Former Redland City councillor Toni Bowler to host virtual tours with international audiences as travel company launches coronavirus stop-gap

PEOPLE living overseas can take a virtual tour of the Redlands with former councillor Toni Bowler thanks to an innovative idea from an international travel company.

FRESH IDEA: Former Redland City councillor Toni Bowler wants to showcase places like Cleveland on her virtual travel tours. Photo: Jordan Crick

FRESH IDEA: Former Redland City councillor Toni Bowler wants to showcase places like Cleveland on her virtual travel tours. Photo: Jordan Crick

Ms Bowler, who served 18 years as division six councillor between 1994 and 2012, is now helping those in isolation scratch their travel itch with Cooee's live streamed tours.

Started by the co-founder of New Zealand company Aspiring Adventures, the virtual tour platform was set up to give guides who had found themselves without work during the coronavirus pandemic an opportunity to earn an income.

Ms Bowler has four years of experience as a guide under her belt and will take people on visits around the Redlands, Gold Coast and Brisbane's South Bank.

Her Redlands tour will start at GJ Walter Park in Cleveland at the site where NSW Governor Gipps landed in 1842 to survey the area for its suitability as a Queensland wool port.

"Some of the places I plan to showcase are the historic Grand View Hotel, Cassim's Hotel, the schoolhouse gallery and the old Cleveland Courthouse," she said.

"Wellington Point is another great destination as it has a view to Peel Island, Straddie, and is on the beautiful Moreton Bay marine park."

Ms Bowler said she wanted to showcase the Redlands and put it on the map for people living in other states and countries who had always wanted to see south-east Queensland.

HERITAGE: Toni Bowler at GJ Walter Park and the site of Governor Gipps landing in 1842. She plans to start tours from the park and work her way through Cleveland. Photo: Jordan Crick

HERITAGE: Toni Bowler at GJ Walter Park and the site of Governor Gipps landing in 1842. She plans to start tours from the park and work her way through Cleveland. Photo: Jordan Crick

Redlands locals can also book tours with guides overseas and watch on from home using video conferencing program Zoom.

Ms Bowler's tours last 45 minutes and cost $22. She is one of 40 Cooee guides around the world.

"We can only move 150 kilometres from where we live," Ms Bowler said. "The borders are closed. We can't go overseas.

"There are a lot of people in the Redlands who love travelling so this is a great opportunity for them to sit at home and have some contact with somebody in Croatia or Costa Rica for a small price.

"It will allow them to get a bit of an understanding of that country because in the future they may have an opportunity to travel there."

To book a virtual tour visit cooee.co.

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