Council’s bold tourism plan

Tourists welcome: Wollondilly Council hope the creation of a bushwalk, eco-lodges and holiday parks will attract visitors. Pictures: Supplied
Tourists welcome: Wollondilly Council hope the creation of a bushwalk, eco-lodges and holiday parks will attract visitors. Pictures: Supplied

Twilight concerts, kayaking on Thirlmere Lakes and mountain bike trails – these are just some of the exciting ideas Wollondilly Council wants to see in the shire in the next five to 10 years.

The council released its draft tourism strategy, Wollondilly Destination Management Strategy, this week after a year of consultation.

Mayor Judith Hannan can not wait to see the ideas become a reality.

She said there were three ‘game-changing’ projects the council would explore first in an effort to bring more tourists to the shire and encourage them to stay overnight.

“The great walk experience is exciting as is the idea to have designated accommodation so we can increase the time visitors stay in the shire,” Cr Hannan said.

“It is possible for Wollondilly’s walk to become one of the great walks in Australia.

“The stategy also says there is an opportunity for a destination holiday park and eco-friendly lodge and wellness spa.

“Those types of accommodation will give families or couples the choice to camping, caravan or have a luxury stay.

“There will be something for everyone in Wollondilly.”

The council wants to formalise day, half-day and multi-day guided bushwalks through the shire on the back of a successful councillor-led trek last year.

Boutique eco-friendly lodges could offer a glamping component, wellness centre, day spa and yoga studio, medical recuperation facilities and high-quality dining experience.

The document suggests there is untapped potential to build a destination holiday park to attract families to the area.

It could offer a mix of facilities including swimming pools, aquatic parks, kids’ clubs, camp kitchens, mini golf, group entertainment, shops and more. The plan suggests a major operator should manage the park.

“There is a great opportunity to create tourism activities and events in the shire in the future,” Cr Hannan said.

The plan said there was also scope to introduce a biking experience in the shire. A central hub could be used for recreational biking and events including trail bike riding, a mountain bike jump park and racing circuit.

Evening-based activities could include twilight concerts, a moonlight cinema, cultural shows, an extended the IlluminARTe event across two days, evening walking tours, summertime outdoor dining experiences, and food and wine events with night markets.

National Parks and Wildlife Service is keen to support formalised trekking experiences, guided tours, non-motorised on-lake experiences such as kayaking and paddle boarding and guided birdwatching tours.

Other proposed ideas include expanding the NSW Rail Museum experience with the potential into introduce a Harry Potter-themed event, farm tours, Indigenous tours, nature photography experiences and recreational activities such as a treetop canopy walkway and trampoline centre.

Cr Hannan said the strategy would be used to lobby perspective companies and encourage them to come into the shire to deliver the projects.

The Destination Management Plan is on public exhibition until Friday, August 10. Feedback is welcome. Details: council’s website