Signs are good for drive

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Bianca Kee­gan

NAM­ING the scenic route to Port Dou­glas the Great Bar­rier Reef Drive could be only months away, and it is set to bring a new wave of self­drive tourists.

The pro­posal to brand the iconic sec­tion of Cap­tain Cook High­way from Yorkeys Knob to Port Dou­glas – which could ri­val the Great Ocean Road – has been on the radar of Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Doug Ryan since 2012.

He hopes di­rec­tional sig­nage and in­for­ma­tive plaques at lookouts and park­ing stops will be erected be­fore he stands aside from his po­si­tion in June.

‘‘We have been talk­ing with the Wet Trop­ics Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity and we’re hop­ing to have a meet­ing fairly shortly to chat about sig­nage,’’ Mr Ryan said.

The pro­posal would need State Govern­ment fund­ing, how­ever Mem­ber for Cook David Kemp­ton has pre­vi­ously sup­ported the move, which is tipped to boost tourism.

Dou­glas Mayor Ju­lia Leu has also backed the in­tended brand­ing and said the plan was back on the ta­ble fol­low­ing the re-for­ma­tion of Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil last month.

‘‘The road is a spec­tac­u­lar drive and there is enor­mous po­ten­tial to pro­mote this lo­cally and for the re­gion over­all,’’ Cr Leu said.

‘‘Tourism is the life blood of Dou­glas and there is un­tapped po­ten­tial in nam­ing it. A lot of peo­ple who come to the area for the first time are re­ally blown away at how the beau­ti­ful the drive is.’’

Cr Ju­lia Leu said the new coun­cil would need to be briefed and they would seek fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance if coun­cil­lors ap­proved the idea.

‘‘We are mak­ing our way through a whole raft of is­sues (as a new coun­cil). This is on our agenda.

‘‘It’s a fab­u­lous op­por­tu­nity for the pro­mo­tion of eco­log­i­cal, cul­tural and Abo­rig­i­nal val­ues.’’

Stake­hold­ers are also plan­ning to se­cure fund­ing for in­ter­pre­tive signs on the Bloom­field Track to Cook­town.

The 40km stretch is re­port­edly rated one of the top five drives in Aus­tralia.

WHAT A DRIVE: Grubs Trike Tours take a breather at the Rex Look­out

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