Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

The Draft Wattamolla Master Plan: Public consultation

Wattamolla, with its freshwater lagoon, waterfall, beach and stunning coastal scenery, is the most popular destination at Royal National Park, attracting over 300,000 visitors a year.

 The Wattamolla master plan aims to develop strategies that:

  • manage visitor levels during the peak summer holiday period
  • upgrade park facilities, to further enhance visitor experience
  • encourage people to visit the park during the winter months.

Most visitors to Wattamolla during peak periods are beach-users and picnickers. On really busy days, facilities such as car parks and toilets at Wattamolla are stretched beyond capacity. This means that people can’t park near the picnic areas and may choose less safe options on access roads. Pedestrian safety becomes an issue. The toilets at Wattamolla operate on a septic system. This system is limited by the size of its holding tanks and on busy days finds it difficult to cope.

A national park is different to other places people might go for recreation. Like many places in national parks, Wattamolla is not connected to the electricity grid, sewerage system or mains water supply and has no mobile reception. This makes it difficult to provide facilities like toilets, drinking water, rubbish collection and other services.

What does the draft master plan propose?

Online booking system

Currently, a $12 entry fee is charged for vehicles entering Wattamolla. This fee is collected at the Wattamolla Vehicle Entry Station or at the Visitor Centre. There are various challenges associated with the current visitor-entry system, particularly during peak periods. To streamline the visitor entry process during peak periods, the draft master plan proposes an online booking system which is a cost-effective way to help ease parking issues.

The benefit of a booking system

We understand that it is frustrating and disappointing when visitors arrive at Wattamolla to find that the car-park is full. A booking system will provide visitors with the certainty that they will have a car space on arrival on the busiest peak days.

The online booking system would in turn provide National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) with data about the site’s visitation rates on peak days, which it currently lacks. This would allow a better understanding of the site’s demand and also the level of interest in visiting.

Setting up camping at Wattamolla

It is estimated that roughly 90,000 people use the Royal Coast Track, including through Wattamolla. The track is 26 kilometres long and an average walker takes roughly two days to complete it. The draft master plan looks at the potential to set up a camping area within Wattamolla to increase facilities along this track. Users of the camping site would have to bring their own camping equipment (tents etc.) but would have access to Wattamolla’s toilet facilities.

Other ideas to improve Wattamolla

The draft master plan also considers options for commercial activities at Wattamolla, including a kiosk, a zip-line and camping opportunities. It also considers possible walking track extensions and toilet and picnic area upgrades. For more information about the master plan, visit the questions and answers page.

To stay up to date on ongoing improvements at Wattamolla, visit the Royal National Park community engagement portal.

Comments have closed on the draft plan. Your submission will be considered by the consultants and NPWS during preparation of the final master plan. The master plan will be posted on this site when completed, together with a summary of the submissions received.

For more information, contact royal.plan@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Page last updated: 06 June 2016