Australia’s natural attractions in climate firing line

THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has launched its major national report ‘Icons at Risk: Climate Change Threatening Australian Tourism’ on Thursday.

The national report shows that Australia’s most popular tourist destinations are in the climate firing line, with intensifying climate change posing a significant threat to the nation’s iconic natural wonders.

It includes state breakdowns highlighting how intensifying extreme weather events (heatwaves, coastal flooding, soaring temperatures, bushfires and coral bleaching) are placing our beaches, native wildlife, wilderness areas, national parks and Great Barrier Reef at risk.


  • Australia’s top five natural tourist attractions (beaches, wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef, wilderness and national parks) are all at risk of climate change.
  • Beaches, like Manly, are Australia’s #1 tourist destination and are threatened by rising sea levels.
  • Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle and Adelaide are projected to have a least a 100x increase in the frequency of coastal flooding events (with a 0.5m sea level rise).
  • The Red Centre could experience more than 100 days above 35 oC  annually, by 2030. By 2090, there could be more than 160 days per year over 35oC.  
  • The Top End could see an increase in hot days (temperatures above 35ºC) from 11 (1981-2010 average) to 43 by 2030, and up to 265 by 2090.
  • 17-23% of surveyed tourists would respond to beach damage scenarios by switching holiday destinations, with an estimated $56 million loss per year for Sunshine Coast in Queensland and $20 million per year for the Surf Coast in Victoria.
  • The deadly irukandji jellyfish have been observed as far south as Hervey Bay and Fraser Island and could eventually be found as far south as the Gold Coast.

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