Nature-based Tourism:
New Business Opportunities


The government is open for business

The Government of South Australia wants to work with the private sector - as you can see from the examples below.

Oceanic Victor

Granite Island Conservation Park

Oceanic Victor operate one of South Australia’s newest nature-based tourism attractions, an in-sea aquarium one hour from Adelaide. The business offers interactive experiences that are boosting tourism while also fostering an appreciation of South Australia’s high quality seafood, unique marine wildlife and wonderful marine parks. Operations within the park have been facilitated by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources through a lease within Granite Island Conservation Park.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

Flinders Chase National Park

The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail has been created through a $5.5 million investment by the South Australian government. Since opening in 2016, the trail has become a uniquely South Australian experience with an international profile. From the beginning it was designed to create opportunities for the private sector. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources is currently conducting a process to select the business that will be offered an exclusive opportunity to develop eco-sensitive accommodation on the trail.

Diving with great white sharks

Neptune Islands Conservation Park

Diving with great white sharks is a distinctively South Australian experience that contributes approximately $10 million to the state economy and supports over 70 jobs. Licensed tour operators work in partnership with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to ensure that tours have a minimal impact on the park while also building support for marine conservation and the protection of great white sharks. In 2017, the department extended the term of licences to 10 years providing greater certainty for operators and establishing a solid foundation for further investment into the industry.

Important notes for proponents

Preparation and lodgment of EOIs

All EOIs must be lodged electronically. Late submissions will not be considered. All responses become the property of the Minister once submitted.

No responsibility of any kind will be accepted by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), with respect to the accuracy and completeness of the information provided regarding each new business opportunity. Any liability in connection with the information contained here, by any interested party, is hereby disclaimed.

This document, and information regarding each new business opportunity, is provided to assist proponents in making their own appraisal of the opportunities presented herein, and in deciding whether to submit an EOI. However, the information regarding each new business opportunity is not intended to serve as the basis for an investment decision on the opportunity.Each proponent is expected to make such independent investigation and to obtain such independent advice, as he or she may deem necessary for such a decision.

Evaluation of proposals

The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) reserves the right to undertake the following actions:

  • Choose information that is to be disclosed. Nothing in this process obliges DEWNR to disclose any particular information to the proponent or its subcontractors, representatives or external advisers.
  • Extend the closing date.
  • Amend the requirements at any time prior to the closing date.
  • Seek additional information from one or more of the proponents on any issue at any time and to continue discussions with one or more of the proponents.
  • Discontinue discussions at any time with any proponent.
  • Enter into discussions with any other person or company who is not a proponent.
  • Allow a proponent to change a submission.
  • Withdraw opportunities from this process before or after the receipt of submissions.
  • Seek the advice of external consultants to assist the Minister in the evaluation or review of proposals.
  • Make enquiries of any person, company or organisation to ascertain information regarding the proponent and the submission.
  • Consider an incomplete submission.

Conditions of participation

The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources expects that proponents will:

  • Declare any actual or potential conflict of interest.
  • Comply with all South Australian laws applicable to the process.
  • Not attempt to influence the outcome of this process by offering any employment, payment or any other incentive to or in any way seek to improperly influence any person employed by the Minister or engaged by the Minister.
  • Not make any news releases or responses to media enquiries and questions pertaining to this process or the subsequent selection process without the Minister’s written approval. If any proponent acts contrary to these expectations, the Minister reserves the right to terminate negotiations or consideration of a submission.
  • Meet all costs associated with preparing a submission and participating in the process, unless agreed in writing.

Planning considerations

The pathway for planning and approval may differ between each opportunity. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) will provide further information regarding planning requirements to those businesses that have been selected to participate in stage two. Some of the key planning issues that should be considered before submitting an EOI are outlined below. This is not necessarily a comprehensive list but is provided in the interests of proponents.

Aboriginal heritage

Sites of significance according to Aboriginal tradition and sites significant to Aboriginal archaeology, anthropology and history are protected in South Australia by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. The Department of State Development provides more information about the protection of Aboriginal heritage.

Native title

Native title may exist over some sites. Where native title exists the South Australian government and proponents will have responsibilities under the Native Title Act 1993. Please see the Native Title Information Handbook for further information.

Park management

In South Australia, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 provides for the protection and enjoyment of parks. In addition, the National Parks and Wildlife (National Parks) Regulations preclude or constrain certain activities in parks. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources provides more information about permitted activities in each park.

Regulations relating to fire apply, and parks may be closed during catastrophic fire days. Park management plans have been developed for some parks. These plans often provide guidance at a strategic or site specific level for the development of tourism enterprises.

Development approval

Development plans place controls on certain types of development. Development approval may be required, depending on the nature of your submission.

Native vegetation

The Native Vegetation Act 1991 and the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 have been established in South Australia to protect native vegetation.

If you are considering developing a proposal that involves the clearance of native vegetation, you should consult the Native Vegetation Council so that you are aware of the requirements under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and its Regulations. These requirements may include the provision of a Significant Environmental Benefit. Note that ‘clearance’ means any activity that could cause any substantial damage to native plants, including cutting down and removing plants, burning, poisoning, slashing of understorey, removal or trimming of branches, severing roots, drainage and reclamation of wetlands, and in some circumstances grazing by animals.

The Native Vegetation Council are available to provide more information and can be reach on telephone 8303 9777.

Heritage sites

The state heritage values of a site are managed under the Heritage Places Act 1993. Heritage values may be historic, social, aesthetic or scientific in nature and contribute to an understanding of identified heritage values. Compatible, adaptive reuse proposals are encouraged, but are subject to development approval in accordance with the Development Act 1993. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources provides more information about conserving our heritage sites


If at any time during the process a proponent considers that they have been unfairly treated, the proponent must first notify the contact officer in writing. If the matter is not resolved to their satisfaction, they may then contact the DEWNR Procurement Complaints Officer to request in writing that the issue be resolved.

DEWNR Procurement Complaints Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
GPO BOX 1047 Adelaide SA 5001

More information

If you are interested in a site visit please register your interest before 5 pm Friday, 1 December 2017. If you have any questions or wish to enquire about site visits please contact the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.