The Great Ocean Road is about to get new attractions

Andrew Munro 24 July 2017 NEWS

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A wildlife area, cellar door and more are set to become the latest hot spots on the Great Ocean Road.

A multi-million dollar upgrade package is being rolled out along the Great Ocean Road, Geelong and Bellarine region as part of the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program.

Between public and private investment a total of $3.8 million is being pumped into developments here, with a focus on variety. And if these new fixtures prove their commercial viability, that's just the beginning.

Right now, the most popular attractions on the Great Ocean Road are natural wonders, but the area's TDDI recipients will offer a wider range of options, due for completion through 2017 and 2018, including:

  • Platypi Chocolate: A new chocolate factory in Forrest, fronted by a café and retail outlet so visitors can eat-in and then take-out.
  • Wildlife Wonders: 20-hectares situated to the the west of Apollo Bay, to let visitors see Australian wildlife in its natural habitat. The tourist destination will also help support the park's wildlife rehabilitation area and education centre.
  • Provenance Cellar Door: Fyansford Paper Mill is getting a makeover as a winery, designed to complement the area's existing attractions.
  • Wye Beach Hotel: The well-known fixture is getting an expansion, in order to accommodate weddings, conferences and other events.

"Tourism is a vital industry for Australia and especially in the regions, where 45-cents of every tourist dollar is spent" said Steven Ciobo, minister for trade, tourism and investment. "These projects will add to the depth and variety of tourism offerings available"

The TDDI program is just one of many grants that's helping develop Australia's tourism industry, in line with the ambitious Tourism 2020 goals of doubling overnight tourism expenditure between 2014 and 2020, and integrating regional tourist developing with statewide plan.

It may already be seeing very strong results. In 2014, regional areas were being being snubbed by tourists and visitor numbers were dropping off, but they've rebounded considerably as the Tourism 2020 plan develops. More isolated regions are also opening up. Parts of East Arnhem land, for example, will be seeing their first ever tours on 31 August 2017.

This kind of unified tourism plan, on a national and state basis, might simultaneously help ease the burden on heavy-traffic tourist spots, and promote some of the less travelled regions for international and Australian visitors alike.

Food, wine and wildlife are all among the most popular holiday activities for Australians on a domestic getaway, so the Great Ocean Road attractions are a perfect fit. Once these and other developments get off the ground, it might be worth looking at regional Australia for your next holiday.

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