THE input of $5 million into the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan is hoped to help improve the Twelve Apostles visitor experience, state regional development minister Jaala Pulford said.
The funding, which Ms Pulford announced while visiting the iconic landmarks on Thursday, is the second pool of money the state government has contributed to the masterplan.
Ms Pulford said the $5 million would go towards “improvements at Glenample Homestead, improvements around parking and traffic flow at the 12 Apostles, and to develop strategic investment from the private sector”.
She said it was hoped the funding would help ease parking and pedestrian pressures, improving the visitor experience and making it safer.
“In this era of Tripadviser and online forums, making sure visitors have a positive experience is incredibly important,” Ms Pulford said.
The state government previously put $9.8 million into stage one of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan, which will go towards new lookouts at the Twelve Apostles and The Blowhole, a new pedestrian bridge over Campbell’s Creek, new connecting trails, and improved telecommunications connectivity at the Twelve Apostles. These works are expected to be completed by 2020.
Ms Pulford said it was all part of efforts to improve the visitor experience and encourage tourists to stay longer and spend more in the region.
Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard said the state government investment into the Twelve Apostles was very welcome, but hopefully just the beginning.
“Corangamite and the neighbouring councils have been advocating for this iconic site for forever and a day and this is a good sign,” Cr Beard said.
“But there’s a long way to go and we need to continue to reinforce that. It’s the third most visited site in Australia, yet the experience is underwhelming.”
Cr Beard said works to improve traffic and pedestrian flow at the Twelve Apostles were paramount.
“It’s something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” she said.
“It’s dangerous, especially on public holidays and Chinese New Year. The numbers are only increasing.”
Parks Victoria area chief ranger for Shipwreck Coast and hinterland Michael Smith agreed numbers were rising.
“Interest is definitely growing and we want to ensure that … people get the experience they want and deserve,” Mr Smith said.