10 Jan 2023

Nature tourism sets sail as first grants boost offerings across SA

Brindabella Sailing
Brindabella Sailing

Sailing journeys of marine parks from the far west coast to Kangaroo Island, a cultural immersion experience at Deep Creek, a luxury camping experience on the Murray River, upgraded cottage accommodation with solar power in the Riverland, and e-bike tours at Cleland – just some of the new tourism experiences getting a financial boost. 

The first round of grants under the South Australian Tourism Commission’s $2 million Experience Nature Tourism Fund have today been announced, with 18 products and experiences supported across South Australia.

A total of nearly $486,000 in grants will unlock more than $824,000 in combined project value, supporting operators to attract more domestic and international visitors, while showcasing the state’s natural landscapes.

One of the grant recipients, Brindabella Sailing, operates sailing charters along the South Australian coastline. The tour operator will receive a $18,424 grant to enable it to operate new day and overnight sailing journeys from Outer Harbor and Port Lincoln to marine parks across the state, such as the Lower Yorke Peninsula Marine Park, Eastern Kangaroo Island and Port Noarlunga in the Encounter Marine Park, and Kangaroo Island’s north coast in the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park.

Operators receiving grants are spread across the regions, from the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas to the Flinders Ranges & Outback, Riverland, and the Limestone Coast. Funded projects will showcase a diverse range of South Australia’s national parks and reserves, wilderness sanctuaries and marine parks, and create a range of new tourism product such as new and refurbished accommodation, Aboriginal cultural tours, wellness and immersive experiences, and water-based activities.

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

Applications for 2023 funding will open early in the new financial year.

The first round of successful projects include: 




Total project value

Adelaide Hills

Bike About - The purchase of additional electric mountain bikes to increase capacity for Bike About experiences entering Cleland National Park.




Adelaide Hills; Fleurieu Peninsula; Flinders Ranges & Outback; Kangaroo Island; Limestone Coast; Murray River, Lakes & Coorong

Focused Expeditions - Purchase of cameras and equipment to provide to guests who do not own their own equipment when partaking in various Photographic Safaris into national parks across the state.





Barossa Wellness - Purchase of trailer and equipment, and marketing activity to conduct and promote a new Immersive Forest Program.




Eyre Peninsula

Australian Coastal Safaris - Purchase of a new vehicle to operate the two-day ‘Health & Wellness Weekender’ tour including content creation and branding.



Eyre Peninsula

Pod[e] - Purchase of e-bikes, snorkel equipment and marketing activity to promote the new E-bike and Coast experience from the Pod[e] accommodation.



Eyre Peninsula               


Tour South - Purchase of an off-road kitchen trailer to serve local beverages and food in remote four-wheel drive areas of Lincoln National Park and Coffin Bay National Park.



Eyre Peninsula; Fleurieu Peninsula; Kangaroo Island; Yorke Peninsula

Brindabella Sailing - Purchase of new equipment to operate new day and overnight sailing journeys from Outer Harbor and Port Lincoln to various South Australian marine parks.



Fleurieu Peninsula

Naiko Retreat - Purchase of MULE 6-seater vehicle to provide nature tours on existing accommodation property and transport to surrounding national parks.



Fleurieu Peninsula

Southern Ocean Walk - Purchase of equipment to enhance the customer’s experience and promotion of the Southern Ocean Walk through a targeted campaign in Australia’s leading walking magazine.e



Fleurieu Peninsula

Off Piste 4WD Tours - Purchase of a trailer, equipment and conduct marketing activity to launch a new tour focusing on Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri culture and the natural habitat.



Fleurieu Peninsula

Tribal Expertise Facility (Kool Tours) - Purchase of vehicle, trailer and camping equipment to operate new overnight immersion experience in Deep Creek National Park.



Flinders Ranges & Outback

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary - Introduction of new accommodation platforms to launch a new overnight camping experience at the Streitberg Ridge in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.




Flinders Ranges & Outback

Crew’s Rest - Refurbishment of the old headmaster’s residence into tourist accommodation suitable for bookings of up to 12 guests, located in close proximity to Wapma Thura - Southern Flinders Ranges National Park.




Kangaroo Island

Sea Dragon Kangaroo Island - Purchase of a vehicle to operate small group touring and shuttle services for guests of the Sea Dragon lodge.



Limestone Coast

Bush Adventures - Purchase of a trailer and equipment to operate an immersive eco-tourism experience through various national parks throughout the Limestone Coast.




The Frames - Purchase of equipment and development of marketing content and campaign activity to launch and operate a new luxury camping experience in the Murray River National Park and Chowilla Game Reserve with a focus on Aboriginal cultural tourism.





Canoe the Riverland - Upgrade of ‘Captain’s Cottage’ accommodation including solar system installation to improve the visitor experience.



Yorke Peninsula


Neptunes Surf Coaching - Purchase of equipment and marketing activity to improve and promote the current experiences provided.





Minister for Toursim, Zoe Bettison said it was fantastic to be starting the New Year with a key boost for tourism, delivering nearly $486,000 in grants to create new visitor experiences almost double that in value.

"These new tourism experiences will highlight the important natural and cultural assets that are our state’s national parks and will enable operators to attract visitors from interstate and overseas, as we support the industry to recover from the impacts of the pandemic," Minister Bettison said.

"Importantly, the Fund is also supporting operators along the Murray River, who will benefit greatly when their new and improved tourism products are complete. With more reasons for tourists to visit the river, to stay longer and spend more, it will boost businesses across the region and help drive recovery."

Owner/operator of Brindabella Sailing, Brigid Dighton said the grant gives them the exciting opportunity to broaden sailing adventures offerings to include overnight and day destination expedition experiences within SA’s marine and coastal parks.

"We can now offer passengers the unique opportunity of accessing and exploring these magnificent parks from the water via the iconic maxi yacht, Brindabella," Ms Dighton said.

"Visitors can enjoy a true blue water sail across St Vincent gulf to the likes of Lower Yorke Peninsula’s Point Davenport or Kangaroo Island, jump in for a swim or kayak through the estuaries, learn about the parks’ biodiversity and First Nations’ significance, all whilst enjoying the creature comforts of a hot shower, fine SA food and wine, and a stunning sunset and sunrise on Brindabella’s deck.

"This grant will also see the addition of a much-needed tender vessel and an electronic shark shield increase the safety of our operation and everyone on board."

Owner/operator of Kool Tours, Mark Koolmatrie said their new overnight experience in Deep Creek National Park is something that hass not been done before. 

"The grant means we’ve been able to bring forward our plans to launch this tour much sooner than we could have otherwise done," Mr Koolmatrie said.

"Known as Miwi Kungalun or “listening to self”, it is a Ngarrindjeri cultural experience where visitors will take a deep dive into self, embrace nature, and leave with the tools to move forward. They will learn the old age stories of the Ngarrindjeri people and have a chance to disconnect from their busy lives, phones off, and connect with nature, environment and self.

"It’s exactly what people are looking for coming out of the pandemic and we’re really excited."

Owner/operator of Canoe the Riverland, Ruth Roberts said as a kayak tourism business, three years were spent restoring their lovely Captains Cottage into quality accommodation to share the Murray River’s beauty with guests who love nature.

"We are delighted to receive this timely grant which allows us to restore the cottage’s amenities to the same standard, in time to help us recover from the effects of the recent flood," Ms Roberts said.