off at about 9am.

Gaye Christie
3 months ago
Reply to  Graeme

Graeme I would be putting into practise the “laundromat” rule – removing the clothes and leaving them in a pile ( respecfully) and hanging my washing out

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