Tower Hill Revitalisation

Project status

Last updated: June 2024

  • Works are underway on trail upgrades for the Journey to the Last Volcano Walk, Lake Edge Track and Peak Climb.
  • Works are underway on upgrades to the cultural danceground.
  • New park signage and refreshed visitor information are being prepared.
  • Works are nearly complete on an upgrades to the toilet and amenities building at the main visitor area.
  • Conservation works on the Robin Boyd-designed Visitor Centre are almost complete.

 

 

The project

Located outside Warrnambool, in Victoria’s south-west, the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is a unique volcanic landscape with significant cultural, environmental, geological and historical values.

Already much-loved by the local community, Tower Hill is also becoming a stop-off destination for visitors, particularly given its proximity to the Great Ocean Road region and the Budj Bim National Park World Heritage site.

In 2021, an Activation and Linkages Plan was released following public consultation to improve visitors’ experience of the reserve, celebrate its cultural heritage, and explore better connections with the surrounding region. 

Guided by this plan, a series of upgrades are now being delivered in the reserve.

 

This includes:

  • Conservation works on the Robin Boyd-designed Visitor Centre
  • Upgraded toilets and amenities building
  • Upgraded walking trails and paths in the reserve
  • An improved cultural danceground, including new shelter
  • Refreshed and new signage about the landscape.

 

View over the lake at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

 

Visitor Centre conservation works


Opened in 1971, the Robin Boyd-designed Visitor Centre is an iconic feature at Tower Hill.

Following approval by Heritage Victoria, repairs and maintenance works are being delivered to ensure the building continues to welcome visitors into the future.

Restoration works have been completed on the roof of the building, and its timber windows, doors and roof beams. Stonework has been re-pointed, the concrete floor sealed and internal lighting, heating and cooling has been updated.

Below: Conservation works on the visitor centre roof underway last year.

 


 

Toilets and amenities building

Nearby to the Visitor Centre, the existing toilets and amenities building is being upgraded.

This project is modernising the facilities will an all-abilities design, helping make visits to Tower Hill easier and more accessible for all.

Below: Works on the toilets and amenities building.


 

Walking trails and new viewing area

Thousands of people come to Tower Hill to explore the landscape and see some of Australia's best-loved wildlife.

To help visitors keep exploring, a series of trail upgrades are being delivered. This includes for the Journey to the Last Volcano walk, which is having narrow sections widened, steep spots made more accessible, and drainage, ruts and potholes fixed to ensure safe access for emergency vehicles.

The Lake Edge Track is having a realignment and revegetation works to help protect some sensitive sections of the landscape while also connecting walkers to a new viewing platform.

Paths and landscaping around the Visitor Center and amenities building are being improved, better connecting car parking to accessible tracks.

There will also be upgrades along the Peak Climb, which takes walkers to the highest point of the reserve.

Below: illustrative image of the new viewing platform to be created on the Lake Edge Track.

 

Cultural danceground upgrade

The reserve’s cultural danceground is being upgraded, including with a new shelter that can be used by the Eastern Maar community during events. The layout of the danceground, its surface and surrounding seating are also being improved, along with connecting paths and landscaping.

Below: illustrative image of the danceground shelter.

 

Signage and interpretation

To enrich people's experience at Tower Hill and allow them to learn more about the landscape, a project is underway to refresh visitor information.

This project will add signage and other interpretive features about the significant cultural heritage of the landscape, its volcanic geography and ecological values.

The design, colours and language will recognise and celebrate Eastern Maar's connection to Koroitj - the indigenous Gunditjmara name for Tower Hill.   

 

Project funding

This series of upgrades is being funded from a $6.7 million investment by the Victorian Government.

 

Project timeline

Upgrades across the reserve are expected to be completed in mid-to-date 2024, subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions, and approval of necessary permits.


Who are we working with?

Parks Victoria and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation are working in partnership on this project funded by Regional Development Victoria.

 

Cultural and environmental management

 

Comprehensive cultural heritage assessments and development of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan have guided works in the reserve.

Parks Victoria has also worked with Heritage Victoria to seek all relevant approvals. The whole of Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is included on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Parks Victoria is also developing a Conservation Management Plan. This document will guide the management of the reserve into the future to ensure its values are safeguarded.

 

Access changes

The Tower Hill Visitor Centre is currently closed.

During upgrades to trails and the toilets and amenities building there will be changes to public access.

For up-to-date information, visitors should check out the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve park page.

 

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 are these upgrades being delivered?

The Tower Hill Activation and Linkages Plan, developed through community and stakeholder consultation, was finalised in 2021. This plan outlines initiatives to improve the visitor experience at Tower Hill, protect and conserve its values, and celebrate its Aboriginal cultural heritage. 

When will projects be completed?

Upgrades across the reserve are expected to be completed in mid-to-late 2024, subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions, and approval of necessary permits. Upgrades to the reserve’s entrance, including car parking and a viewing area, have already been completed.

When will the Visitor Centre open?

Works to restore and conserve the heritage-listed building will be completed mid-year. Planning is concurrently underway with the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation on the operating model for the visitor centre.

How are Traditional Owners involved in the project? 

Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation are project partners as the Registered Aboriginal Party for the area.  A Tower Hill Project Officer has been funded and appointed, working for Eastern Maar and linking into the Traditional Owner community.  

 

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