Western Australia’s Purnululu National Park - home to the renowned Bungle Bungle Range - passes a tourism milestone today with the official opening of a $1.2million world-class, environmentally sustainable wilderness camp.
Environment and Science Minister Judy Edwards, who was in the park to open the facility, said the Bungle Bungle Wilderness Camp set a new standard for tourism facilities in the World Heritage listed national park.
“The World Heritage listing, granted in July 2003, resulted in an increased expectation from the international community, both on the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) and commercial operators, to manage and operate in the park to world’s ‘best practice’,” Dr Edwards said.
“The consequence of these increased expectations was a recognised need to improve the quality of facilities provided in the park, particularly environmentally sustainable accommodation.
“In the past three years, CALM and Tourism WA have consulted with tour operators, traditional owners and consultants to identify issues in this regard, particularly the need to broaden the level of commercial accommodation facilities in the park.
“Another important consideration was the introduction of joint management arrangements for the park with the Purnululu Aboriginal Corporation, leading to a greater emphasis on cultural issues and the need to better involve traditional owners in management issues, including commercial tourism facilities.”
The Minister said the end result of the expression of interest process was that a five-year licence, with a five-year option, was issued to KWA - a joint venture between the Wunan Foundation (an Aboriginal development organisation) and APT, a long-established tourism venture.
“This is a great partnership between local Aboriginal interests and an established mainstream national tourism operator,” she said.
The KWA camp is attractive, environmentally friendly and efficient in its use of resources such as energy and water. It can accommodate up to 60 people at any one time and features 30 custom-built tented cabins.
Ten of these have private facilities, with twin beds and low voltage lighting, bedside tables, linen, hot showers, kitchen facilities, an indoor/outdoor dining complex and a campfire to relax by in the evenings.
The camp is primarily powered by solar panels, with generator backup. It uses water-efficient, composting toilets and has environmentally friendly waste disposal systems.
There are also permanent cook and camp hosts on hand to welcome travellers on arrival and to make sure their stay is as enjoyable as possible.
Dr Edwards said the well-appointed, comfortable camp was an ideal base for exploration of the magnificent Bungle Bungle massif, and many visitors would use the camp for a number of nights to give themselves plenty of time to explore this fascinating World Heritage listed area.
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