Its been almost 12 months ago since we last spoke to Ian Wells from Royal Coast Walks so we thought it would be a great idea to catch up so they could update us on all their recent achievements – they’re becoming bigger and even better!
How have things changed for Royal Coast Walks since June 2011?
We attended our first international trade show in LA in August 2011 where we met with more than 50 North American travel wholesalers. They were amazed there was a beautiful national park so close to the centre of Sydney, and excited to know we offered guided walks in the area. We have subsequently taken bookings from many of these wholesalers with some planning entire Sydney itinerary around our tours. We were also finalists in the NSW Tourism Awards in November 2011. Other finalists in our category had an average of 13 years in business, so it was a huge coup for us as we were less than three years old.
Since we last spoke, have you introduced/changed any new hikes, tours or adventures?
We’re expanding our range of guided walking tours to include Sydney Harbour. The harbour has a little known national park that encompasses all the beautiful natural areas and we will be the first tour operator to offer daily, scheduled tours of them. We are also working on a couple of multi day options that will be unique to Sydney. To be among the first to hear about these new tours when we launch them in Spring 2012 you can sign up to our e-newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter feed from our website www.royalcoastwalks.com.au
You were the well-deserved winner of a number of awards at the 2012 Shire Tourism Awards night! What awards did you take home?
- Winner – Shire Attraction
- Winner – Eco Tourism
- Winner – SSHED (Sutherland Shire Hub for Economic Development) 12 month Business Accelerator Program
- Highly Commended – Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by an Individual.
As an individual you took home probably the most prestigious award of the evening as well. What was the name of the award and why does it mean so much to you?
It recognises that my work benefits the entire local tourism industry and helps other businesses succeed in addition to making our business a success. I think it’s hugely important that we create a strong tourism industry in the Shire. Our proximity to the airport and city means we are ideally located to capture visitors to Sydney and offer them everything from fun filled outdoor experiences to great shopping and dining options. I think most Shire businesses were affected by the terrible weather we had last summer. If the tourism industry can increase visitation from international and interstate visitors, who are less influenced by the weather, it will benefit all Shire businesses.
What’s in store for Royal Coast Walks over the next 12 months?
Expanding into more beautiful walking destinations around Sydney. We believe that Sydney is a place of unique natural beauty with many sights that can only be experienced on foot, so we’re really excited about showing more people what Sydney’s outdoors has to offer on guided walks.
If you had to name one hike/tour for either locals or tourists as a “must-do”, which one would it be and why?
Bundeena to Otford in Royal National Park on the Coast Track. We call this the Wattamolla Tour and it’s a two day, 31km walk along the length of Royal’s breathtaking coastline. We have people fly across the world and from interstate to take this tour with us but most locals wouldn’t know it’s there. It’s an iconic multi day Australian walk and it’s on our doorstep.
Where is your favourite place in either the National Park, Cronulla or anywhere in The Shire and why?
I love the waterholes in Royal National Park. You can take a picnic and a newspaper, walk for a short time, and have the most beautiful, clear, fresh natural rock waterfall and swimming pool all to yourself for the afternoon. They are beyond amazing.
Once again, finish this sentence – I love Cronulla because….
It’s vibrant and is surrounded by water and ways to enjoy it. If you don’t feel like going for a surf, swim or kayak you can sit and have a coffee at one of the many good cafes and catch up with mates.