New Nature Based Experiences for New England High Country

Brianna Fea — 20 January 2021

NEHC Joint Media Release

New Nature Based Experiences and campaign to attract visitors to the region.

The New England High Country (NEHC) Group, with Walcha Council the lead applicant, have successfully received funding to develop four (4) new Soundtrails in the region’s national parks and deliver a promotional campaign, leveraging the new Soundtrails and the area’s five (5) existing Soundtrails, to drive visitation to the region. This project is funded through the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program, an Australian Government bushfire recovery initiative.

New England High Country is an established tourism group committed to collectively promoting the region and includes Armidale Regional Council, Glen Innes Severn Council, Inverell Shire Council, Tenterfield Shire Council, Uralla Shire Council and Walcha Council.

The project concept centres around the NEHC’s concentration of World Heritage national parks, many of which were devastated by the 2019 bushfire disaster. While our national parks are on the road to recovery, the NEHC group identified an opportunity to enhance our nature-based tourism offering, adding value, depth and richness to the visitor experience through storytelling. This is a major initiative to draw visitors back to the region, provide our local communities with fulfilling local experiences and support our regional visitor economy. 

In partnership with Soundtrails and National Parks and Wildlife Services and with the support from Local Aboriginal Lands Council, Walcha Council, Glen Innes Severn Council, Armidale Regional Council and Tenterfield Shire Council are facilitating and overseeing the development of the four (4) new Soundtrails in their LGA’s:

1. Apsley Falls (Walcha Council)

2. Bald Rock National Park (Tenterfield Shire Council)

3. Washpool National Park (Glen Innes Seven Council)

4. Wollomombi Falls (Armidale Regional Council)

What are Soundtrails?

Soundtrails are locative audio walks featuring sounds and the voice of locals whose lives and memories are buried beneath the landscape. Delivered through an app-based platform, Soundtrails provide a unique opportunity for the immersive sharing of local, place-based information and stories from multiple perspectives including, geographic attributes, Aboriginal heritage, contemporary and historical. This type of activity is ideal for individuals seeking a self-paced experience that delves beneath the visible environment. 

Soundtrails deliver a high-quality immersive experience, inspiring respect for the destination’s environment, heritage and stories. The Soundtrails app works on iPhones, iOS and Android devices. Users walk around an area at leisure, tracking their whereabouts in relation to the bed of visible (stories) and invisible audio fields on a virtual map. Stories automatically fade in or fade out depending on the movement of the user in relation to the (GPS) location of the stories. Users may also listen to stories off location either through their mobile device (in manual mode) or via the Soundtrails website.

Promoting the region’s Soundtrails 

The Soundtrails promotional campaign component of the project is designed to build on and leverage the NEHC brand, digital assets and channels to further enhance the brands identity and attract visitors to the region. 

Along with promoting the four (4) new Soundtrails under development showcasing the national parks, the campaign will promote the existing five (5) NEHC Soundtrail experiences including:

1.    Goonoowigall (Inverell Shire Council)

2.    Uralla Soundtrail (Uralla Shire Council)

3.    Tenterfield Soundtrail (Tenterfield Shire Council)

4.    Armidale Catholic Precinct (Armidale Regional Council)

5.    Walcha Sculpture Soundtrail (Walcha Council)

This campaign will be critical to revive and increase visitation, length of stay and visitor spend in the region. The opportunity to collaborate on a joint campaign allows the NEHC Councils to deliver a campaign above and beyond what they could achieve alone, to the benefit of the entire region.

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