Ocean road hinterland tourist route proposed

A NEW coastal hinterland touring route has been proposed to help take pressure off the Great Ocean Road and draw more visitors into rural areas under a preliminary Shipwreck Coast masterplan released for community discussion.

The segment of the coastal route between Glenample and the Bay of Islands could be made a dedicated parks access route and be serviced by “sustainable transport”.

This would reduce traffic congestion, improve safety, lower speeds, reduce ecological impact and help control unauthorised camping.

Visitor “pods” would be scattered between Princetown and the Bay of Islands near Peterborough with some having mini bus transport at parking bays. 

An integrated network of major and local trails would link towns and park attractions.

The pods would be an alternative to establishing a single large visitor centre.

The plan, which has been in development since last year, was aired at community meetings at Port Campbell, Peterborough, Princetown and Timboon earlier this month and is on display at the Parks Victoria office in Port Campbell and on the department’s website.

A final version of the plan will be unveiled in July.

At its heart is a vision to re-position the Shipwreck Coast and its hinterland as a “must-see” destination in Australia by introducing practical and cost-effective ways of improving visitor dispersal, filling gaps in the market and protecting the fragile environment.

It makes several key suggestions to improve facilities at Princetown, Glenample homestead, Port Campbell, Peterborough and the Bay of Islands through public and private investment.

The proposed hinterland route would skirt around the Bay of  Islands precinct via the old Peterborough Road, go inland between Peterborough and Port Campbell via the Curdievale road and inland between Port Campbell and Princetown via Eastern Creek Road, Melrose Road and the Princetown to Simpson road.

“The key to success will be to mobilise private investment to assist with improvements to the public domain, but more importantly to provide much-needed accommodation and hospitality services of world-class quality,” the preliminary masterplan says.

“Measures contained in the masterplan break from the tradition of proposing a mega-project that promises a silver bullet.

“There is an opportunity to look at how ‘snap and go’ tourists can be encouraged to explore the coast more deeply and stay longer.

“The masterplan proposes a new approach to the visitor experience to enable people to weave through multiple landscapes via different loops and modes of transport.”

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