Macleay Coast Destination draft master plan

This master plan will guide the upgrade of visitor infrastructure in Arakoon National Park and Smoky Cape in Hat Head National Park.

Trial Bay Gaol campground, Arakoon Bay National ParkOpportunity to comment on the Macleay Coast Destination draft master plan has now ended.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is reviewing all submissions and will prepare a submissions summary to outline feedback received and how this is considered in the master plan. We will advise everyone when the submissions summary is available online.

The Trial Bay, Cardwell Street, Little Bay and Smoky Cape precincts are popular visitor destinations within the Arakoon and Hat Head national parks, near South West Rocks on the NSW mid north coast. Trial Bay is often described as the jewel in the crown of the Macleay Valley Coast, and Smoky Cape lighthouse offers spectacular views of the coast.

What is being proposed?

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is committed to improving and modernising visitor facilities in these parks to enhance the experience of visitors and locals alike.

Plans include the development of new walking tracks, amenities blocks, shelters and upgraded access roads at the Trial Bay campground.

At Little Bay, enhanced facilities and new family-friendly walking and bike paths will reinvigorate this cherished precinct as a favoured location for family gatherings.

Bushwalkers will rejoice at the prospect of a spectacular new coastal walking track between Little Bay and Smoky Cape.

This exciting project will boost the regional visitor economy, with new nature-based and heritage experiences enticing visitors to stay longer in the region and strengthening the Macleay Coast's appeal as a year-round quality destination.

Trial Bay Goal and Smoky Cape Lighthouse are iconic tourist destinations and currently attract over 1 million visitors per year. The current infrastructure is ageing, and significant improvements are needed to provide better experiences to visitors while protecting the park's existing historic and cultural significance.

The project also aims to reduce congestion in peak periods and diversify recreational opportunities within the park to encourage visitors during low and shoulder periods.

The project supports our vision of conservation, celebrating and respecting our rich culture and heritage, working for and with our communities, and providing outstanding natural spaces and engaging experiences.

The project will be implemented in 3 stages, with the initial $6.7 million in funding focused on delivering stage 1 and 2 over the next 4 years. The 3 stages are:

  • Stage 1 – Develop a blueprint to meet long-term visitor demands of key visitor precincts in Arakoon National Park and Smoky Cape in Hat Head National Park and determine priorities for implementation.
  • Stage 2 – Use project funding to improve the visitor experience by improving pedestrian, cycle and traffic circulation; separating non-compatible uses; and modernising facilities in priority areas.
  • Stage 3 – Undertake remaining works as funding becomes available over the 10-year life of the master plan.

Works for items in the master plan not permissible under the current parks' plan of management will not be undertaken until approved under a new adopted plan of management.

A draft master plan illustrates the design concepts developed for the area. It includes site plans, diagrams of proposed infrastructure and visual representations of completed designs. It presents a picture of planned visitor infrastructure improvements at the site.

This draft master plan does not address the permissibility of recreational activities (such as access for dog walking) within Arakoon and Hat Head national parks. These items will be considered in the new draft plan of management for these parks. Any comments received on items outside of the scope of this master plan will not be considered at this time.

The draft master plan consultation has now closed. Comments received, along with results from environmental, cultural heritage, and other assessments, will be used to finalise the master plan. The final master plan will then be available on our website. Implementation of the final master plan must still comply with the parks' current plan of management.