Tourism Strategy

Cooloola ConSERVS: Cooloola Conservation, Science Education and Research Voluntourism Strategy. 2020– 2030


The Cooloola Coast is recognised as a natural environment of international significance. It listed on the World Heritage Tentative list; is a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance; is part of the UNESCO Great Sandy Biosphere. The waters are a Marine Park and the land is predominantly National Park. It is home to the endangered humpback dolphins, dugongs, migratory shorebirds, and threatened marine turtles and is an important breeding site for the critically endangered east coast population of Grey Nurse Sharks.

The Cooloola Coast is popular with tourists from SE Queensland and international visitors. There are 3 small communities with total population around 5000: Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove and Rainbow Beach. Caring for an important coastal environment falls to a merry band of enthusiastic local volunteers and a growing number of “voluntourists” who participate in Citizen Science and on-the-ground projects to magnify the impact of local efforts.

The Cooloola Conservation Voluntourism and Scientific Research Tourism Strategy will provide a strategic framework for the development of these two tourism markets in the Cooloola Coast region:

  • volunteer tourism where individuals or groups combine conservation volunteering with a holiday and leisure; and
  • visiting scholars or students conducting environmental science research or science education in the region.

This will grow tourism numbers in the area during off-peak times capitalising on under-used infrastructure, creating employment and providing much needed assistance to Coastcare and the community to collect data, complete much needed projects and conduct research.


Cooloola Coastcare will develop a strategic plan for 2020-2030 covering:

  • Sustainable development of environmental science-based tourism.
  • Strategies to increase domestic and international visitors through voluntourism and science tourism.
  • Outline the requirements for development of services, experiences and infrastructure.
  • Three case studies.

The Process

Cooloola Coastcare will develop a strategic plan for 2020-2030 with input from the community by conducting the following activities in 2019 and 2020:

  • Literature review Voluntourism and Research Tourism.
  • Interviews and Focus Groups including consultation with Indigenous groups, Economic Groups and Businesses
  • Case studies x 3
  • Circulating the draft Cooloola Voluntourism and Research Tourism Strategy for comment and feedback
  • Publication of Cooloola ConSERVS: Cooloola Conservation, Science Education and Research Voluntourism Strategy. 2020– 2030

About the Researcher

Dr Lindy Orwin is the part time Coordinator of Cooloola Coastcare and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland's Institute for Resilient Regions. Lindy is an award winning educator, researcher, consultant and project manager. She is contracted by government departments, educational institutions, corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals on short and long term projects. She is a qualitative researcher with experience in Action Research and Design Based Research.

She also volunteers as the Convenor of the Gympie Regional STEM Hub and is a member of the team hosting the annual STEAMzone Science Festival.



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This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.

Building Better Regions Fund - Community Investments Stream Round Three

Business Development Supporter