Tourism and Events Information for Victoria’s tourism industry

Yarra Valley holiday park plans for a bright future

The Enabling Tourism Fund provides support regional and rural Victorian tourism infrastructure projects to reach investment-ready status.

The Enabling Tourism Fund helps the tourism industry to deliver a suite of projects across regional Victoria by supporting planning activities, such as feasibility studies and design projects.

The fund’s aim is to support tourism business owners to be ready for future investment. This will create more tourism experiences, attract more visitors and employ more people across the state.

Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park in Healesville was successful in receiving funding through the Enabling Tourism Fund in 2022.

The grant went toward completing a master plan for the holiday park. The plan includes an aquatic centre, indoor play facility, mountain bike and walking trails.

We caught up with them to better understand the process in creating their project and applying for the Enabling Tourism Fund.

Caravan park camp sites backed by bushland on a sunny day.

Credit: BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park. Image by Tommy Williams.

Balancing impact and requirements

For financial controller Jon Wallace, the project faced several challenges, including sustainability and cultural considerations.

‘Balancing the environmental impact with the desire to offer a top-tier tourism product required innovative approaches and careful planning,’ Jon explained.

‘We had to change some of the initial proposed ideas as they were going to either impact the environment or sacred spaces for the First Nations people.’

Local council requirements were another stumbling block for the project.

‘Everything we considered had to be reviewed through the lens of the local law requirements,’ Jon said.

‘Planning requirements can differ between councils, especially when it comes to unregistered movable dwellings, as opposed to conventional constructions. These diverse requirements posed hurdles for us during the submission of projects for approval.

‘The Enabling Tourism Fund offered us the chance to gather information and support, enhancing the prospects of the master planning project to obtain the necessary permits.’

Shadeclothed wooden playground with swings, slides and seesaw.

Credit: BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park. Image by Tommy Williams.

Seek expert guidance

Jon’s advice for others applying for funding is to have a vision and seek expert guidance.

‘I'd advise applicants to focus on how their project can uniquely contribute to the local tourism ecosystem and economy.

A clear, compelling vision that aligns with the fund’s objectives, and that demonstrates a tangible benefit to the community and the environment will stand out.

Jon Wallace - Financial Controller

Unless you have significant internal planning resources, Jon suggests engaging an expert.

‘You're going to need someone who understands the ins and outs of the planning process plus the local, state and federal laws,’ he said.

‘The firm we use are experts in the field and were priceless throughout the process. Without them, this process would have been beyond what our existing team can handle.’

Engagement and co-design with First Peoples

As the park is situated on land of significant cultural importance, Jon said it was crucial to work with First Peoples.

He explains that it was important to inform and educate guests on history, culture and language of the local Wurundjeri people.

‘Embracing and understanding the history is crucial for engaging with First Peoples in the co-design process. The local information centres, local council and Cultural Heritage Master Plan contractors who worked with the Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation were invaluable in helping us to understand the history of the area.

Aerial view of caravan park surrounded by forestry.

Credit: BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park. Image by Tommy Williams.

Engagement with First Peoples should be grounded in respect, openness, and a genuine willingness to listen and learn. It's crucial to approach co-design as a partnership, ensuring their perspectives and knowledge shape the project from the outset.

Jon Wallace - Financial Controller

‘Establishing ongoing dialogue and consent processes is key to a respectful and inclusive co-design process.

‘It's crucial to allocate the necessary time to guarantee that the co-design process is conducted optimally. Given the limited number of specialists undertaking this work for First Peoples, recognising and respecting the importance of the time needed is essential,’ Jon said.

Looking to the future

With the master plan now complete and the park’s vision taking shape, Jon and the team are looking forward to the next phase.

‘The first phase was so essential in helping us to get the master plan off the ground. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve the development of the master plan in the time we did.

‘These are major projects we are considering and can take several years to be able to get off the ground due to the significant commitments required with planning out such a large undertaking,’ he said.

Find out more and how to apply by visiting Enabling Tourism Fund 2024.

Page last updated: 29 Feb 2024
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We acknowledge the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria, their ongoing connection to this land and we pay our respects to their culture and their Elders past, present and future.

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