A one-of-a-kind tour company will add the Grampians to its list of sights in an effort to clean up some of the most popular tourist destinations in Victoria.
New bus tours called Trash Bags on Tour are taking tourists to see sights, on the condition they pick up litter as well.
In December a group of tourists paid $50 each to take tour along the Great Ocean Road, and at their first stop, they spent 90 minutes picking up rubbish from Eastern View beach on Victoria's Surf Coast.
Instead of bathers and towels, the 18 tourists donned thick gloves and picked up cloth rubbish bags.
Their good deeds done, the tourists enjoyed lunch at a brewery, where they listened to a talk about living a "zero waste" life. They later visited the Twelve Apostles, and looked for koalas in the wild.
Co-director Kathryn Farrell says the tours are for people who want "to give back and feel like they’re helping" rather than just visit tourist destinations.
“Everybody loves the idea but it is turning that support of the idea to people coming on the tour is taking a bit more effort,” she said.
“We want to still be able to see sites but not feel guilty.
“We also work hard to make sure everyone’s carbon emissions are offset for the tours.”
In the past six months, the not-for-profit company run by volunteers, has hosted six tours in Victoria and one in NSW.
In each case, the day starts with the hard work - combing a beach or park for discarded coffee cups, plastic bottles, cigarette butts and beer cans followed by more conventional tour activities.
Ms Farrell said she and friend Melissa Tuliranta, who are volunteers, started the tours in May, as an extension of beach clean-up events they ran in Melbourne.
The Grampians is on the list as a destination for tours later this year, looking to take one to the national park on Sunday, March 31.
”One of our guides loves the Grampians so he will be able to take us to some of his favourite spots,” Ms Farrell said.
“We are still piecing together what it might look like but it will look at the likes of MacKenzie Falls and other walks.
“A clean up is likely to take place in the morning with the rest of the day spent enjoying the sites.”
While the tour group has predominantly focused on coastal destinations in the past, Ms Farrell said they hope to visit more inland tourist destinations as the group grows.
“Unfortunately rubbish in the Grampians will somehow or another make its way to a beach so what we will do up there will make a positive impact,” she said.
While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Northern Grampians shire, sign up here.