''Geotourism Developments in Australia'Geotourism Developments in Australia'
International Workshop, 14th May 2018International Workshop, 14th May 2018
Angus M RobinsonAngus M Robinson
Chair, Geotourism Standing CommitteeChair, Geotourism Standing Committee
Geological Society of AustraliaGeological Society of Australia
Today’s AgendaToday’s Agenda
Ecotourism and GeotourismEcotourism and Geotourism
Reaching the Geotourism 'Holy Grail'Reaching the Geotourism 'Holy Grail'
Geotrails and economic benefitsGeotrails and economic benefits
Geotourism and mining heritageGeotourism and mining heritage
Geology Time WalksGeology Time Walks
Savannah Guides NetworkSavannah Guides Network
Current Status of geotourismCurrent Status of geotourism
Ecotourism and Geotourism ConceptsEcotourism and Geotourism Concepts
Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourismecologically sustainable tourism
with a primary focus on experiencing naturalexperiencing natural
areasareas that fosters environmental and cultural
understanding, appreciation and conservation.
But ecotourismecotourism per se is too narrowly defined and is
increasingly seen as a niche marketniche market, particularly
from a chinese perspective.
However,'geotourismgeotourism is tourism which focuses on anis tourism which focuses on an
area's geology & landscape as the basis for providingarea's geology & landscape as the basis for providing
visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment'.visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment'.
GeotourismGeotourism (a(after Dowling, 2013)fter Dowling, 2013)
comprises the following features of natural & culturalcomprises the following features of natural & cultural
1.1. AAbioticbiotic – non-living aspects such as the climate &– non-living aspects such as the climate &
geology e.g. landscape and landforms:geology e.g. landscape and landforms: GEODIVERSITYGEODIVERSITY
2.2. BBioticiotic – the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and– the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and
flora (plants):flora (plants): BIODIVERSITYBIODIVERSITY
3.3. CCulturalultural – past & present, non-living & built– past & present, non-living & built
Holistic in scope,Holistic in scope, geotourism is the key drivergeotourism is the key driver for Geoparks,for Geoparks,
Geotrails and even World Heritage Areas,Geotrails and even World Heritage Areas, and is booming globally!and is booming globally!
Geotourism incorporatingGeotourism incorporating
all types of ‘nature-based’ tourismall types of ‘nature-based’ tourism
i.e. ‘experientiali.e. ‘experiential
Australian Geotourism - Holy GrailAustralian Geotourism - Holy Grail
Geotourism projects transform to from ostensiblyeotourism projects transform to from ostensibly
geological tourism (loaded with 'A' attributes) to thegeological tourism (loaded with 'A' attributes) to the
more holistic model proposed by Dowlingmore holistic model proposed by Dowling andand
expected not only in compliance with the Nationalexpected not only in compliance with the National
Geographic definition, butGeographic definition, but which satisfies UNESCOwhich satisfies UNESCO
Global Geopark requirements.Global Geopark requirements.
Geotourism – National Geographic Society & the TravelGeotourism – National Geographic Society & the Travel
Industry Association of America (1997)Industry Association of America (1997)
Geotourism is "best practice" tourism that sustains, or even
enhances, the geographical character of a placegeographical character of a place, such as its
culture, environment, heritage, and the well-being of its
Like ecotourism, geotourism promotes a virtuous circlegeotourism promotes a virtuous circle
whereby tourism revenues provide a local incentive to
protect what tourists are coming to see, but extends the
principle beyond nature and ecology to incorporate allincorporate all
characteristics that contribute to sense of placecharacteristics that contribute to sense of place.
Geotourism incorporates sustainability principles,sustainability principles, but in
addition to the do-no-harm ethic, geotourism focuses on thegeotourism focuses on the
place as a whole.place as a whole.
Geotourism – Diversity of PlacesGeotourism – Diversity of Places
(Inc National Landscapes)
Urban ParksUrban Parks
Geotrail Characteristics -Geotrail Characteristics -
A First DefinitionA First Definition
‘A Geotrail delivers geotourism experiencesA Geotrail delivers geotourism experiences
through a journey linked by an area'sthrough a journey linked by an area's geologygeology
and landscapeand landscape asas the basis for providing visitorthe basis for providing visitor
engagement, learning and enjoyment’.engagement, learning and enjoyment’.
