Tourists seek a sign to access local attractions

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Visitors do not always heed private property signage. PIC: ABC NORTHWEST QLD: Kemii Maguire

As domestic tourism surges in popularity, travellers are increasingly searching for pristine spots to visit  that are off the beaten track.  However, not all waterfalls, swimming holes, and rock formations in Australia’s outback are easily accessible to the travelling public.  Some of these attractions are on private land and this has led to confusion amongst tourists as to whether they are sightseeing or trespassing.

For example, Mount Isa, in Queensland’s northwest, is currently looking for new ways to attract visitors. After Mount Isa’s iconic rodeo events were cancelled due to the pandemic, the city’s tourism has fallen back on simpler activities, according to the ABC.

Mayor Danielle Slade told the ABC that nearby councils had been collaborating on ideas to attract visitors west. But main tourist attractions like waterholes perfect for swimming, and waterfalls are on private property and many do not have signs.

“I think we can do better,” Cr Slade said. “I think a lot of things have gone out the door, and we’re going to have to start again to really promote the city.”

The Mount Isa City Council has applied for a state government grant of up to $114,000 for signage to tourist attractions. However, the funding can only be used for tourist-appropriate sites and not on private properties.

According to the ABC, some landmarks in Queensland’s northwest such as Camooweal caves, East Leichardt Dam, Fountain Springs, and a disused granite mine that resembles rocks at the Northern Territory’s Devil’s Marbles are not signposted so are difficult for tourists to find.

Although some private landholders are happy for tourists to visit attractions on their property, others point to issues such as littering as a drawback to letting visitors access their land.

Queensland’s peak farming lobby group AgForce says tourism and trespassing is a nationwide problem.

CEO Michael Guerin says that picturesque areas such as waterfalls, dams or crops such as sunflower fields are in a constant battle to keep their biosecurity standards, according to the ABC.

“If we lose that biosecurity position we currently have, we lose that premium, and we lose that income into the Australian or broader Australian community,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is lock the gate.

“What we do ask is to ask permission before you go onto private property, understand that landholders have obligations to biosecurity, and if we work together, there is no need to lock the gates.”

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5 Responses to Tourists seek a sign to access local attractions

  1. The laws of trespass need to be reviewed, Also the “definition of “Enter at own risk”. Why should a property owner be held accountable for law breakers, and dare devils?

    • 99% of the people do the right thing but that 1% ruin it for the rest by leaving a mess no landholder or any one else should have to clean up for others so I don’t blame them for not opening their property up and libel laws would be a night mare who’s fault is it yours or the landowner

  2. I work on an outback station and people complain about the roads that have nothing to do you our station and put bad reviews about us
    Our tracks had also been closed due to large rainfall yet they want access and demand a smooth ride . Some people have no idea what we have to do to keep the business running on a normal day let alone after such weather events

  3. Education is an answer. We were in Mt Isa last year. The Info centre was not interested in giving out any info unless it involved paid sites / tours. We have since heard of many things we could have done if the info centre staff were better educated. Farmers might not want to open their properties for insurance reasons (public liab), upkeep of gates and roadways, not forgetting rubbish left behind or the ignorant people that find a corner to camp in when not allowed. Lower prices of caravan parks, hotel accom, tours and entry fees. Promote the area to people to “visit their own backyard” and if it’s affordable they will go. As well as the rest of the country, when allowed to travel.

  4. yes I’d have to agree with Les, trespass laws need to be catered to allow for travellers to overnight , particularly in the outback regions. so much space, such a beautiful country…so much to see, so little time…!

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