HOW often do you take the time to explore the great attractions in your own backyard? And under what circumstances?
Often, it takes visitors from other areas to prompt us to venture to visit a tourist attraction, to complete a bush walk or simply take a leisurely drive and show our visitors the great things the Wimmera and Grampians has to offer.
I took the chance at the weekend to visit a friend based in Launceston, Tasmania.
She was the ultimate tour guide, talking us through the highlights and historical points of the state and showing us the best of the best, in the limited time we had.
We covered hundreds of kilometres in three-and-a-half days.
As a Tasmanian resident, my friend was able to gain complimentary access to many attractions – sometimes for the group; other times just for herself.
What a fantastic initiative to encourage and promote local tourism from those who know the state, or the region, best and to reward the locals for their patronage.
Sure, many of our nature-based tourism opportunities in the Wimmera are accessed for free.
But it got me thinking – what would this mean for our people, both in the Wimmera and further afield, for the attractions that do charge an entry fee?
An initiative locally could encourage people to visit sites and attractions they have long deferred – perhaps for time or financial reasons. It could encourage people to discover, or rediscover, our own region through fresh eyes.
Speak to any tour guide and they will tell you that visiting the same places never gets old – because they get to experience it through a new group and a new perspective every time. The joy remains.
The Wimmera and Grampians is fortunate to have the Grampians, Little Desert and Big Desert national parks and Mt Arapiles within an hours’ drive – or less – of Horsham – our region’s central point – and countless attractions for all ages and interests to visit within those areas and right across the region.
What could an initiative, such as that seen in Tasmania, do to inject further interest from those who live the closest?
Anyone for a drive this weekend?
Jessica Grimble, editor