Why Geotrails?Why Geotrails?
1.1. Relates directly to the tourism experience of aRelates directly to the tourism experience of a
journey linking destinationsjourney linking destinations..
2.2. In Australia, unlike geoparks,In Australia, unlike geoparks, geotrails havegeotrails have
widespread appealwidespread appeal, and do not compete with or, and do not compete with or
impact on land management/access issues.impact on land management/access issues.
3.3. Geotrails are relatively easy to establish andGeotrails are relatively easy to establish and
represent arepresent a very cost effective means of enhancingvery cost effective means of enhancing
regional developmentregional development..
4.4. Can form the basis of a 'defacto geopark'.Can form the basis of a 'defacto geopark'.
Best Practice GeotrailsBest Practice Geotrails
1.1. Should be constructed aroundShould be constructed around routes currently usedroutes currently used
by touristsby tourists; geotrails should form logical journeys; geotrails should form logical journeys
linking accommodation destinations.linking accommodation destinations.
2.2. ShouldShould meld the geological heritage features of ameld the geological heritage features of a
region with a cohesive STORY.region with a cohesive STORY.
3.3. ShouldShould incorporate and package in the biodiversityincorporate and package in the biodiversity
and cultural components (including mining heritage)and cultural components (including mining heritage)
of the region through which the geotrail traverses.of the region through which the geotrail traverses.
Island of Tasmania
Australia’sAustralia’s Red Centre National LandscapeRed Centre National Landscape
Iconic Geotourism Themes ofIconic Geotourism Themes of
Australia’s Red Centre National LandscapeAustralia’s Red Centre National Landscape
AA:: Landforms and common geological heritageLandforms and common geological heritage
BB:: Red Kangaroo species, and other typeRed Kangaroo species, and other type
CC:: Indigenous (and European) cultureIndigenous (and European) culture
Australian Geotourism - Reality CheckAustralian Geotourism - Reality Check
We needed to adopt the Geological Society ofWe needed to adopt the Geological Society of
Australia definition in place to assist us in gainingAustralia definition in place to assist us in gaining
geoscience constituency support, butgeoscience constituency support, but we need towe need to
move beyond that definition.move beyond that definition.
Today, I can only identifyToday, I can only identify three operating geotourismthree operating geotourism
activities in Australia that have holistic geotourismactivities in Australia that have holistic geotourism
characteristics,characteristics, one in WA (incone in WA (inc 'Out of Sight' Ecotour'Out of Sight' Ecotour
in Albany), one atin Albany), one at Witchelina Nature ReserveWitchelina Nature Reserve
operated by Nature Foundation, SA and theoperated by Nature Foundation, SA and the CoastalCoastal
GeotrailGeotrail in Port Macquarie, NSW.in Port Macquarie, NSW.
Granite & Woodlands Self-Drive Discovery Trail, WA
""Take in the expansive views ofTake in the expansive views of sandy heathland & spring wildflowerssandy heathland & spring wildflowers
(B)(B) as you pass along the Holland Track, which gives way toas you pass along the Holland Track, which gives way to nickel &nickel &
gold mining landgold mining land (C)(C) around Forrestania Plots. Keep a look out foraround Forrestania Plots. Keep a look out for bushbush
turkeys, dingos or more elusive native animals such as honey andturkeys, dingos or more elusive native animals such as honey and
pigmy possumspigmy possums (B)(B),,which are sometimes seen around Grevillea Hill.which are sometimes seen around Grevillea Hill.
From here the landscape changesFrom here the landscape changes (A)(A) toto mallee woodland & eucalyptsmallee woodland & eucalypts..
Explore theExplore the rocky outcrops & cliffs of The Breakawaysrocky outcrops & cliffs of The Breakaways(A)(A) before rollingbefore rolling
out your swag at for aout your swag at for a night under an amazing star-filled skynight under an amazing star-filled sky (A).(A).""
