Take care at Little Bay

Media release: 19 November 2013

The northern section of Little Bay Beach in Arakoon National Park, at South West Rocks, has been closed until further notice due to a serious rockfall from the cliff face above the beach. There is an increasing risk of granite blocks, possibly weighing many tonnes, falling onto the beach.

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger, Ms Cath Ireland, said a geologist had inspected the site since the initial northern rockfall in late October and identified the potential for further rockfalls from cliff lines on both the northern and southern sides of the bay.

“Several large rocks have fallen onto the beach and we are concerned there may be a greater hazard remaining above the beach, with several of the very heavy pink granite blocks appearing loose,” Ms Ireland said.

“The cliff lines on either side of Little Bay have traditionally been popular places for climbing by children.

“However, climbing over the cliff faces can loosen unstable rock blocks on them, potentially resulting in slips and falls.

“A serious concern is that visitors, especially children, climbing above the rockfall area may de-stabilise the cliff edge and tumble down from a height, being hit by falling blocks of granite, leading to serious injury.

“The risk of rockfalls from the cliff lines will normally increase when there has been heavy rainfall, however, further rock falls could occur at any time, not just after rain.

“Therefore the northern section of the beach, including the steps leading down to this section of beach has been closed,” she explained.

Arakoon National Park hosts an estimated 500,000 visitors each year who come to enjoy its history, beaches and bushwalks. Little Bay is a popular area for picnics and beach play, including clambering over the large boulders surrounding the beach.

“Unfortunately the risk from rockfall is very serious and will remain so for some time, so we all need to be vigilant about keeping away from the rocky cliffs, and alerting any other visitors that might put themselves in a dangerous situation.

“Even relatively small blocks of rock (30cm x 30 cm) can potentially cause serious injury if people are standing near the base of the cliffs when a failure occurs.

“It is therefore recommended that visitors keep a safe distance from the cliff faces at all times.

“Please ensure that when you visit Little Bay beach, you and all your party, especially younger, more adventurous members, avoid these areas,” she said.

For further information please ring Ranger Cath Ireland on 02 6566 7589.

Contact: Lawrence Orel

Page last updated: 19 November 2013