Wattamolla Visitor Precinct

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

Wattamolla Providential Cove Royal National ParkWattamolla Visitors Precinct is one of the most popular places in Royal National Park with visitation increasing significantly over the past few years by day trippers and those walking the Royal Coast Track. Visitor demand regularly exceeds the capacity of the existing facilities, including public amenities and car parks which is negatively impacting on the visitor experience and putting pressure on the natural environment.

Recognising that visitor demand at Wattamolla was exceeding the capacity of the existing facilities, including public amenities and car parking, National Parks and Wildlife Service prepared a Master Plan to address the challenges of managing 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 and proposes a range of measures including traffic and parking upgrades, enhanced landscaping and improved treatment system and public amenities. The implementation of the plan has been staged based on prioritised actions and cost.

A number of key upgrades proposed by the masterplan have been completed. The onsite sewerage treatment system was upgraded in 2016-17 and a new amenities block completed in December 2019. Both these projects have made a substantial contribution to improving visitor amenity and environmental outcomes within the precinct.

Wattamolla Visitor Precinct upgrade

The Master Plan provided guidance for precinct upgrades to the car parks and main picnic areas. Detailed design has been undertaken to enable works to be carried out for the main picnic area and lower car park. These works aim to improve access and arrival to the precinct, enhance the visitor experience and deliver environmental improvements.

In addition, the upgrades will also improve accessibility for National Parks and Wildlife Service and emergency operations as well as accommodate public transport options.

This project commenced in 2019 with the construction of a new visitor amenity building. The next stage consisting of upgrades to the lower car park and landscaping to the main picnic areas are scheduled to commence in 2021. Planning is currently underway.

Wattamolla is one of the most popular locations in Royal National Park with visitation regularly exceeding the capacity of this site. These works aim to provide an enhanced visitor experience and to manage visitation more effectively, for example encouraging visitors to use the local bus service rather than private vehicles.

This project will also deliver environmental benefits with improved drainage and vegetation to better manage runoff 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, depression-era cabin community and as a low-level military installation during World War II.

The Wattamolla Master Plan was prepared in 2016 to address the challenges of managing visitation whilst protecting these natural and cultural values of the place. This plan identified and assessed visitors' needs, the impact of increasing use on the natural environment and managing sustainable use of this place.

Wattamolla is one of the most popular precincts in the Royal National Park with visitation of up to 3500 visitors per day during the peak summer period. Wattamolla 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 of places such as Wattamolla to the community and its popularity and are continually working on strategies to manage visitation while providing an attractive visitor experience.

The planned 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.

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.

Wattamolla Visitor Precinct

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