Say g’day to Daniel Walker, grazier and tourism worker

LIKE others in Queensland’s central west, third generation grazier Daniel Walker has learned how to deal with the climate, but when rain doesn’t fall year after year, he has to adapt and find new ways to survive. Born and bred in Longreach, Daniel, 32, runs an 18,500 acre family cattle property, Camden Park, just east of town. He has a wife, Brooke, and a four-year-old son, Harley.

About four years ago, with drought looming in the Outback, the family needed more income to make ends meet. They opened Camden Park to daytrippers, a move that would propel Daniel into what many in the Outback see as their salvation – tourism.

During the tourism season, the Walkers host morning and evening tours of Camden Park, which the Queen and Prince Phillip visited in 1970. Daniel also works three nights a week at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, taking tickets and managing its Outback Stockman’s Show. He seems well-suited to the job.

Genuine, good-natured and outgoing, Daniel is part of a new breed of tourism players in the west, a man who seems to know what tourists want on an Outback trip.

“They are looking for one-on-one contact,” he says. “And we like to share our story with them, the story about the country and the seasons we go through. We try to give them a positive story about the resilience of the countryman looking after his land.

“It’s good to know that they’re grateful they’re experiencing what it may be like on a property like this. At the same time, they’re aware that tourism is a cash-flow business, that it’s helping us to keep paying bills when the production isn’t there.”

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Cristy Houghton