The Shipwreck Coast Master Plan is a comprehensive and visionary program to protect the fragile coastline between Princetown and the Bay of Islands, improve opportunities for visitors, and strengthen the local economy and employment opportunities through sustainable tourism.
A key project in Stage One of the master plan is development of the ‘Saddle Lookout’ at the Twelve Apostles visitor precinct on Kirrae Wurrung Country.
Parks Victoria partnered with Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation on the design, which was also discussed during community consultation in 2018.
The new lookout will replace existing viewing areas that no longer cater for visitor numbers, providing a superior, safer and more accessible experience that will support the regional economy and help future-proof this iconic destination.
The Twelve Apostles is one of Victoria’s most popular destinations. This project will provide a better, safer and more accessible experience for millions of visitors that will come to this iconic location into the future.
The coastal environment of the Port Campbell National Park is spectacular but fragile. The new Saddle Lookout will ensure the landscape is protected while allowing visitors to enjoy the incredible coastal views.
Nature-based tourism is an important contributor to local businesses and the regional economy. This project is part of Stage One of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan which will create jobs and bring millions of dollars to the region.
The investment in Stage One projects of the master plan is expected to support approximately 120 ongoing jobs, add $12 million to the regional economy and increase the annual visitor spend by $14 million.
Plans for the new lookout have been developed in collaboration with the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation.
Located on Kirrae Wurrung Country, the lookout design expresses the resilience of the broader Eastern Maar Nation. The two “clapsticks” of the structure are the colours of Ngayook (Sulphur Crested Cockatoo) and Ponponpoorramook (Red Tailed Black Cockatoo), which are primary totemic species to the Eastern Maar peoples.
Comprised of two long rectangular sections, one resting on the terrain’s ‘saddle’ and the other cantilevered towards the horizon, the design will momentarily conceal the coastline as visitors enter, before it is revealed as they continue further along.
Above: Artist’s impression of the new lookout.
The new lookout will be complemented by a one-way circuit loop walking track connecting back to the existing path. The track will be shrouded in vegetation, providing some protection from the weather and also an intimate experience within this special landscape.
In order to construct the new Saddle Lookout, the Castle Rock Lookout will be removed and the area revegetated.
On-site works started in September 2021.
Subject to on-ground conditions and any public health directions that may be in place, the lookout is expected to be completed in late 2022.
From 14 September 2021, to ensure public safety, public access was restricted to the Castle Rock and Saddle viewing areas.
During the course of this project visitors will continue to enjoy the other lookouts, boardwalks and visitor areas at the Twelve Apostles and the other spectacular visitor sites in the Port Campbell National Park.
The shaded area below represents the current area of restriction.
The Victorian Government is providing $9.2 million to build the lookout, part of a $16.5 million investment in Stage One of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan.
Environment and cultural heritage management
This project has 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. A planning permit has also been received from Corrangamite Shire Council.
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.
The new Saddle 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.
When will the project start/finish?
This is a complex project on challenging terrain. Subject to on-ground conditions and any public health directions that may be in place, the lookout is expected to be completed in late 2022.
Was there community consultation on this project?
During 2018, Parks Victoria sought public feedback on the concept designs for the lookout, in addition to another lookout at The Blowhole (Loch Ard Gorge precinct), and a pedestrian bridge at Port Campbell.
How is the environment being protected during construction?
Environmental controls have been established for this project following permit approval from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. These controls will ensure minimal impact on the surrounding landscape.
- The Saddle Lookout - Fact Sheet - September 2021 (PDF)
- Media release - New Twelve Apostles Lookout to Deliver Stunning Experience