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Ecotourism Australia

"Fostering Partnerships and Opportunities in Regional Ecotourism"

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New URBAN NATURE - Youth Ecotourism Forum II

News: Global Ecotourism Conference 29 May 2007 Update (112Kb .pdf)

News: Talking ecotourism all the way to Norway - Townsville Bulletin, 1/03/07 (260Kb .pdf)
Young Townsville delegate will report on Urban Nature-Youth Ecotourism Forum achievements at the Global Ecotourism Conference to be held in Oslo, Norway in May 2007.

2006 International Ecotourism Conference a Success.

Conference Activities and Events

TCC Keynote Address at the Ecotourism Conference
Townsville: Why the Ecotourism Sustainability Model? (2.7MB! .pps )

[ Townsville's Ecotourism Sites ] [ Ecotourism Operators ]


Townsville has developed a community-based Ecotourism Strategy in the past years.

Burdekin camping
Townsville’s vision for Ecotourism:
“To ensure an ecologically sustainable and economically viable ecotourism industry in the Townsville region, where the rich natural diversity, cultural heritage and unique lifestyle are so valued by the entire community, that they are proactive in its management and conservation for future generations. Ecotourism represents the pre-eminent form of tourism in the region and engages educates and delights our visitors”

The Ecotourism Strategy is community-based and supports developing ecotourism opportunities for businesses, fostering regional cooperation, integration and partnership across the North Queensland region; and has included development of the Council's innovative and dynamic - web based Townsville Regional Natural Assets Database.

It is based on Ecotourism’s triple bottom line:

  • Economy - the strategy focuses on the business perspective, fostering opportunities for tourism operators and encouraging partnerships and cooperation. It insists on Townsville’s competitive advantage for ecotourism- including pristine beauty, unique experience, culture and friendly people. In this perspective, Townsville City Council is part of the Ecotourism Sub-Committee of Townsville Enterprise Ltd which aims at networking and sharing information on local ecotourism initiatives, mapping ecotourism attractions and producing web pages on Ecotourism.

  • Environment - Our Ecotourism Strategy revolves around Townsville’s environmental and ecological assets-and aims at disclosing otherwise hidden natural areas.

  • Community & Education - Educating locals on ecotourism is major component of the strategy- it includes eco-catchment education tours to educate locals and visitors on environmental issues, supports eco-attractions such as Reef HQ or Billabong sanctuary and encourages the youth to voice their opinion in events such as the Urban Nature-Youth Ecotourism Forum.

Southern gateway to the Wet Tropics
Townsville has a vision to become a favoured ecotourism destination in Australia and Worldwide. Townsville has indeed a great potential, offering a distinctive “Townsville Experience” with its own culture, history, people and its stunning environment.

Ecotourist WalksDid you know?
In 2003 International “ecotourists” were recorded as being almost double the number of non-ecotourists, and stayed twice as long!

Townsville :
» is where Tropical Savannas meet the coast
» is the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics
» abuts the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area at the City’s Strand foreshore.

The 3 Broad Townsville Environments

Townsville is both the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics (Cromarty wetlands, Mt Elliot monolith, and Paluma Ranges) and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (fringing coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves).

Some of Townsville's key habitats and Environments

Some of Townsville’s key habitats and Environments

Townsville Ecotourism Sites of SignificanceTownsville has a number of Ecotourism sites of significance. Examples include:

» Castle Hill
» Town Common
» Magnetic Island
» Mount Stuart
» Rowes Bay
» Serpentine Lagoon
» Oak Valley

Castle Hill - Reserve managed for environmental protection

Town Common–tropical savanna covered hills and peaks, lowland woodlands, estuarine habitats and freshwater-marine wetlands

Magnetic Island – Situated within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, “Maggie” hosts:

    • Nelly Bay Habitat Interpretive Centre – an award-winning facility used extensively by local tour guides.

    • Landscape Ecology, Flora & Fauna, and Heritage signage & interpretive stations across the island – giving a “sense of place

Mt Stuart lookout and Ross River Parkway –walking track ,viewing platform, interpretative signage

Further Coastal Learnscapes planned for Rowes Bay, promoting marine habitats of mudflats and sponge gardens.


The Strand - Great facilities - environmental art & interpretation- awareness raising on natural environment and wildlife such as turtles and dugongs- scenic views to World Heritage Waters of Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island- Icon of the “Townsville Experience”

TCC Eco-catchment tours - environmental awareness raising (schools and adults)- promotion of integration (Integrated Coastal Zone management)- - Local ownership

Rowes Bay - coastal learnscapes is planned- promotion of marine habitats, mudflats and sponge gardens

The Town Commons - tropical savannas - hills and peaks- lowland woodlands- estuarine habitats- freshwater and marine wetlands- paradise of birdwatchers

ClusterCastle Hill Walking tracks- Reserve managed for environmental protection- Infrastructure and walking tracks upgraded- interpretative signage qnd eco-landscape

Nelly Bay Habitat Interpretative Centre - award-winning facility - used extensively by local tour guides- interpretative signage across the island on fauna and flora, landscape ecology and heritage

Great Tropical Drive - Visit the Great Tropical Drive Website

TOWNSVILLE ECOTOURISM OPERATORS, Billabong Sanctuary (top), Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks (center), Pro Dive Townsville (Bottom)

Great Tropical Drive Ecotourism Operator


Click to enlarge - Humpback whale and calf - Cleveland Bay
Click image to enlarge - Humpback whale and calf - Cleveland Bay
Image courtesy of Garry Douglas

Council's Environment Management Services