Cultural camp to lift tourism
Tourism WA is in talks with Aboriginal communities in the North West to find locations for travellers to pull off the road and camp on Aboriginal land, with one Pilbara location already under development for the project.
Camping with Custodians was first rolled out at the Imintji community in the Kimberley in May and will be extended to its first Pilbara location at Peedamulla Station near Onslow next year.
The idea is to keep it simple, with low-impact camping areas and ablution blocks for tourists to stay overnight and interact with communities.
Jundaru Aboriginal Corporation is facilitating the program at Peedamulla on behalf of the small Jundaru community, who have been custodians at the station for more than 40 years, and is already developing a campsite and tourist facilities.
Director Caroline Parker said Tourism WA had approached Jundaru as a prospective operator mainly because of the community’s accessible location. “We’re 7km off the North West Coastal Highway, and our property runs to the coast,” she said.
“So we’ve got a range of activities lined up that we can do with tourists, so there’s not only camping.”
A historic building in the community will also be made into a reception area and interpretative centre showcasing Jundaru history and culture.
Ms Parker said the program would be a win-win situation for Jundaru.
“I am really looking forward to this getting started because this will mean more job opportunities for the people in the community and more training,” she said.
The community hopes to start operating Camping with Custodians before the end of the 2017 tourist season.
Tourism WA acting chief executive Gwyn Dolphin said Tourism WA was investigating other potential sites in the region, with Mimbi and Violet Valley in the Kimberley the two other sites along with Peedamulla currently under development.
Imintji has 20 campsites and visitor facilities.