A proposal to establish six self-guided car tours throughout the Coffs hinterland has been unveiled with the intent of branding the area as a world class eco-tourist destination.
A proposal to establish six self-guided car tours throughout the Coffs hinterland has been unveiled with the intent of branding the area as a world class eco-tourist destination. Austin Neill

Plans proposed to transform Coffs into eco-tourist mecca

A PROPOSAL to establish six self-guided car tours, worth $500,000, throughout the Coffs hinterland has been unveiled with the intent of branding the area as a world class eco-tourist destination.

The ambitious proposal comes off the back of recent concept plans released from the Great Koala Park National Park (GKNP) steering committee for a mountain bike network, long distance hiking track and a horse riding trail for the area.

The GKNP plan from the National Parks Association of NSW encompasses 315,000ha of prime koala habitat in a bid to conserve the state's vulnerable koala species.

The committee are now asking the government to commit the $500,000 to signpost, promote and provide interpretation for the six car tours.

Three of the tours are long day tours averaging 400km, while the remaining tours are locally based and average 40km.

They would utilise existing roads and would guide drivers via communication techniques, including an app.

Informed car touring is worth around $19 billion annually to the state, according to Destination NSW.

GKNP spokesperson Ashley Love said the recent recreational activity proposals would not only support local business, but create new business opportunities for the Coffs Coast while protecting what has been identified as the most vital koala habitat on the eastern seaboard.

"We're convinced the great koala national park is a vital component of our areas future, and we hope those who value conservation of our natural and cultural riches will support us in trying to make it a reality."

THE TOURS:

- Macleay Valley Drive, a 420km tour which encircles a koala metapopulation of around 500-1000 koalas.

- Dalmorton, Nymboida and Orara Drive, a 250km tour.

- Grafton, Glen Innes to Ebor Drive, a 500km tour

- Sherwood Drive, a 42km tour starting and ending at Woolgoolga, encircling the Red Rock-Wedding Bells sub population of less than 50.

- Coffs Hinterland Drive, a 35km tour starting and ending at Coramba, encircling a sub population of 500-1000.

- Bongil Bongil Drive, a 26km drive starting at Bonville that encircles the Bongil Bongil - Pine Creek sub population - one of the largest on the eastern seaboard with between 500 amd 1000 koalas.

Find out more about the proposal here.