Crackneck Lookout access upgrade

Crackneck Lookout in Wyrrabalong National Park at Bateau Bay is a very scenic and popular lookout with the local community. It is one of the best locations to observe whales on the Central Coast or join The Coast walking track and is easily accessible by car.

Crackneck Lookout, Wyrrabalong National ParkCrackneck Lookout is undergoing an upgrade to improve visitor enjoyment, access and safety. The upgrade project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2022 or early 2023.

What does the project involve?

This upgrade project will improve the overall visitor experience at Crackneck Lookout by providing universal access to the ocean views, landscaping that provides improved seating and picnic facilities, improving car parking capacity, reducing vehicle congestion and resolving drainage issues.

The upgrade actions include:

  • improved access to viewpoints and picnic tables
  • provision of dedicated disability parking spaces, a 22-seater minibus parking and pedestrian pathways
  • better pedestrian links between the car park, picnic area and the Coast walking track
  • installing pedestrian fencing to improve the safety of visitor access from minor entries such as Rickard Street to the day use area
  • improved drainage and erosion management
  • installing interpretive signs to give visitors more local information on whales and whale watching and other important park values of Wyrrabalong National Park.

The NSW Government has allocated funding under the Improving Access to National Parks program to upgrade Crackneck Lookout. Funding has already allowed for the design development, planning and project implementation. Delivery and completion of on-ground works are to be completed in 2022–23.

The completion of lookout construction works is forecast for December 2022.

Our national parks are managed to protect their unique values and provide for sustainable visitor use and enjoyment. With visitor numbers growing across all NSW national parks, the need to improve visitor infrastructure like Crackneck Lookout has been highlighted.

The Crackneck Lookout site requires better design to manage traffic, provide a safe, accessible location for all visitors and modernise outdated facilities.

High levels of vehicle and pedestrian traffic during peak periods can create congestion and visitor safety risk. The siting of visitor facilities can better use the space and provide access to everyone, including those with mobility issues.

These works will improve the longevity of the lookout area and assist with maintenance. The work intends to improve the current standard, address erosion issues, improve visitor safety and enhance the visitor experience.

We have reviewed and considered several carpark configurations. An environmental impact assessment of the proposed upgrade works that also determines the measures needed to protect the park values from those impacts, has been conducted. All works will be carried out in accordance with this assessment and will be closely monitored during the life of the project.

The option selected reduces tree removal as far as practicable while still addressing vehicle congestion, visitor safety and drainage issues. The upgrade project will also provide the opportunity to reduce weed density surrounding the carpark and do localised planting to enhance conservation and biodiversity values.

The safety of visitors, construction staff and contractors, is paramount. To ensure this safety, the lookout will be temporarily closed for defined periods during high-risk construction activities. The lookout will be open at other times, but with restricted or limited access.

We will endeavour to reduce inconvenience to visitors as much as possible. Notices of closures will be placed on this project webpage, the National Parks and Wildlife Service website, media releases at key milestones and regular community updates, warning signage at the site, and registered stakeholder notifications. Visitors can also phone the local NPWS office on 02 4972 9000.

Whilst the temporary closure of the lookout area will restrict enjoyment of the area for a period, the benefits of the improvements and protection of the environment as a result of the works will be long-term. We request that all visitors consider their safety by adhering to closures and following any directions given by on-site workers.

The project is consistent with the Wyrrabalong National Park Plan of Management and specifically addresses the need for Crackneck Lookout to have a precinct plan before renovation. The plan of management identifies the need to improve visitor safety and overall experience by upgrading paved (hard) surfaces, picnic facilities, viewing areas and interpretative information.

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