Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation Research

Research into the positive effects of outdoor recreation and the ongoing benefits to society, individuals and the environment

Open Space, Parks and Active Transport

Updates on the research being done by  Prof Anna Timperio,   A/Prof Jenny Veitch and Dr Shannon Sahlqvist in relation to open space, parks and active transport.

Optimising park features for all ages

REVAMP study

The Recording and EValuating Activity in a Modified Park (REVAMP) study was a natural experiment that examined the impact of the installation of a play-scape on park visitation and park-based physical activity compared with a control park.

Summary report – PDF, 1 MB
Infographic – PDF, 333 KB


This three-year project (2017-2020) identified the relative importance of park features that attract children (8-12 years), teens (13-18 years) and older adults (65+ years) to visit parks, and to be active and social during their time in the park.

Summary report – PDF, 616 KB
Infographic – Older adults – PDF, 128 KB
Infographic – Teens – PDF, 129 KB
Infographic – Children – PDF, 128 KB

Parks for heart health

This project is led by A/Prof Jenny Veitch, who is supported by an Australian National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (ID 101928).

Infographic: Important park features for adults 19-64 years – PDF, 168 KB

Journal Articles

Economic, Social and Health Impacts of Sport and Active Recreation in Queensland

Economic, Social and Health Impacts of Sport and Active Recreation in Queensland


Summary (excerpt)

Sport and active recreation provide large benefits to Queenslanders, through various economic and social channels. Total economic and social benefits are estimated to be in the order of $18 billion, an amount equivalent to around 5% of Gross State Product (GSP).

The sport and active recreation sector directly and indirectly supports economic activity and jobs across Queensland. Sport and active recreation are estimated to make an economic contribution of around $5 billion per annum, or nearly 1½ % of GSP. READ FULL REPORT

Nationwide Impacts of Outdoor Recreation

Nationwide Impacts of Outdoor Recreation


Nature-based outdoor recreation activities form a major part of the Australian lifestyle. The benefits of participation in these activities are far-reaching and significant. However, up until now, these benefits have been largely unknown.

New research has now established preliminary estimates regarding the important economic contributions of this sector in order to support the identification of skills and training needs for the future workforce.

SkillsIQ commissioned Marsden Jacob Associates to conduct a study to better understand the impact of the nature-based outdoor recreation sector on Australia’s economy. A quantitative evaluation was conducted to establish a picture of this sector, covering both participation across activities and also the economics of the sector in relation to employment, expenditure, and Gross Value-Add (GVA).

Australia’s nature-based outdoor activities community covers a diverse range of participants and organisations—both young and old, public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit, community- and business-oriented, voluntary and professional.

SkillsIQ has released the national report,Nationwide impacts of outdoor recreation. Key estimates and recommendations. A Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) based analysis. The national estimates presented in this report are based on Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling, an economic approach to estimate the impact which accounts for changes in spending or policy on an economy, as well as remove ‘leakages’ (i.e. outflows, exits) from the economy.

Some of the national findings show:

  • $11 billion estimated contribution of outdoor recreation to Australia’s economy
  • 1% estimated contribution of outdoor recreation to Australia’s economy
  • $20 billion estimated total expenditure on outdoor recreation
  • 16,000 – 30,000 Full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs attributable to outdoor recreation.

This national report is released as part of a wider study which involved estimating the economic contribution of the nature-based outdoor recreation sector for individual States and Territories. Please note that a different methodology was applied to estimate the individual State and Territory figures (i.e Input-Output modelling was used) and therefore State/Territory figures cannot be compared to, or consolidated with, the national figures published in this report. Further information regarding methodologies applied are available in the appendices of each report.

To access the Queensland report, click: Queensland’s nature-based outdoor economy


Why Science Says You Must Spend Time Outdoors

Why Science Says You Must Spend Time Outdoors

Infographic showing the facts and figures on why you should spend more time outdoors.

Is there such a thing as sustainable physical activity?

There is a global need to diminish climate gas emissions, and a simultaneous call for enhanced levels of physical activity. Increased physical activity entails reduced risk for overweight and chronic diseases, as well as a potential to reduce transport’s major contribution to global CO2 emissions. However, increased physical activity level also implies increased energy expenditure.

Therefore, we aim to introduce the concept of sustainable physical activity, and to suggest certain physical activity habits due to their potentially sustainable properties. Worldwide, a third of adults and four fifths of adolescents ought to be more physically active in order to comply with current physical activity recommendations.

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

Outdoor Adventure Activity Benefits

A summary of the findings from the Australian Outdoor Adventure Activity Benefits Catalogue 2008

There are identified benefits from participating in outdoor and adventure based activities that highlight the valuable contribution these activities make to personal health and wellbeing

Measuring the Contribution of the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Sector

Measuring the Contribution of the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Sector
An investigation into the contribution of the Outdoor Recreation sector to the Queensland economy.

(Synergies was engaged by QORF to investigate the contribution of the Outdoor Recreation sector to the Queensland economy)

Reconomics - the Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation


In the UK, the Sport and Recreation Alliance has commissioned the Reconomics report, brining together all the existing information, research and evidence relating to the impact of outdoor recreation.  It provides a compelling case to politicians of the true value of outdoor recreation.

Big Ideas for the Outdoors

Big Ideas for the Outdoors

Context, Priorities & Needs for the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Sector

Queenslanders increasingly love outdoor recreation. Research has shown that individual, non-organised physical activity is on the rise (Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport, 2010); and that the majority of that activity is taking place on our parks, beaches and walking tracks (ABS, 2010).

With busy lifestyles and time constrained opportunities, people are finding it easier to fit physical activity into the nooks and crevasses of their day, taking the chance to engage in unscheduled and flexible activity that can be done with little preparation, rather than be tied to the commitment of more organised activities (Australian Government, 2013). In addition there is a growing preference for ‘adventure, lifestyle, extreme and alternative’ activities such as rockclimbing, kite surfing, surfing and mountain biking. These activities are becoming more mainstream (Wheaton, 2010) and more people are opting for adventure based and eco-tourism experiences in their holiday options (Tourism Research Australia, 2011) …

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