Natalie Lane and volunteers of the Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre.
Natalie Lane and volunteers of the Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre.

Small team make VIC a winner

IF you were showing friends who were from out of town around Emerald, where would you take them?

If you are stuck on ideas, why not make it a priority to visit the Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre.

The centre is the hub of information, as proven by wining best Visitor Information and Services at the Ergon Energy Tourism and Business Excellence awards recently.

The award ceremony was held in Yeppoon and the Central Highlands centre was named joint winner with Bundaberg North Burnett.

Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre supervisor Natalie Lane said the win was an example of the great volunteers who work at the centre.

"I'd like to really acknowledge the team... they are amazing and passionate about the region," she said.

"I am especially pleased as we have a small team compared to other visitor centres.

"The centre is mostly run by less than a dozen volunteers. Most are long time residents although some volunteers have recently moved to Emerald that are happy to promote Emerald and surrounds."

The centre, located on the Capricorn Hwy at the end of Morton Park, is open seven days a week and Natalie said the secret to the volunteers enjoying working there was due to the atmosphere.

"They enjoy it so much as it's instant gratification and a positive atmosphere," she said.

"Everyone who comes in is on holidays so it's a holiday atmosphere."

The two most popular holiday places asked about are the Sapphire Gemfields and the Carnarvon Gorge, and Natalie added they also get quite a few inquires about Lake Maraboon.

For the top attractions in Emerald, Natalie suggested the Sunflower Painting, Mosaic Walk, the artwork through the CBD, the old railway station and the Botanic Gardens.

"The stories are what make a place," she said, explaining the town comes alive when people are told the story behind the attractions.

Natalie encouraged anyone from as young as 13, who had some spare time, to volunteer at the centre.

"It's a simple application and on the job training by just observing and learning how to find information," she said.

"It's ideal for students thinking of a career in tourism.

"I encourage everyone to come in and browse."

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