’We want camels on Tweed beaches’

CAMEL ride operators who want to dip their toe in northern NSW beaches just have to get over one hump - the green-leaning Tweed Shire Council.

The council has received two requests to allow camel rides and seven requests to allow horse rides on the shire's 37km of coastline.

Some of the requests come from businesses who have been running unauthorised rides, council documents show.

Several complaints have been made about unapproved horseride traders on Tweed beaches.

Jane Lofthouse, co-ordinator of the Tweed council's natural resource management unit, said the council would need to balance the economic benefit with the protection of threatened birds, among other considerations.

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"Camel rides are normally something we associate with Broome, or certainly other countries where there is deserts," she said.

"So that's one of the things we want to look at holistically - is there actually a demand and is it something we would like to see?"

Ms Lofthouse said the council already faced "quite a high level of conflict on our beaches".

"We have a lot more tourists, a lot more Queenslanders coming down to Tweed beaches because they're beautiful."

The council last week voted to consider whether it is practical to allow camel and horse rides, as it develops the Tweed Coast coastal management program.

The rides are popular on the Gold Coast. Photo by Richard Gosling
The rides are popular on the Gold Coast. Photo by Richard Gosling

Neighbouring Byron Shire Council has already issued licences to three commercial horseriding operators.

Like the Tweed, rides were occurring on the region's beaches before approval.

However, Byron council staff have expressed concerns about parking, unloading and the saddling of horses, inexperienced riders in a public place and the "management of horse manure".

Byron has not issued any more licences and the three licensees have been on six-month approvals until problems have been dealt with.