Cleland koalas

It’s often the case that people fail to realise the treasures they have on their own doorstep.
Many South Australians are guilty of taking our beautiful State for granted.
There are few cities in the world that can offer their own equivalent of natural bushland and native animals within half an hour’s drive of the CBD.
Adelaide can.
Research shows the city’s mix of metropolitan facilities and proximity to an authentic Australian bush experience is appreciated by the growing Chinese tourism market.
But perhaps what we have to offer isn’t packaged appropriately for international visitors.
The State Government is trying to change that as part of multi-country trade mission it is kicking off this weekend.
Among the range of big projects about to be spruiked to would-be foreign investors is a master plan for a koala centre combined with a five-star luxury resort at the Cleland Wildlife Park.
The centre would be a leading hub of research and education on koala health and habitat while offering treetop walks to see koalas in their natural environment plus koala handling experiences.
The resort would offer luxury accommodation and fine dining, hopefully taking advantage of Mt Lofty Summit’s stunning views and SA’s top quality food and wine.
It sounds ambitious and with a $100m price tag it is certainly expensive which is why foreign investment is needed.
This is beyond our means.
Besides the problem of finding the cash, the Government will also have to negotiate a maze of planning and environmental concerns in order to avoid the same fate as the discredited Waterfall Gully cable car and summit hotel project of the late 1980s.
However, if it can find a backer and if it can produce a “major project” that delivers a world class facility capable of operating sustainably in its environment, then the Hills could be poised for a tourism bonanza.
A high profile Cleland Wildlife Park opens up many opportunities for visitors to explore the neighborhood and the hidden treasures we all enjoy.
The region needs a point of difference to market itself on an increasingly crowded world tourism stage … and this could be the answer.