Safety information trial for MacKenzie Falls
Thursday 4 February, 2021
A visitor safety and information ‘pop up’ is hoped to be trialled later this year at MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park.
One of the state’s largest and most spectacular waterfalls, MacKenzie Falls attracts around 340,000 visits each year. This popularity, and the rugged and remote nature of the site, has prompted Parks Victoria to trial a dedicated visitor information service.
Delivered from a small, mobile or ‘pop up’ structure, the information service would focus on making visitors aware of the steepness of the track to and from the falls, that swimming at the base of the falls is not permitted, and other general park information such as the natural and cultural values of the area, park navigation and alternative nearby attractions.
The service would also provide information back to Parks Victoria and, if required, emergency services, and help maintain the amenity of the area. To cater for the high number of visitors, water and other drinks, and some light foods, would also be provided.
The trial program follows the announcement that the Victorian State Budget will invest $7.76 million to improve the visitor experience at MacKenzie Falls and encourage visitor dispersal. Improvements will include upgraded visitor spaces, an expansion and upgrade of the carpark, a new one-way walking loop to provide access for people of all abilities to the falls, and new tracks to connect to the Grampians Peaks Trail and other nearby campgrounds.
The draft Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan, to which community feedback has recently closed, also outlines proposed strategies to address visitor management in the ‘central corridor’ of the national park, which includes MacKenzie Falls. These strategies include addressing overcrowding through new site design, visitor dispersal and traffic control.
The trial of an onsite visitor information ‘pop up’ is open for expressions of interest from suitably qualified operators until 28 February 2021. The trial is for a period of up to 12 months.
Quotes attributable to Rhonda McNeil, Area Chief Ranger–Parks Victoria:
“MacKenzie Falls is one of the park’s iconic and heavily visited destinations – with that comes additional visitor information and safety considerations.”
“While all park visitors need to take care of themselves when heading into remote natural areas and challenging terrain, we’re committed to making everyone’s visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.”“This trial will explore the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering visitor information in a new way.”