Destination Pagoda is a proposed State Conservation Area, over the Gardens of Stone region on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. The area offers an accessible destination within a two hour drive from Sydney to experience the unique natural attractions of pagoda rock formations, Aboriginal heritage sites and bushwalking adjacent to World Heritage listed bushland. The proposed area consists of 39,000 hectares of public land, and is bordered by three National Parks that are within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The area is also rich in Aboriginal heritage, being on the Country of the Mingaan Wiradjuri people.
Destination Pagoda Report
Destination Pagoda Economic Report
An economic report has been written quantifying the benefits of nature based tourism to the Lithgow area, in particular the Destination Pagoda proposal.
The analysis suggests a substantial potential market for the proposed Destination Pagoda region from domestic nature-based visitors who are already in the district for this purpose. While it is not likely that all of these nature-tourists will choose to visit Destination Pagoda, it is likely that a solid proportion will visit, conditional to the destination delivering the experience and facilities they are looking for.
The data also indicates that 36% of visitors will be looking for an overnight experience - not necessarily accommodated in the park. This is supported by the Blue Mountains data which suggests that 10% of visitors stay a single night and 16% multiple nights.
The Gardens of Stone region is and always has been Aboriginal land, especially of the Wiradjuri people. We pay respect to the Traditional Custodians, their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge their living culture and unique role in the life of the area.
We thank them for protecting the Gardens of Stone and for welcoming people to share and enjoy their Country and their culture.
Statement from Wiradjuri Elder Auntie Helen Riley, on behalf of Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation, Lithgow:
"We welcome the opportunity to assist [Destination Pagoda and] the Gardens of Stone proposal. The respect for the land is paramount to ensure not only the protection of the environment but equally Aboriginal culture. Look after the land and the rivers and the land and the rivers will look after you. Our landscapes are our pages telling our story. Damage to any part is disrespectful to all our Ancestors."
Transition Working Group: A Case for Economic Change
The Lithgow City Council Transition Working Group released a report in late 2020 detailing the future of Lithgow's economy. It highlighted the critical importance and opportunity of tourism moving forward and specifically suggested that the implementation of Destination Pagoda and reservation of Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area would be a big step towards securing a prosperous future for the town.
A Case for Economic Change Report
Lithgow Regional Plan
The Lithgow regional plan recognises the benefits of developing nature based tourism in the region.