The State Government has demonstrated it’s faith in the “extraordinary gift” that ecotourism attraction Wildlife Wonders will bring to the region, contributing $1.5 million to its development.
State Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford was on site at Apollo Bay’s future Great Ocean Road tourism beacon on Friday to announce the funding, which is part of the State Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund.
Cape Otway’s Conservation Ecology Centre is piloting the development, and its chief Lizzie Corke said the funding boost “makes everything possible”.
“The funding announcement today takes us to a really critical tipping point; we’re now able to commence work,” Ms Corke said on Friday.
“The funding announced today is an investment in the future of the Otways; for our community, for our environment, and for those visitors that come from all around the world to share this experience,” she said.
“As an ecotourism venture, Wildlife Wonders will offer unsurpassed opportunities for visitors to observe and learn about the Otways’ flora and fauna.
“Accompanied by a qualified conservationist guide, visitors will be able to watch koalas dozing in the treetops, potoroos and bandicoots foraging on the ferny forrest floors, and you can just imagine the kangaroos hoping across the horizon in front of that stunning ocean vista.”
Ms Pulford said Wildlife Wonders would provide “an extraordinary gift” to both Colac district and Victorian tourism by giving visitors a reason to get out of Melbourne and stay longer in the region for an “authentic, nature-based experience”.
“This region perhaps more than any other in the state; are places that people have traditionally come as day trippers,” Ms Pulford said.
“The statistics around the Twelve Apostles, not too far from here, are quite extraordinary; it is the third-most-visited tourist attraction in the country, and people stay on average less than 20 minutes and they spend less than the amount of money you’d spend on a cup of coffee.
“So for the local community this project means jobs; it means that parents can sit around the dining table at night and be confident their children can grow up to live and work in this community.
“But I think the other incredibly important part of this project is the extraordinary connection that it brings to our natural environment; this is something that captures our imagination.”
For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.