Golden opportunity to expand rural tourism
FRIEDA Berry-Porter is digging for the rare piece of gold - the outback tourism dollar.
The Clermont resident said she was determined to put the small mining region community on the map, as the new destination for prospecting tourism.
As the owner of The Outback Prospector, a metal detecting equipment store, Ms Berry-Porter said she saw the potential the town to become more than the mining and farming community.
She said Clermont had already uncovered the first shiny nugget of hope; the grey nomads enjoying their golden years.
But she believes there is a bigger chunk of tourism dollars hidden in Clermont and encouraged more people to visit.
Ms Berry-Porter said the tourists staying in Clermont, eating at local restaurants and venturing out to the gold fields, meant one thing.
“It’s money in the tills of local businesses,” she said.
The allure of the forests, the novelty of the outback’s red dirt, the native animals, and the chance of striking gold could draw tourists in.
“Clermont is a tourism destination,” Ms Berry-Porter said.
The traditional farming and mining economy was already seeing the first boost of the tourist dollar, Clermont Caravan Park manager Mort Gott said.
At the peak of the tourist season, Mr Gott said the couple hundred visitors transformed the town, with businesses open for longer and more events held in Clermont.
Many older travellers were searching for the sunshine and gold which was plentiful in Clermont, he said.
“We have people come here for six months for the prospecting,” he said.
“Some have been coming here for 20 years.”
While older travellers dominated the market, Mr Gott said he was seeing more families settling in Clermont for the holidays.