Exemplar: Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail, NSWExemplar: Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail, NSW
"The collaborative geotrail project has been led by theThe collaborative geotrail project has been led by the University ofUniversity of
NewcastleNewcastle (A)(A) & supported by& supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings CouncilPort Macquarie-Hastings Council,, thethe
Geological Survey of NSWGeological Survey of NSW (A)(A),, NSW National Parks and Wildlife ServiceNSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
(B)(B) && Birpai Local Aboriginal Land CouncilBirpai Local Aboriginal Land Council (C)(C).. Supported by aSupported by a
brochure, website & smartphone appbrochure, website & smartphone app,, the Port Macquarie Coastalthe Port Macquarie Coastal
Geotrail is a four kilometre walk from Shelly Beach to Rocky BeachGeotrail is a four kilometre walk from Shelly Beach to Rocky Beach
thatthat tells the storytells the story of plate tectonics & how the Earth’s crust wasof plate tectonics & how the Earth’s crust was
formed along the stretch of coastline over the past 460 million years".formed along the stretch of coastline over the past 460 million years".
Current & Potential Major Geotrail Projects in AustraliaCurrent & Potential Major Geotrail Projects in Australia
1.1. TasmaniaTasmania - Living Earth- Living Earth
2.2. QueenslandQueensland - Savannah Way, Dig the Tropics,- Savannah Way, Dig the Tropics,
Boulder Opal (Western Queensland)Boulder Opal (Western Queensland)
3.3. Victoria/SA - Kanawinka, Great Ocean RoadVictoria/SA - Kanawinka, Great Ocean Road
4.4. South Australia - Brachina Gorge,South Australia - Brachina Gorge, Great CentralGreat Central
Geotrail ProposalGeotrail Proposal
5.5. Western AustraliaWestern Australia - Murchison Proposal- Murchison Proposal
6.6. New South Wales -New South Wales - Volcano Geotrail ProposalVolcano Geotrail Proposal
Plus a wide range of smaller, dedicated geotrials
along walking tracks, old rail easementswalking tracks, old rail easements etc. being
developed in NSW, Tasmania, Qld, WA and SA.
Marketing & Promotion - Living Earth GeotrailMarketing & Promotion - Living Earth Geotrail
The following markets & strategies will give the GeoTrailThe following markets & strategies will give the GeoTrail the best chance ofthe best chance of
achieving an increase in visitor stops & stays and associated revenue.achieving an increase in visitor stops & stays and associated revenue.
• engage the local communitiesengage the local communities of the Trail to build pride and referrals toof the Trail to build pride and referrals to
family, friends and visitors through involvement in content development,family, friends and visitors through involvement in content development,
familiarisations, progress reporting and ongoing promotion.familiarisations, progress reporting and ongoing promotion.
• engage the existing visitor marketengage the existing visitor market to increase the number of stops ando increase the number of stops and
stays through the development and promotion of online communicationsstays through the development and promotion of online communications
and a downloadable free mobile app.and a downloadable free mobile app.
• engage relevant specialist groups in the Trailengage relevant specialist groups in the Trail experienceexperience through use ofthrough use of
specific publications and newsletters.specific publications and newsletters.
• engage the potential education marketengage the potential education market through the development andthrough the development and
promotion of a regional education package involving the Trail and otherpromotion of a regional education package involving the Trail and other
relevant experiences.relevant experiences.
The Proposed Savannah Way Geotrail linked to the then Pre-Aspiring
Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark
Volcanics landscapes, with 60 key geositesVolcanics landscapes, with 60 key geosites
located within intensive farming areaslocated within intensive farming areas
Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park, Taiwan
Herberton Mining Centre and Walking TrailsHerberton Mining Centre and Walking Trails
storic Site, NSW - National Parks and Wildlife Service
Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park, Taiwan
Geological TimeWalk,Geoscience Australia, Canberra
1.1 km long embracing 4.6 billion years
Ulladulla Geological Time
Conceived and Created by
Two Geotour Leaders –Two Geotour Leaders –
Different Interpretation TechniquesDifferent Interpretation Techniques
Dr John JacksonDr John Jackson
‘‘The RockThe Rock
Bob BrownBob Brown
Bob & Nancy Geological Tour SiteBob & Nancy Geological Tour Site
Geotourism and Constituency DevelopmentGeotourism and Constituency Development
1.1. Geotourism Standing Committee of the GSAGeotourism Standing Committee of the GSA with Subwith Sub
Committees now in South Australia, Tasmania &Committees now in South Australia, Tasmania &
2.2. CollaborationCollaboration with two other major geoscientistwith two other major geoscientist
professional groups.professional groups.
