Environment Minister Robyn Parker formally handed Auswide the keys to Green Cape Lightstation on Thursday, January 24. The lightstation recently underwent $1 million in heritage restoration works ahead of the new Light to Light Walk ecotourism venture.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) selected Auswide to develop environmentally sensitive infrastructure and run guided tours on the popular bushwalking route from Ben Boyd Tower to Green Cape Lightstation.
Ms Parker said the new Light to Light Walk aimed to draw domestic and international tourists to Ben Boyd National Park while creating rewarding local jobs and helping to protect the environment.
“The Light to Light Walk has always been popular with keen bushwalkers and Auswide’s ecotourism venture will see it rival Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain and Victoria’s Great Ocean Walk for a must-do Australian experience,” Ms Parker said.
“Auswide are planning to guide their first walkers this September and they are currently meeting rigorous environmental and planning requirements before building low-impact accommodation at Mowarry Point and at Bittangabee.
“I am delighted that Auswide will supplement the NSW government’s recent investment of $1 million for heritage works at Green Cape Lightstation with an extensive refurbishment that will allow more accommodation at this beautiful and significant site.”
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the opportunities the new Light to Light Walk was creating were exciting.
“In this region we know we have one of the most scenic stretches of coastal wilderness in the world and I applaud this initiative which will help us share it,” Mr Constance said.
“The jobs and opportunities this project is already creating are encouraging and I am proud that we are setting such a high benchmark for ecotourism in this region.”
Auswide CEO Kevin Stevens said the new Light to Light Walk would have a dedicated website and an online booking system.
“Green Cape Lightstation is already booked out during peak whale migration periods through 2014, so our plans to refurbish the main light keeper’s house are a high priority for Auswide,” Mr Stevens said.
“Auswide is a not-for-profit organisation that provides opportunities for people and we will be delivering Certificate III, IV, and diploma level education in tourism guiding and outdoor recreation, another real boost for this area.
“We are especially keen to educate visitors and locals about the rich Aboriginal heritage along the Light to Light Walk and we are working in close partnership with the NPWS and the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council to ensure this becomes a reality.”
Light to Light Walk experiences will include guided sea kayaking, luggage transfer, meals, accommodation and local expert knowledge of flora, fauna and Aboriginal cultural heritage.