There have been several recent news releases outlining nature based tourism developments in the state next door.
In a release titled "Back to the Bush", NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall confirms "from scuba diving to bushwalking, nature based tourism is exploding in popularity all over the world".
"We know that an increasing number of international tourists from places like China, India and Germany are looking for a unique and scenic experience away from the crowded skylines of Shanghai" he says. "It's about boosting our local economies and ensuring our towns continue to survive".
Another release "Unlocking NSW's Multi-Billion Dollar Backyard" outlines "a major new strategy to boost rural and regional economies and capitalise on the fast growing popularity of nature based tourism" by the NSW Government.
Perhaps even prior to supporting the NSW River Red Gum Nature Tourism Action Plan in 2012, the NSW government have worked to make their state "number 1". They recognise "our network of national parks and reserves play an important role in attracting people to regional NSW and enticing them to stay longer".
It's certainly paying off for them. Destination New South Wales research shows nature based visitors spent $18.3 billion in 2016, with visitor numbers growing consistently.
We like the visionary Wollondilly Destination Management Strategy ("Council's Bold Tourism Plan" -July 10) outlining "game changing" projects to bring more visitors to the shire. With a "great walk" they hope will become one of the great walks in Australia, to guided bush walks, farm tours, indigenous tours, nature photography and boutique eco-friendly lodges, it sounds amazing.
It also sounds like something we could easily do in Victoria, giving our economically struggling rural towns the boost they deserve.
As you've heard it said many times now, rural Victoria is blessed with largely undiscovered stunning wetland habitats which could rival Kakadu. By protecting and promoting these precious nature assets, home to rare and threatened species of birds and rich in indigenous culture, these wetlands could soon become our own Victorian Kakadu, securing our financial futures.
Picture Straw-necked and White Ibis, Dorith Callander.
Straw-necked Ibis are found in wetlands in many parts of Australia, New Guinea and some parts of Indonesia. Referred to as the "farmers friend" they protect crops by eating insects. Breeding season may be around March in the north, July-December in the south, but may occur thoughout the year after rains. Nests are used year after year.