Wattamolla Visitor Precinct

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is enhancing the visitor experience at Wattamolla.

Completed upgrades to the Wattamolla picnic area.Wattamolla Visitor Precinct is one of the most popular places in Royal National Park, with visitation increasing significantly over the past few years driven by day trippers and those walking the Royal Coast Track. Visitor demand regularly exceeds the capacity of existing facilities, including picnic areas and car parks, which negatively impacts the visitor experience and puts pressure on the natural environment.

National Parks and Wildlife Service prepared a master plan to address these challenges and guide how it could better manage visitation whilst protecting the natural and cultural values of the place. This plan was placed on public exhibition in 2016 with over 150 responses received. The plan was finalised and approved in 2017.

The master plan identified and assessed visitor needs, the impact of increasing use on the natural environment and managing the sustainable use of Wattamolla. The plan guides the enhancement of the precinct to meet rapidly escalating visitor expectations. It proposes a range of measures, including traffic and parking upgrades, enhanced landscaping, an improved waste water treatment system and public amenities. The plan's implementation has been staged based on prioritised actions and cost.

A number of key upgrades proposed by the master plan have been completed. The onsite sewerage treatment system was upgraded in 2016–17, and a new amenities block was completed in December 2019. Both these projects have substantially contributed to improving visitor amenity and environmental outcomes within the precinct. These works are being delivered as part of the largest visitor infrastructure program in national park history.

What is happening at Wattamolla?

The lower loop carpark and picnic area at Wattamolla have undergone upgrades during 2021. This has included:

  • reconfiguration of the lower loop car park to create additional shaded open space for picnics, and provide for safer bus drop-off and accessible parking
  • upgrade of picnic areas, including new shelters and BBQs
  • new viewing platform and safety fencing
  • landscaping, pathways and tree planting to improve the visual amenity of the site
  • new drainage works to help protect Wattamolla lagoon.

These works provide a safer, more accessible and improved visitor experience. The picnic area and lower loop carpark has reopened to visitors as most of these works are now complete. In January, contractors will be back on site to complete the final minor works to the picnic area.

In addition to this project, an upgraded pathway from the picnic area to the lagoon and beach is scheduled to open to visitors in mid-2022. Contractors will be on site over the coming months to complete outstanding works along the path. This is currently closed with onsite signage in place. Please do not cross the barrier, the beach and lagoon can be accessed via the pathway near the amenity building.

Please check current alerts before planning your visit.

Improvements to the lower loop carpark and picnic area commenced on 26 April 2021. These works are largely complete and the area is open to visitors. Contractors will be back on site in January to complete final minor works.

An upgraded pathway from the picnic area to the lagoon and beach is scheduled to open to visitors in mid-2022. Please do not cross the barrier, the beach and lagoon can be accessed via the pathway near the amenity building.

Wattamolla is one of the most popular locations in Royal National Park, with visitation regularly exceeding the capacity of the site. This project improves the visitor experience and allows us to manage visitation better, such as encouraging visitors to use the local bus service rather than private vehicles.

This project also delivers environmental benefits with improved drainage and vegetation to better manage run-off from the car parks.

Our national parks are managed to protect their unique values and provide for sustainable visitor use and enjoyment. This includes providing visitor experiences and, where appropriate, new visitor facilities, including tracks and trails.

Wattamolla Visitor Precinct has significant environmental and cultural heritage values, including areas of Coastal Sandplain Heath, a component of the Eastern Suburbs banksia scrub in the Sydney Basin Bioregion endangered ecological community. The precinct also contains significant Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Cultural Heritage that reflect its diverse land use history, including traditional use by local Aboriginal groups, the depression-era cabin community, and a low-level military installation during World War II.

Wattamolla is one of the most popular precincts in the Royal National Park, with up to 3500 visitors per day during the peak summer period and provides a range of recreational experiences, including picnics for families and groups, bushwalking, angling, swimming, whale watching and beach recreation. Wattamolla is mainly accessed by private vehicle, with a public bus service introduced in 2019 providing alternative transport.

We understand the value and popularity of places such as Wattamolla to the community and are continually working on strategies to manage visitation while providing an attractive visitor experience.

The upgrades to Wattamolla will enhance the visitor experience by protecting and improving the natural and cultural values of the place.

National Parks and Wildlife Service will continue to engage with stakeholders and interested community members. Updates on this project will be available from this webpage.

Check the NPWS Visitor alerts for up to date information that may impact your visit.

Where can I get more information?

Check back on this page for the latest updates. If you have any questions, you can submit these via the form below and we will endeavour to answer your question.

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