Park visits and visitor services

State of the Parks Fourth Edition

The diversity of Victoria’s park network provides for an array of visitor experiences. Understanding the level of visitation as well as the motivations and demographics of the visitors themselves is essential in planning and developing appropriate visitor services and facilities across the parks network. 

Indicators

6.1.1 Number of visits to parks and piers

6.1.2 Proportion of Victorians that have visited a park

6.1.3 Demographic profile of park visitors

6.1.4 Motivation and types of park visitors

6.1.5 Reason for park visit and activities undertaken

6.1.6 Interpretation and education services provided

6.1.7 Licensed Tour Operator services provided

 

 

6.1.1. Number of visits to parks and piers

  • The total number of visits to parks and piers in 2018-19 was 130.8 million.
  • Between 2002-03 and 2018-19 there was a steady increase in visitation to national and state parks and major metropolitan parks rising from 41.5 million visits to 79.1 million visits. There was also an overall increase of visitation to piers/jetties. In addition to land-based parks, in 2018-19 there were 80.5 million visits to bays. 

Number of visitors to parks and trend in visitor numbers

number of visitors to parks and trend

Data source: Parks Victoria Visitor Number Monitor 2018-19

 

6.1.2. Proportion of Victorians that have visited a park

  • 75% of the Victorian population visited a park in 2018. This figure has remained relatively stable since 2002. 
    Percentage of Victorian population that have visited a park and trend in park visitation
Percentage of Victorian population that have visited a park and trend in park visitation

proportion of Victorians that have visited a park

Data source: Parks Victoria Community Perception Monitor 2018

 

6.1.3. Demographic profile of park visitors

Visitors to parks are more likely to be older, employed, university educated, have higher incomes, and be from households without children. Parks Victoria is committed to increasing park accessibility for everyone and increasing engagement for people from all walks of life, through its implementation of diversity and accessibility plans.

Demographic profile of park visitors 

demographic profile of park visitors

Data source: Parks Victoria Visitor Number Monitor 2018-19

 

6.1.4. Motivation and types of park visitors

Visitor segmentation profile across parks network

  • The largest group of visitors to urban parks are “Urban socials”, peri-urban parks are most frequented by “Trail users”, while “Nature admirers” are the main type of visitor to country parks. 

visitor segmentation profile across park network

Data source: Parks Victoria Visitor Satisfaction Monitor 2017-18

 

Length of stay

  • 97 per cent of visitors to urban parks and 86 per cent of visitors to peri-urban parks were on a day trip from home, while 42 per cent of visitors to country parks were part of a holiday or excursion. Overnight stays were most common in country parks (36 per cent of visitors), with only 1.5 per cent of visitors to peri-urban parks staying overnight. 

length of visitor stay in parks

Data source: Parks Victoria Visitor Satisfaction Monitor 2017-18

 

6.1.5. Reason for park visit and activities undertaken

Reasons for visit to metropolitan and national/state parks as a percentage of visits

  • More than half of all visits to Victoria’s metropolitan and national/state parks are for physical activity or sporting purposes.
  • Since 2013, more people have visited metropolitan parks for socialising and children’s play (rising from 21 per cent to 35 per cent), and there has been an increase in visits to Victoria’s national/state parks for overnight stays (rising from 8 per cent to 18 per cent).

reason for park visit and activities undertaken

Data source: Parks Victoria Visitor Number Monitor 2018-19

 

Specific activities undertaken across parks networks as a percentage of visits

  • Short walks are the most popular activity undertaken in both national/state parks and metropolitan parks.
  • Sightseeing has significantly increased in popularity since 2013, rising from 14 per cent to 24 per cent of visits to national/state parks. 

specific activities undertaken across park network as a percentage

Data source: Parks Victoria Visitor Number Monitor 2018-19

 

6.1.6. Interpretation and education services provided

Parks Victoria provides a variety of interpretation and education services, ranging from formal, curriculum-based learning in schools to public interpretation events, junior ranger activities and community events. These services allow locals and visitors alike to improve their awareness and connection with nature. The Learning in Nature plan guides the strategic direction and priorities of Parks Victoria’s learning programs. The plan’s three program streams include education programs such as Bush Kinder and enhanced school education outreach, community programs such as Junior Rangers and a citizen science program. 

 

Number of participants in interpretation and education programs in Victorian parks 

  • Over 114,000* participants were involved in interpretation and education programs in 2017-18, including 70,000 participants to general interpretation activities, more than 30,000 participants in education programs, and over 12,500 Junior Ranger participants. 

number of participants in interpretation and education programs in Victorian parks

*includes 66,336 people who went on commercial tours at Buchan Caves Reserve

Data source: Parks Victoria Education and Interpretation team

 

Number and type of interpretation and education activities in park

  • Between 2014-15 and 2017-18 there has been an increase in the number of school/education activities and Junior Rangers programs available in Victorian parks.
  • The appointment of community engagement rangers contributed to the increase in the number of activities particularly for Junior Rangers, as well as General Public activities from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

number and type of interpretation and education activities in parks

Data source: Parks Victoria Education and Interpretation team

 

6.1.7. Licensed tour operator services provided

Licensed tour operators provide bushwalking, fishing, gold panning and fossicking, native wildlife viewing, vehicle touring, whale watching, guided nature tours and Aboriginal cultural heritage interpretation. These activities are conducted across many environments from remote national parks to metropolitan parks close to Melbourne.

In 2017-18 there were 496 licensed tour operators, who generated over 472,000 visits. This is a 33% increase in licensed tour operators and a 109% increase in generated visits compared to 2013 data. 

Number of licensed tour operators and visits they generated in 2017-18

number of licences tour operators and visits they generated

Data source: Parks Victoria ParkConnect

 

Go to next section of State of the Parks Fourth Edition: 6.2 Park assets and their condition

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