Report – TO3025 – Daily Reflections

Daily Reflections Sunday the 24th of September.

Cardwell Lookout

  • Dangerous place (roads)
  • Need redesigning it to make it safer, and lot nicer with suggestions with toilets which there is a clear need for.
  • Fairly heavily used.
  • Track about 18month old and already erosion to be seen along the track.
  • Aquaculture farms, in such sensitive area.
  • No interpretation, no local benefit.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Josephine Falls

  • Interpretive track, many nice plants worth having a look at and the interpretation was good so you actually learn something
  • Swimming hole, many signs of “Do’s and Don’t’s”
  • No real limits to visitors, people and buses can with ease reach the car park.
  • Even though Josephine Falls is a heavily used area one could not think so due to the very nice area and facilities.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Babinda Boulders

  • This has also become a tourist attraction and has grown up from just being a local swim site.
  • The site also has strong aboriginal importance.
  • There is a information center run by volunteers.
  • There is also signs to the swimming hole, a rainforest circuit walk, devils pool lookout and Goldfield track that leads to our camping ground for the night.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Goldsborough State Forest Park

  • Another site where the managing and planning authorities did not consider the aboriginal peoples values and put up signs about the Malanbarra Clan’s use of the forest in different ways.
  • The interpretation was however good, but when knowing that the signs were put up in a such fashion one could feel less for the authorities.
  • The camping area have two sections, one with only fresh water taps and nothing else, a few hundred meters the other section is established with electric grills and toilets.
  • The area is heavily under-used .
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Daily Reflections Monday the 25th of September.

Lake Barrine’s Wildlife Cruises

  • They have really nice 4-stroke engine.
  • Only really thing I personally reflected over that perhaps not belongs in a ecotourism picture is the feeding of fish and birds.
  • Obviously he has a carrying capacity on the lake but with his sustainable approach I reckon that he would not let that operation go over the sustainable limit of visitors.
  • That was obviously showed when he said that Skyrail decreased his operation was perhaps a good thing, indicating that he cares for the park and the environment.
  • Good on him!!
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Lake Eacham

  • Was more “mass-touristy” to me, tar-matted walk around the lake, large billboards with interpretation that has way too much information on them so you get scared away from them before you see them!
  • BBQ areas, toilets.
  • Fish in the water came up to the surface indicating clear feeding behavior.
  • Many signs.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Curtain Tree Fig

  • Really nice spot, here the managers really sat down and thought about it BEFORE they started to build the boardwalk, even around the tree!
  • Photo ramp backwards! Really nice!
  • Interpretation by guides and signs
  • Did not hear any hear or read anything about the aboriginal significance about this particular tree but however, I reckon that it must be/have been.
  • GOOD WORK!
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Daily Reflections Monday the 25th of September cont.

After an Olympic Record in Shopping in Mareeba we came out to:

Mareeba Wetlands Bird Sanctuary

  • They only use tourism to pay their bills.
  • The entire place, infrastructure and land is owned by locals.
  • He suggested the idea that Qld in general should use aboriginal names for common things, like toilets (Gents & Shielas). (Good idea!)
  • He also introduced the fraise “duty of care” meaning “if we hurt them – we have to heal them!” (Wise, but I don’t know really no how to react).
  • We never had the chance of go on an interpretative tour, but if it is done with the same enthusiasm as he provided the information to us with I would say it would have been a delight.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Red Hill Enviro-Park

  • User fees will pay for the lot.
  • Will contribute to research.
  • But I am very split on the idea of Red Hill Enviro-park. I don’t know if it would be a winning model. The whole park was just one walk that you had to return up the same way, which is very silly in many ways, i) you see all the tourists and have to squeeze in every time you want to walk somewhere ii) it’s a loss not to use the conspicuous environments they have.
  • I don’t think it will follow the definitions of ecotourism, more nature-based or to be really frank, it will not be more than a restaurant and cabins with a view and a boardwalk.
  • Where is the “undisturbed” “uncontaminated” areas?
  • Conclusion I didn’t like it!
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Daily Reflections Tuesday the 26th of September.

QPWS in Mossman

  • They don’t like user pays. 🙂
Bamanga Bubu Aboriginal Trail

  • Liked the idea of the whole project but perhaps they should gather more deeper information about what they are talking about. This enables them to answer questions from the visitors. Not only knowledge from the elders, perhaps from the western society so they can compare and contrast and give examples that the visitors can more easily relate to.
  • Good that they did not come from the same clan, this way it gave us as visitors a broader view of indigenous people from both NSW and up on FN Qld.
  • Also with the questionable information about the paintings makes the whole story from the start of the walk questionable.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Daintree River Boat Cruises

  • Peter Cooper was our guide and he was very well educated botanist.
  • Knew also a lot about the local birds.
  • Noisy 4-stroke engine.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Maardja Boardwalk

  • Andrew Spooner was the guide and he works as a ranger for the QPWS.
  • Really nice boardwalk, interpretative signs and some nice lookout areas.
  • The boardwalk was built so smaller trees went trough the boardwalk so the walk don’t limits the trees from growing.
  • Toilets and parking beside the road was easy.

