Having just hosted the Keep Australia Beautiful Awards (kab.org.au) I’d like to honour some small towns that are doing huge things for the environment and in turn have tourists flocking…
1. Narooma, New South Wales
I’d like to sing the praises of Narooma and in particular, I’d like to say the young people of this area have their act together and are definitely forward-thinking. Narooma has an amazing environmental education program and the signage they have here was something that totally impressed me.
In a really funky way, they’ve got everything from an abundance of street bins, fishing tackle disposal bins and signs on beaches encouraging people to make sure the beach, ocean and surrounding environments are kept clean and litter-free.
They have a brilliant program called “What’s Under The Wharf” run by the Eurobodalla Shire in partnership with Batemans Marine Park and the Nature Coast Marine Group. This program uses local expertise to deliver all sorts of different, popular and effective education experiences.
They have amazing ocean life and take their role in helping keep the coastlines clean very seriously. Their hands-on approach is wonderful; you can collect from the local council an enviro treasure hunt activity sheet, get involved in council clean up days and training programs.
A feel-good holiday destination.
Eurobodalla Shire Council, New South Wales
Population: 7 ,000.
2. Dover, Tasmania
The Dover locals love living in this extraordinary place, so the community commitment to keeping the place looking beautiful and thriving is incredible.
The foreshore and beachfront (which has an amazing playground) is an absolute testament to the perseverance and strength of this extraordinary community. The locals volunteer so much of their time and are so devoted to looking after this relatively isolated town and I know you will love the end result.
Tasmania is a state that many moons ago used to make moolah from chopping down the trees, now they profit from keeping them put, by allowing tourists to come in and revel in the beauty of their extraordinary forests.
Huon Valley Council, Tasmania.
Population: 15, 140.
3. Albany, Western Australia
Albany is somewhere that I’d like you all to pop somewhere in your diaries as a great place to go, but this one is somewhere you have to spend a little bit of time because there are so many different things that you can see and do…
You have access into the Pilbara, which is an amazing place to check out. Albany is somewhere that is kind of like an embarrassment of riches for all the different wonderful things that you can do here. It has the most amazing Anzac history… this was actually the embarkation point for about 41,000 troops heading to WWI. Albany has an out of this world National Anzac Centre and Heritage Park in honour of our Anzacs, which is an absolute must-see.
They also have the oldest community built skatepark in the world (The Snake Run) which recently celebrated its 40th birthday.
The Aboriginal history in Albany is fantastic and there is a really vibrant art centre – the Albany Vancouver Art Centre, in which the amazing aboriginal artist Bella Kelly had showcased her Bella Kelly Retrospective Exhibition.
City of Albany Council, Western Australia.
Population: 55, 357.
4. Victor Harbour, South Australia
Victor Harbour has a very rich history, wonderful historic infrastructure and unique things that draw the tourists in, like their wonderful horse trams.
Something that has long been discussed and negotiated with the community is that new developments are environmentally friendly, forward thinking and sensitive towards flora, fauna, history and existing landmarks.
It also has a wonderful indigenous history and the area has a beautiful harmonious relationship with the Ngarrindjeri – Ramindjeri peoples. Make sure you check out the mosaic sculpture at Kleinig’s Lookout.
Victor Harbour has truly mastered combining indigenous history, flora and fauna with forward thinking and sustainable development and we, the travellers, benefit from that.
City of Victor Harbor, South Australia
Population: 14, 000.
5. Cemetery Beach, Western Australia
The community of Cemetary Beach in Western Australia have provided safe access to nesting Flatback Turtles in the Port Hedland region. Last year, volunteers from schools, universities, community groups and businesses put in around 700 hours to protect these turtles by making the environment, facilities and beach access of absolute importance and cleanliness.
What has happened is that an abundance of tourists have been drawn to Port Hedland, which has completely diversified the town’s economic base.
Town of Port Hedland Council, Western Australia
Population: 18, 000.
My advice… venture off the well-beaten track in our stunning country – the beauty will delight you.