Loch Ard Blowhole Lookout

Project status

 

  • Onsite works have paused for winter as part of our environmental management process for the breeding season of the Southern-brown Bandicoot. 
  • The lookout's footings and connecting paths have been created, while offsite the manufacture of the lookout 'shell' continues.
  • The above timeline is a projection and subject to assessments, on-ground and construction industry conditions. It will be updated with more detail as the project progresses.


    Last updated: 
    July 2024

     

     

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    The Project

    The Loch Ard Precinct is a large, diverse landscape and coastal environment with multiple destinations and features of visitor interest. 

    The Victorian Government is investing $8 million to build a new lookout at 'The Blowhole', near the Loch Ard Gorge. The lookout will provide a new visitor experience at this tucked away site, nestled amongst native vegetation.  

    This project is within the Port Campbell National Park on Keerray Woorroong Country, and the design of the lookout has been led by Eastern Maar community.

    The new lookout design resembles a breaching whale, and respects the environmental and cultural characteristics of the site. It is subsumed into the landscape and curves around the edge of the blowhole without impeding the symbolic breathing of the 'whale'.


    Artists impression of the Loch Ard Blowhole. A hollow, tubular bridge crosses a sandy landscape.

    Above: Artist’s impression of the Loch Ard Gorge Lookout, resembling a breaching whale. Credit: Denton Corker Marshall  


    Improved access tracks curate the approach by concealing and revealing views so visitors experience the blowhole and native vegetation from a range of locations. 

    The former Blowhole Lookout was removed several years ago due to potential visitor risks posed by the natural erosion of the limestone rock. Geotechnical investigations and extensive community and industry engagement have informed the approach for the new Blowhole Lookout.

    In addition to this project is the $126 million Twelve Apostles Precinct Redevelopment. Being delivered by Regional Development Victoria, this investment will change how visitors experience the region. It will provide streamlined access to nature’s greatest attractions, while protecting the environment and cultural history at this spectacular location.

    It will be safer and easier to enjoy the areas’ stunning natural assets, draw domestic and international visitors, and encourage visitors to stay longer, transforming a day visit into an overnight stay in the Shipwreck Coast region. For more information visit: www.rdv.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/twelve-apostles-precinct-redevelopment 


    Managing Country Together

    This project is being delivered on Keerray Woorroong Country.

    Parks Victoria is working in partnership with the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) on the project. 

     

    Project benefits

    Visitors

    Visitors to Victoria’s south-west will have a new view of the dramatic coastline from the ‘Blowhole’ in the Port Campbell National Park. This project will provide a safer and more accessible experience for millions of visitors that will come to this iconic location into the future. 

    Cultural heritage and environment

    The coastal environment of the Port Campbell National Park is spectacular but fragile. The new Loch Ard Blowhole Lookout will ensure the landscape is protected while allowing visitors to enjoy the spectacular view over the blowhole. 

    Geotechnical investigations and extensive community and industry engagement have informed the approach for the new Blowhole Lookout, mitigating risks posed by the natural erosion of the limestone rock. 

    Community and economy

    This project is part of Stage One of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan, which is expected to support approximately 120 ongoing jobs, add $12 million to the regional economy and increase the annual visitor spend by $14 million.  


    Project funding

    The Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) is investing $8 million to build the new lookout, via the Tourism Infrastructure Program.

    This investment forms part of the $24.5 million investment in Stage One of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan.


    Environment and cultural heritage management

    This project received a permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and a cultural heritage management plan has been approved by Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. A planning permit has also been received from Corrangamite Shire Council.

     

    Who are we working with?

     

    Access changes

    This project is expected to take about 12 months to finish, subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions.

    To ensure public safety during this time, access to some tracks and areas around The Blowhole have been closed, including no access to Thunder Cave and Sherbrook River (see map attached). 

    There is also be a reduction in the number of carparking spaces available for the public at the Loch Ard Gorge precinct, and no parking near Sherbrook River. Turning circles will also be restricted due to the construction works, so caravans and other long vehicles will be required to park in the Loch Ard Gorge car park.  

     

    Public access changes: January 2024 – 2025

     

    Visitors should always check park conditions before planning their trip to a park or reserve.

    For the latest information on park conditions and any other access changes in Port Campbell National Park, visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/port-campbell-national-park

    Putting safety first

    Visitor safety is our number one priority when considering risk in parks. 

    While nature will always be unpredictable, our projects and maintenance works help minimise risks and help people explore the great outdoors safely.

    Parks Victoria is responsible for continuously managing and maintaining over 50,000 pieces of infrastructure across the state annually. We’re also delivering new projects to help visitors get into nature. These are thoroughly planned and prepared to keep people and projects separate – and safe.

    When visiting a park where projects are happening, especially during construction, it’s important that people follow the direction of signs, stay out of fenced and restricted areas, and listen to Parks Victoria staff and work crews.

    Related information 

     

    FAQs

    Why is a new lookout being built? 
    Projects being delivered as part of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan will improve opportunities for visitors and strengthen the local economy, providing employment opportunities through sustainable tourism. 

    A previous lookout at the Blowhole was removed several years ago due to potential visitor risks posed by the natural erosion of the limestone rock.  The new Lock Ard Blowhole Lookout will provide a better experience at this spectacular part of the Port Campbell National Park, improving accessibility, ensuring visitor safety and protecting the fragile environment. 


    What will the local community notice during construction? 
    In addition to changes to access around the construction site, there will be intermittent road closures during the project. For the latest information on park conditions and closures in Port Campbell National Park, visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/port-campbell-national-park

     
    When will the project finish? 
    This is a complex project on challenging terrain.

    Subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions, works on the lookout are expected finish in early 2025.
     
     
    Was there community consultation on this project? 
    During 2018, Parks Victoria sought public feedback on the concept designs for this lookout, in addition to another lookout at the 'Saddle' and a pedestrian bridge at Port Campbell. 
     
     
    How are the environment and cultural values being protected during construction? 

    Environmental controls have been established for this project following permit approval from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. A cultural heritage management plan has been approved by Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. These controls will ensure minimal impact on the surrounding landscape.


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