3.3. GeotourismGeotourism features regularly at major geoscientistfeatures regularly at major geoscientist
& multi-disciplinary (e.g. Linnean Society)& multi-disciplinary (e.g. Linnean Society)
conferences,conferences, including annually at SEGRA events.including annually at SEGRA events.
4.4. Active engagement with state-based geologicalActive engagement with state-based geological
surveyssurveys (NSW, Qld, Tas, SA & WA) & Geoscience
Hon Ian Hunter MLC, then SA Minister forHon Ian Hunter MLC, then SA Minister for
Sustainability, Environment & ConservationSustainability, Environment & Conservation
“Geotourism is (also) an emerging market that SouthGeotourism is (also) an emerging market that South
Australia is especially well placed to cater forAustralia is especially well placed to cater for, with, with
megafauna fossils at the World Heritage Naracoortemegafauna fossils at the World Heritage Naracoorte
Caves, evidence of the world’s earliest animals inCaves, evidence of the world’s earliest animals in
the Flinders Ranges, and stunning geologicalthe Flinders Ranges, and stunning geological
formations in parks like the Gawler Ranges,formations in parks like the Gawler Ranges,
Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges, and the ice-age gemVulkathunha-Gammon Ranges, and the ice-age gem
of Hallett Cove right on Adelaide’s doorstep.”of Hallett Cove right on Adelaide’s doorstep.”
Opening address to Global Eco, Adelaide, 27 November 2018Opening address to Global Eco, Adelaide, 27 November 2018
Where is the Gold in Geotourism?Where is the Gold in Geotourism?
NewNew domestic employment and consulting opportunitiesdomestic employment and consulting opportunities
for geoscientists - interpretation signage/boards, designfor geoscientists - interpretation signage/boards, design
of geotrails etc; particularly important during miningof geotrails etc; particularly important during mining
exploration downturns.exploration downturns.
Consulting opportunities inConsulting opportunities in developing countriesdeveloping countries wherewhere
geoparks are now being nominated and developed.geoparks are now being nominated and developed.
Management roles in geoparksManagement roles in geoparks, regional development and, regional development and
local government agencies.local government agencies.
Increased revenues for regionsIncreased revenues for regions and local communities.and local communities.
Opportunity forOpportunity for geology related interests during earlygeology related interests during early
Since 2008, the awareness of geotourism &Since 2008, the awareness of geotourism & interest from keyinterest from key
constituency groups such as geoscientists continues to growconstituency groups such as geoscientists continues to grow.
Despite setbacks with geopark development,Despite setbacks with geopark development, interest in &interest in &
support for geotrail projects is increasing across the nationsupport for geotrail projects is increasing across the nation.
A key challenge is transforming geotrail projects to includeA key challenge is transforming geotrail projects to include
both bioitic and cultural contentboth bioitic and cultural content; specialist networks such as; specialist networks such as
thethe Savannah Guides NetworkSavannah Guides Network are ideally placed to achieveare ideally placed to achieve
this objective.this objective.
Natural/cultural heritage organisations such asNatural/cultural heritage organisations such as FACET,FACET,
Nature Foundation SA need to reach out to geoscienceNature Foundation SA need to reach out to geoscience
professionals to explore collaborative opportunities.professionals to explore collaborative opportunities.
Geotourism projects doGeotourism projects do need and will benefit from the inputneed and will benefit from the input
and support of state/territory geological surveyand support of state/territory geological survey
Contact DetailsContact Details
Tel: + 61 418 488 340Tel: + 61 418 488 340
Information about Australian Geotourism and Geopark Development Activities:Information about Australian Geotourism and Geopark Development Activities: