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Why is the Kimberley coast so awe-some?

Pearce, J., Strickland-Munro, J. and Moore, S.A. (2014) Why is the Kimberley coast so awe-some? In: 5th International Tourism Studies Association Conference, 26 - 28 nivember, Perth, Western Australia.


The Kimberley region of north-western Australia is one of the world’s greatest wilderness experiences due to its remoteness, rugged terrain, and unique natural and cultural values. Encompassing nearly 13,000 kilometers of coastline, the region receives approximately 348,000 visitors per annum. Many of these visitors describe their experience as awe-inspiring, memorable or ‘a trip of a lifetime’. This study aimed to investigate what it is that makes these Kimberley experiences awe-inspiring through analysis of 42 interviews with tourists collected as part of a larger research project investigating the social values of the Kimberley coastline. The analyses identified six main values that contributed to tourists’ feelings of awe, including reflective experiences, geology, marine fauna, vast physical landscapes, ecological phenomena and aesthetics. Limited awe literature has noted aesthetics, vastness and reflective elements as important; this research highlights the significant contribution of iconic features of the Kimberley including the geology and colours within the landscape. This research will help managers of the Kimberley coastline to better plan and protect these values in order to continue to provide high-quality and awe-some tourism experiences into the future.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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