Daily Reflections Tuesday the 26th of September cont.

Kulki – Cape Tribulation

  • Nice Place!
  • Again return boardwalk!
  • Very heavily used BBQ areas just in front of the beach.
  • Peppermint was pretty cool addition to the experience!
  • Another great example of nature-based tourism.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Dubuji – Cape Tribulation drain area

  • Lots of infrastructure, electric BBQs
  • Huge paths, access to the beach and large interpretative billboards again as Lake Eacham that is scary from a far.
  • Again an area that looks good for the “American style day out kind of place”
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Daily Reflections Wednesday the 27th of September

Quicksilver Cruises

  • Accredited with “Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation”
  • Jutte showed us six things (animals and features) of the reef before we headed back to the boat and the pontoon. The interpretation was fair to poor due to the situation, wind and wash from the ocean made the ability to talk and listen poor, plus you felt that it would have been better with more guides per tourist, and conducted it like a snorkel tour were the tourists point out stuff that they do not know what is and the guides are there to give them the interpretation.
  • On the pontoon there is an underwater observatory, with some interpretative signs. The most informative alternative are Quicksilver’s semi-submersible vessels where the guide gives the tourists a good run through the local fauna at the site. Though these tours were experienced little bit rushed, there wasn’t really any time for questions in large amounts.
  • Max Shepard argued that one of the things about User Pays is the inequitable way in which the government is tackling the issue. Effectively they are implementing a tourism tax and if you add this to the various taxes specifically aimed at tourists around the country, it becomes very costly for an international visitor, even before they put their foot on Australian territory.
  • This can potentially make us less than competitive with other international destinations.
  • Max also moved away from the reef and look at the situation at the Daintree where the government charges visitors travelling with commercial operators and argued that we would see how silly the situation is. In the past, more than half of the visitors to the Daintree area were travelling with commercial operators, but that has been reducing over several years to a situation where possibly not more than 30% of visitors travel with commercial operators and pay a management charge. These visitors are closely supervised and are provided with a good standard of interpretation. The other 70%, who are not well supervised, have the potential of causing the most impacts and receive little interpretation, are not charged. The very fact that it is cheaper to travel independently encourages business away from the commercial operators.
  • Max also wrote to me about the user-pays (after I written to him asking some additional questions) and he stated that the Queensland Government and the tourism industry are presently working on all aspects of tourism in protected areas, including permits and fees. Unfortunately, without any reason other than political direction, some of these issues cannot be discussed and consequently it is difficult to negotiate a restructure which would be acceptable to industry.
  • I suspect over the next 12 to 18 months a system will be developed completely in Queensland and then perhaps over the next 5 to 10 years as governments are compelled to allocate more money to social issues, pressures will come about that will see a complete and equitable User Pays system, where all users will pay.

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Undersea Explorer

  • Accredited with Advanced Ecotourism Award
  • John was really nice letting us into his vessel during construction and talk to us about his operation and how uses tourism to be able to do research.
  • Must be a fabulous experience with all his diving, not only the minkies but also sharks and nautiluses.

Daily Reflections Thursday the 28th of September.

Rainforest Habitat

The walk was really nice and the wildlife was really concentrated which is good for wildlife enthusiasts and tourists. However, the park is not the normal habitat (undisturbed natural area) and should therefore not be classified as a ecotourism park (especially not as advanced ecotourism as it is accredited for) due to this artificial habitat (same goes for Billabong Sanctuary outside Townsville). The Rainforest Habitat company and the Wet Tropics Management Authority have the same goals of rainforest conservation and education.

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Rex Lookout

— Nice.

TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld
Hartley’s Creek Crocodile farm

  • This again is not a natural area and should not (according to my, and our class’ (I hope) definition of ecotourism) be classified as more than a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Well trained guide (Christine) who knew a lot about the crocodiles.
TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

Wet Tropics Management Authority

Wet Tropics has also problems with their own organisation with what is decided among the managers and executives is not applicable at the “grassroots” (rangers) so instead of taking information and research from JCU and other research centres, the research should be based from the information that the rangers report in to the managers and a plan of action is given back to them dealing with what is reported. Good that this information has come up to the surface so they can deal with it

They also went into the cultural aspect of the tourism and gave us some handouts about Wet Tropics Nature Based Tourism Strategy, Aboriginal Perceptions of the Tourism Industry

Cambell Clark was talking about the plans of implementing a user friendly homepage where recreationalists can click on where, how long, and how difficult the want to walk and press “find” the database will give 10-15 suggestions where to travel to do these walks and how to get there, what to expect in terms of natural attractions, swimming holes, waterfalls etc… I thought this idea was REALLY good idea! More of this!

EPA / QPWS

  • Also mentioned the implementing of the homepage Cambell was talking about.
  • I was impressed with the talk from Brent Vincent who is the Senior Wildlife Ranger, his enthusiasm and understanding of the crocks and other wildlife he is part in removing.
  • Seems like these authorities know what needs to be done and they have reasonable ideas about new projects, but they have, as most governmental agencies, restrictions from the politicians.

