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Watarrka Track expression of interest: Northern Territory

Watarrka Track expression of interest: Northern Territory
June 18, 2021

Traditional Owners are looking for a strategic partner to develop and operate an iconic multiday hike through the Watarrka National Park, accessing some of the most stunning landscape of Central Australia.

330km south west of Alice Springs nestled between Uluru and Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia


Investment type:
Invest in, co-design and operate multiday walking experiences on the Watarrka Track

Project status:
Greenfield with Traditional Owner and Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife endorsement and support

The opportunity

Why the Territory
The Northern Territory is well known for its nature, Aboriginal culture and adventure experiences. Walking experiences such as the Jatbula Trail and the Larapinta Trail have well established reputations in Australia and around the world.

The Watarrka National Park is very popular, attracting 290 000 visitors in 2019. Year-on-year visitor growth to the park has grown - up 29% since 2015. While 58% of visitors spend time hiking in the park, there are currently no multiday hiking opportunities available. Central Australia attracts close to 800 000 visitors per annum, with interstate and intrastate visitors two-thirds higher than overseas visitors.

The Territory Government has committed $5 million in funding towards getting this project developed and operational. Furthermore, maintenance of the trail and the park will be the ongoing responsibility of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. Together with the Traditional Owners, the Territory Government with the support of the Central Land Council will guide the successful proponent through the development processes.

About Watarrka National Park
Watarrka National Park was established in 1989 and covers 1057 square kilometres. The joint management plan for Watarrka was presented in 2018 and defines the shared vision, objectives and strategies to deliver effective joint management, care for culture and country and support exciting, memorable and safe visitor experiences.

Watarrka provides visitors with unique opportunities to explore breathtaking gorges on foot or by air, relax by secluded rock holes, experience the rich diversity of plant and animal species, and be inspired by incredible geological formations, all within an ancient cultural landscape. The park boasts stunning landscape rich with nature and culture. While hiking and camping are extremely popular experience in the region, there is an opportunity to offer a multiday option in the park.

Anangu Traditional Owners
The Anangu Traditional Owners are pleased to share their country and culture and welcome this project. As joint managers of the national park, they have been actively involved in discussions and planning of this new experience and are ready to work with the right potential operator / investor to establish a mutually beneficial agreement. The successful proponent will work with the Traditional Owners to determine the track and locate the camp sites along the way.

The region is serviced by airports in both Uluru and Alice Springs, and Watarrka is a popular self-drive destination. The Stuart Highway provides a major arterial road for freight and logistics. The Ghan runs adjacent to the Stuart Highway providing additional rail freight opportunities twice a week to Alice Springs.

Kings Canyon Resort and Kings Creek Station are located in or next to the park and are convenient bases from which hikers can embark on this multiday walking experience and also use to refresh post hiking and before further adventures in the Territory.

Nearby attractions
The Centre boasts a number of other experiences to attract and retain visitors in the region. The UNESCO world heritage listed Uluru / Kata Tjuta and the Tjoritja / West McDonnell National Park are also strong visitor drawcards for the region. The popular multiday Larapinta Trail crosses through Tjoritja / West McDonnell National Park. Alice Springs and Yulara are also key venue locations for major events, corporate meetings, incentive travel programs as well as conferences.

Next steps
To register your interest in this opportunity, fill in the online form.

The formal expression of interest (EOI) process will open on 30 July 2021.

Registered organisations will be notified that the EOI documents are available for downloading from this website.

The EOI process will be open for six weeks, closing at COB on 10 September 2021.

Contact details
Daryl Hudson
Director, Tourism Investment Attraction
Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet


Click here for more information.

Image credit: Tourism NT

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