Australia’s most iconic walks will be promoted more aggressively internationally as part of the work to be undertaken by a new association announced today, Great Walks of Australia (GWOA).
Seven independently owned and managed walks comprise the founding members of Great Walks of Australia: Cradle Mountain Huts Walk (TAS), Freycinet Experience Walk (TAS), The Arkaba Walk (SA) The Bay of Fires Lodge Walk (TAS), The Great Ocean Walk (VIC), The Larapinta Trail by World Expeditions (NT), The Maria Island Walk (TAS).
The organisation aims to build awareness of Australia’s profile as a world class walking destination by promoting the diversity and high standard of Australia’s best walking operations.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy welcomed the initiative, commenting on its potential for attracting international and domestic markets.
“With so many of our country’s great hikes located in such stunning settings, the opportunities to build the best of Australia’s walks into the Australian holiday experience are enormous,” Mr McEvoy said.
“Great Walks of Australia will undoubtedly raise the profile of Australia as a hiking destination for international and domestic visitors, highlighting unique and immersive ways to experience Australia’s incredible natural environment.”
Dana Ronan, Acting Executive Officer, GWOA and owner of the Great Ocean Walk by bothfeet also commented on the organisation’s capacity for highlighting Australia’s competitive walking offerings.
“Australia is not well recognised on the world stage as a hiking destination but the walks we have are certainly world class and the sheer diversity of habitat we have as a walking destination is second to none. Through Great Walks of Australia we’ll have a platform to showcase what we offer the walking market,” said Ms Ronan.
“Great Walks of Australia will promote fully guided walking experiences with exclusive accommodation that cater for small groups which deliver a richer, deeper experience to visitors.”
“Given the highly specialised nature of Australia’s habitat, walking is by far the best way to actually immerse your senses in the subtleties of the bush and gain a genuine understanding of it. Whether it is taking in Tasmania’s alpine landscapes, Victoria’s spectacular coastline or the sheer space and magnitude of the outback, the Great Walks of Australia offer a very different and altogether inspiring perspective on Australia’s remarkable environment,” continued Ms Ronan.
Great Walks of Australia will use its website and trade promotion channels to target international markets including the UK and Europe and North America.
Charles Carlow, CEO Wild Bush Luxury, owner operator of The Arkaba Walk believes that the formation of Great Walks of Australia will enable a greater number of people to participate in Australia’s distinct walking experiences.
“By collectively marketing some of Australia’s most outstanding walks we hope to attract more people to experience the incredible landscape of Australia, its varied terrain and the many stories of the land,” said Mr Carlow.
“As an activity, walking is not the preserve of the ‘super active’ – each of the Great Walks is accessible to most ages and varying degrees of fitness. Walkers do not have to carry a heavy pack and can look forward to fine food and wine at the end of a day’s walking in the bush.”
“Great Walks of Australia has set high standards with members all expected to provide high levels of service, experienced guides, and deliver a best-in-class experience,” added Mr Carlow.