Leading tourist guides and operators from the length and breadth of the Wet Tropics are nominated in the Tourism and Presentation category at the upcoming Cassowary Awards.
The award, sponsored by Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, recognises efforts to promote the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area’s natural and cultural values.
The recipient will be announced on 15 June at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
Mike D’Arcy is nominated for his support and promotion of Indigenous tourism and the Area’s natural and cultural values with D’Arcy of the Daintree 4WD Tours, and fellow Daintree guide Dean Nulty is recognised for his work with Daintree Wonder Tours and commitment to training guides on all things Wet Tropics.
Mark and Judy Evans—owners of Paronella Park—are nominated for their significant contribution to the industry, as are Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours at East Trinity, for sharing their natural environment, culture, knowledge and practices.
Alan Gillanders is recognised for his work on the Atherton Tablelands with Alan’s Wildlife Tours, and Small World Journeys guide Rick Hall’s work sharing the Wet Tropics with youth earned him a nomination.
Wet Tropics tour company Small World Journeys won the 2017 Cassowary Award for Tourism and Presentation. Owner Laurie Pritchard says the award encouraged her team to stay the course.
“For us it reinforced our success in promoting and trying to protect the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
“It was a symbol that we’re doing the right thing—really acknowledgement and encouragement to keep doing what we’re doing in teaching young people about this area,” Ms Pritchard said.
Ms Pritchard congratulated nominees, acknowledging a common sense of responsibility across the tourism industry for the Far North’s stunning natural assets.
“Tourism operators here see the Wet Tropics the same way we see it – it’s almost like the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef are like small children we’re responsible for caring for.
“It’s all of our responsibility to nurture the Wet Tropics, and I think a lot of companies and individuals are acting like parents in that way to promote and protect the Area, and keep it safe,” she said.
“Nominees in this year’s category are all doing this and I congratulate them on their nomination.”
The Cassowary Awards will be held at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park on Saturday 15 June.
In his 12 years as a guide, tourism advocate, writer and educator, Mike D’Arcy has displayed genuine commitment to enriching people’s experience and knowledge of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. He is a tireless supporter and advocate for appropriate tourism and related infrastructure and marketing in the Daintree, and is a strong supporter and promoter of Indigenous tourism and the Area’s natural and cultural values.
Mark and Judy Evans have dedicated the past 25 years building Paronella Park into the award-winning attraction it is today, guided by their three core values: preservation, conservation, and education. Energy, waste, and water conservation plans limit the park’s environmental impact—in fact, the park is powered by hydroelectricity. Mark and Judy’s efforts convey the story of Paronella Park and the Wet Tropics to more than 100,000 visitors annually, constituting a significant contribution to the recognition of the southern Wet Tropics as a must-see tourist destination.
A lifelong student of the Wet Tropics and surrounding landscapes, Alan Gillanders has a passion for conveying his knowledge to a wide range of audiences. He is acknowledged by international experts and local associates as the go-to person for many Wet Tropics specialities, particularly in relation to nocturnal wildlife. Alan has built his tour business with integrity, credibility and personal commitment, working with documentary producers, international researchers, university and college groups, species experts and the general public.
Rick Hall is both a tour guide and an educator who delivers interpretation with depth, accuracy and humour. His particular skill is encouraging young people to engage with and appreciate the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area through anecdotes, passion and the delivery of information at just the right time. From his more than 20 years of experience, Rick has highly honed bush skills, a flair for finding wildlife at any given moment and a knack for telling a good yarn.
The vision of Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours is to put people, country and culture back together in a sustainable way. Wholly-owned and operated by Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation, it aims to generate small business for future generations and preserve Mandingalbay Yidinji identity and culture. Sharing their natural environment, culture, knowledge and practices with like-minded people from near and far is important to the Mandingalbay Yidinji people, while also generating a sustainable socio-economic return for their future.
Dean Nulty is a committed tour guide who not only provides exceptional service to clients, but shares his extensive tour-guiding skills and knowledge with his fellow guides, providing training both during work hours and in his own time. Dean aims to ensure everyone, clients and colleagues alike, have an understanding of the importance of Wet Tropics rainforests and a desire to reduce their environmental impact.