24 Jan 2024

Additional financial support boosts nature tourism businesses


RAD KI, Kangaroo Island
RAD KI, Kangaroo Island

The recipients of the second round of Experience Nature Tourism Fund grants have been announced with 15 products and experiences supported across South Australia.

Designed to showcase the state’s natural landscapes and help attract domestic and international visitors, the Fund has already boosted new world-class tourism products and experiences in its first round last year.

Round one of the Fund saw a total of $485,800 allocated to 18 projects, with a project value of $824,000. The projects included accommodation refurbishments, purchases of new vehicles, and marketing. 

The second round of funding brings the total allocated through the Fund to date to nearly $1 million in grants and a combined project value of almost $1.6 million. 

Blending citizen science and nature exploration, Research & Discovery Coastal Tours Kangaroo Island (RAD KI) offers personalised land and sea based eco-tours to engage and educate visitors as they get up close and personal with the region’s rich wildlife.

The grant provided under the South Australian Tourism Commission's $2 million Experience Nature Tourism Fund will enable RAD KI to introduce a two-day eco-tour during which visitors collect and analyse data on vulnerable and endangered species.

RAD KI is one of 15 tourism products and experiences supported in the second round of the Fund, as well as operators offering camel treks in the outback surrounding Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, walking tours in national parks across the Limestone Coast and an Aboriginal cultural tour in Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park.

The more than $464,000 in grants will unlock over $764,000 in combined project value, supporting operators to attract more domestic and international visitors while showcasing the state’s natural landscapes.

Operators receiving grants are spread across regional South Australia, including the Adelaide Hills, Eyre Peninsula, Fleurieu Peninsula, Flinders Ranges & Outback, Kangaroo Island, Limestone Coast, Murray River Lakes & Coorong, and Yorke Peninsula. Project types range from new accommodation and equipment to vehicle purchases and marketing. 

The funding program runs over four financial years, with up to $500,000 available in each year.

Applications for round three funding will open early in the new financial year.

The second round of successful projects include:

Region     Operator and project  Grant  Total project value
Adelaide and Adelaide Hills   EscapeGoat Adventures 
Purchase of ebikes to upgrade fleet located in Belair National Park and purchase of GPS units to assist self-guided visitors
$20,000     $25,920
Eyre Peninsula Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris    
Refurbishment of tents at the Kangaluna Camp for tour participants entering the Gawler Ranges National Park  
$14,400 $18,000
Eyre Peninsula  Flinders Island Eco Escape    
Purchase of a vehicle for guest transfers and guest-led touring including education equipment to showcase the Investigator Marine Park
$20,000 $25,000
Eyre Peninsula Australian Coastal Safaris    
Purchase of a new mobile kitchen trailer and accessories to grow capacity and host high end culinary experiences in Lincoln, Coffin Bay & Nullarbor National Parks and West Coast Bays Marine Park
$25,136 $34,190
Fleurieu Peninsula The Backyard Universe    
Development of two new tours entering Deep Creek National Park and Talisker Conservation Park including a night tour and enhancement of an existing tour. Purchase of new equipment and implementation of marketing activities 
$19,452 $24,316
Flinders Ranges and Outback Camel Treks Australia
Purchase of equipment to improve visitor comfort and safety for multi-day outback expeditions surrounding Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park 
$26,480  $33,100
Kangaroo Island Research and Discovery Coastal Tours Kangaroo Island
Purchase of equipment to introduce a two-day eco-tour encouraging involvement in citizen science as visitors collect and analyse data on vulnerable and endangered species
$18,525 $23,157
Kangaroo Island Untamed Escapes
Purchase of a new bus and tour trailer to operate a 3 day Kangaroo Island Adventure tour entering multiple national parks
 $50,000 $143,731
Limestone Coast Walk the Limestone Coast
Purchase of vehicle to transport walkers to daily walk points on two multi-day walking tours visiting Limestone Coast national parks
$20,000 $30,490 
Mainly operating in Limestone Coast, tour also enters: Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula, Limestone Coast, Murray River Lakes & Coorong, and Riverland See Adelaide and Beyond
Purchase of new vehicle to increase capacity on multi day tour bringing visitors from Victoria to Adelaide, visiting Naracoorte Caves National Park
$50,000 $74,596
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Ngarrindjeri Lands and Progress Aboriginal Corporation    
Development of new Ngarrindjeri cultural walking tours in Coorong National Park. Purchase of equipment, training, marketing and product development to support project 
$47,096   $58,871   
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Mannum Aboriginal Community Association, 
Enhancement of the ‘Black Duck Dreaming Tour’ operating in Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park through the purchase of equipment and marketing
$24,540 $30,675
Fleurieu Peninsula and Murray River, Lakes & Coorong Canoe the Coorong    
Purchase of a new vehicle to transport visitors to experience tours into Coorong National Park including introduction of transfers within the region
$37,818 $47,273  
Yorke Peninsula  Bayside Glamping
Construction of new cabin on the outskirts of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park in Marion Bay
$50,000 $143,903    
Multiple regions: Fleurieu Peninsula, Flinders Ranges & Outback, Murray River Lakes & Coorong, Riverland, Yorke Peninsula Australian Private Tours & Charters and SA Eco Tours
Refurbishment of three touring vehicles to increase passenger capacity and marketing for tours which visit eight national parks across South Australia
$40,752 $50,942  


Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said it is a terrific display of visitor experiences which showcase South Australia’s natural assets, as the second round of Experience Nature Tourism Fund unlocks even more potential to attract interstate and international visitors to the state.

"This second round of financial support will mean the Fund has boosted more than $764,000 worth of new and improved tourism offerings spread right across the state," Minister Bettison said. 

"These grants are encouraging operators to innovate and look at ways they can educate visitors to learn more about our state’s important natural assets. The work of RAD KI is one example of that; not only enticing visitors to Kangaroo Island which is internationally renowned for its abundance of wildlife but also helping preserve this for generations to come. 

"Whether it’s a walking tour, Aboriginal cultural experience or new accommodation, the State Government’s $2 million Experience Nature Tourism Fund, which was one of our government’s election commitments is doing exactly what we intended – giving visitors more reasons to see South Australia in a sustainable way."

Research and Discovery Coastal Tours Kangaroo Island (RAD KI) founder and eco tour guide, Roanna Horbelt said RAD KI blends adventure, authenticity, and volunteer research tourism into personalised eco-tours on land and on the water.

"Our unique approach integrates citizen science into nature exploration, allowing visitors to actively engage in conservation efforts through hands-on data collection in ecologically sensitive areas, as they actively connect to the environment and country," Ms Horbelt said. 

"This grant is invaluable in helping us to upgrade equipment to gather the robust data needed for more informed decision-making, as well as support a stronger online marketing presence.

"As South Australia's tourism landscape evolves, RAD KI aspires to stand out, becoming a compelling choice for visitors seeking an immersive experience that deepens their connection with Kangaroo Island's natural wonders."

See Adelaide and Beyond owner, Dallas Coull said tourism has been a very tough industry to be in over the past few years. 

"Post Covid it so important to promote quality product that showcases South Australia’s world class regions. These grants are going to enable some amazing tourism operators to put some outstanding new product into the market," Mr Coull said.

"Without this grant we simply wouldn’t be able to get this vehicle to put this extra capacity into regional South Australia.

"It’s a very exciting time to be in the tourism industry."