DRILLING works at the Twelve Apostles began on Monday as part of a plan to boost tourist numbers to the area.
Visitors to the site will see geo-technical engineers working with a drilling rig as part of the State Government’s $9.8 million visitor infrastructure improvements program for the Port Campbell National Park.
The three-metre high rig will drill through the limestone cliffs at the Twelve Apostles and the Blowhole, where new lookouts will be constructed.
It will take core samples up to 40 metres down to the base of the cliffs at sea level.
Parks Victoria west coast district manager Dale Antonysen said the works would take a couple of weeks.
“Contractors will be undertaking geo-technical drilling work for two to three weeks near the Twelve Apostles visitor site and in the Loch Ard Gorge precinct at the Blowhole,” Mr Antonysen said.
“Drilling will also be completed in Port Campbell, along Campbell’s Creek.”
He said visitors should not get close to the works.
“Drilling through the rock and taking core samples up to 40 metres deep will give our design engineers confidence in their infrastructure task ahead,” Mr Antonysen said.
“Park visitors will see the three-metre high drilling rig and are asked to maintain a safe distance from our contractors to allow them to undertake their work. Works have been scheduled to minimise disruption to visitors with alternative access in place which allow visitors to still capture the perfect photo of them at the magnificent Twelve Apostles.”
Drilling works follow site surveys and seismic testing undertaken in July this year.
Seismic testing was able to look beneath the surface to identify any void spaces which would make anchoring visitor infrastructure difficult.
The visitor improvements project includes the construction of new lookouts at the Twelve Apostles and The Blowhole sites, a new pedestrian bridge over Campbell’s Creek in Port Campbell with connecting trails and a Wi-Fi and digital interpretation platform focused on the Twelve Apostles.
The Shipwreck Coast attracts 2.6 million tourists a year with the average visitor staying less than 40 minutes and only spending 18 cents.
The projects are designed to encourage longer stays and spending in local communities.