Freshwater Caravan Park

  • This very informal talk to Ian was really upsetting due to my own personal values (again), I am keen to help native people in their struggle to be equal as the everyone else, but when they are fighting and destroying for any one else I get upset and thereby the expression “screw ’em all”.

Daily Reflections Friday 29th September.

Green Island

  • Poor to very poor effort in using the ferry ride over for interpretation!
  • Robyn wasn’t one of the real guides doing the interpretative walk so I can excuse the lack of interest in spreading her message to the whole group not only to the few in the front.
  • Generally good though with the nice addition of the history of the island.

Tour of the Green Island resort

  • Only full-flush toilets, one can think that is a bit poor when considering the amount of money both the company put in and what the guests pay for the rooms.
  • What they told us sounds good but behind the scenes there is arguably things going on that is not “allowed” in the rule book for Green Island.
  • Recycling was done with cans, glass and paper, the “normal” Australian way, which unfortunately due to many reasons is not very well developed on either the island nor mainland.

Snorkeling & Walking tour of the island

  • Was nice, less coral but more fish in water. -Nice!
  • TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    Daily Reflections Saturday 30th September.

    Lake Placid

    • Nice place, too bad we didn’t have enough time to go for a swim.
    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld
    Sky Rail

    • The ultimate rainforest experience…
    • It was nice but I was not that impressed, had a stronger impression from the rainforest walk at both Josephine Falls and Goldsborough’s walk.
    • Perhaps this is due to the weather or the late time of the fieldtrip (last day).
    • The language in the interpretation center at Barron Falls Station was generally was quite simple to let everyone understand. The whole centre has many interpretative signs and flow-schemes.
    • They deliberately kept the cultural aspect out due to Tjabukai Aboriginal Cultural Park where we will go later today.
    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

    • The interpret was REALLY good with the choice between seven languages in the movie theaters.
    • The theatre following the movie was really nicely structured with the settings appropriate with trees on the side and so on. The choreography and structure of both the show and the high-tech visual aid and the combination of video and live performance was just EXCELLENT!!
    • VERY IMPRESSING!!!
    • The illustrator on the digeredo showed us that it sounds almost as good with a PVC-plastic tube.
    • Wow, even if this is a composed for mass-tourists I felt I had a very powerful aboriginal experience!
    TO3025 Fieldtrip N.Qld

    General Reflections week 39 – 2000.

    Basically one could sum up the contents of the parks like this:

    City Council Parks – Lots of infrastructure incl. free electric grills and BBQs, due to if they would ask for money for the service the boxes would be vandalized and the repairs of these would cost more than giving the electricity away.

    One can wonder if a tar-matted path that will cost less economically to put in will decrease the experience more than a boardwalk or an eroded path. The heavy tourist pressure on boardwalks can be interpreted that there is too few walks and perhaps installation of long hikes (>50km long) i.e. multiple day hikes to spread the impact.

    I am aware that this is a major problem, and as I as a “purist” I prefer hiking trails in the middle of no-where and I would not feel the relief if I was hiking on a board walk, due to the fact that it feels civilized and I would not get a true nature experience with boardwalks. I do understand that the general mass tourist might not be as pure as I am and I do understand that a wide range of walks is in order to cover the tourism demand. I have no conclusions about this particular topic more than it is a very complex question and it needs much planning and management before Qld introduces long hike trails.

    The tourism events we encountered and reflected over ranged from very poorly managed and planned right to the other extreme.

    Green Island was one example that had numerous issues that could be dealt with in another more environmental way, like the interpretation is very poor on the boat.

    Quicksilver was one of the “good guys” as Alastair reflected that the reef on Agincourt Reef looks the same as it did 20 years ago when he saw the first time. This tend to show great management and planning.

    Of cause no one is perfect and the TO3025 group found many issues that could be enhanced even on Quicksilver, like a personal interpretation of the animals and plants found on the reef by a guide, not necessarily a marine biologist, as the group that stayed reflected over when Alastair started talking on the pontoon many tourist started ears dropping and that just , for me at least, tend to indicate a “thirst” for information from an educated person that knows lots about what he talks about. Some people wants to learn but they DO NOT want to read about it, they want it explained to them. Information should not be just available for them but given to them perhaps both orally and on paper. (So they can tell their friends when they get back that they learnt this and this…).

    As discussed in class the definition of ecotourism means so many thing for so many people even two companies with Advanced Accreditation has been shown to have different views.

    Undersea Explorer is the company that I reckon gives the best model for ecotourism, John has obviously great interest in conservation and science, the way he uses the tourism to pay for science is really a nice smooth interaction and involvement between the tourist and hands-on on-the-edge research. These trips are and will unfortunately probably forever be for the higher class in our society due to the enormous prices. But perhaps this “Robin Hood method” is really appropriate when considering the outcome of the research. (Let the rich, that can afford it, pay for the research).

    Mareeba Wetlands is another company that uses tourism to pay for conservation and management. The difference is obvious, though Tim said in the start of his talk that he was not interested in tourism per se, and I reckon that Tim’s heart is beating for the conservation and management for the birds and other wildlife and to be able to conserve them! But to be able to do this he needs money and the way that he could gain money was from tourism.

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