Coffs Coast makes the Green Destinations Top 100

Published on 29 September 2022

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Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience at Niigi Niigi (Sealy Lookout) within the Orara East State Forest

Sharing Gumbaynggirr culture and knowledge of Country across the Coffs Coast has secured the region a place on the Global Green Destinations Top 100 List for 2022.

Every year international sustainable tourism organisation Green Destinations collects outstanding entries worldwide to inspire tomorrow's travellers and today's tourism professionals – and the Coffs Coast is one of only two Australian destinations to score a place on the prestigious list.  

The region’s selected story entry, Two Path Strong, celebrates Aboriginal tourism on the Coffs Coast and the rich culture that has supported the establishment of the first bilingual Indigenous language school in New South Wales, Australia.

Known as the ‘sharing people’, the Gumbaynggirr people are widely celebrated for giving their abundant food, waterways and knowledge to others, so it’s fitting that they receive international recognition for their success in sustainable tourism and Indigenous education.

“It’s exciting that the story of our living Gumbaynggirr culture around Coffs will be shared with the world,” says Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) CEO Clark Webb.

The Coffs Coast became NSW’s first certified ECO Destination 12 months ago, and making the Top 100 List heralds a new era of tourism abundance based on authentic First Nations history, language and culture, and world-class nature-based experiences.

“We are honoured and proud that the story of our Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School and our award-winning cultural tourism businesses have been selected in this prestigious international competition,” says Mr Webb, who is also the owner operator of Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours.

General Manager, City of Coffs Harbour, Natalia Cowley said: “As we near the first anniversary of Coffs Coast’s ECO Destination certification, I want to congratulate the City team, our tourism businesses, and the community for this outstanding achievement.

“Our region is further cementing its status as an ecotourism centre with a significant cultural story that will be shared around the globe.”

Ecotourism Australia CEO, Elissa Keenan added her congratulations. “The Coffs Coast continues to support local sustainable and responsible tourism ventures and encourages ECO Certification among local ecotourism and nature tourism businesses, elevating their mission to protect the natural landscapes that draw travellers to the destination year after year.”

Australia’s first bilingual Indigenous language school is located in Coffs Coast, along with an array of award-winning tours, cafes and cultural experiences run by the Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC). The region is also home to 8 Ecotourism Australia-certified businesses and experiences, with several more being supported by City of Coffs Harbour to achieve Eco Certification over the coming months.

The region’s outstanding headlands, waterways, surf beaches, mountains, rivers, National Parks, forest reserves and unique Solitary Islands Marine Park – along with Gumbaynggirr language and culture - are now on the world stage.

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