Update November 2019

The Tomaree Coastal Walk is a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) project to deliver a spectacular 20-kilometre coastal walk and associated facilities from Tomaree Head to Birubi Point at Port Stephens.

Update on Tomaree National Park Plan of Management Amendment and Draft Tomaree Coastal Walk Strategy

The public exhibition of the proposed amendment to the Tomaree National Park Plan of Management and the Draft Tomaree Coastal Walk Strategy closed in mid-September 2019. This provided an important opportunity for people to review and comment on the proposal.

Over 130 formal submissions were received with key themes raised being rock climbing, impact on community and residents, support for the project, helicopter flights, change of character of the park, traffic management and supporting infrastructure and commercialisation of the park.

The submissions report has been reviewed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) statutory stakeholder advisory bodies, including the NPWS Hunter Central Coast Regional Advisory Committee and the NPWS Advisory Council. Their recommendations have been included in the report for consideration by the Minister for Energy and Environment.

The plan amendment may be adopted by the Minister or the Minister may refer the plan back to NPWS and its advisory bodies for further consideration. It is anticipated that an outcome will be known in early 2020, and we will provide an update to you at that time.

Tomaree Head walking track, Tomaree National Park.
Flannel flower Actinotus species at Ingar campground Kings Tableland Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains National Park

Environmental and heritage assessments

As an important principle, the Tomaree Coastal Walk will meet environmental assessments that are compliant with relevant legislation, respect the environment and cultural sensitivities and reflect the remarkable landscape and communities it lies within.

Independent experts have been engaged to carry out extensive environmental, cultural and historic heritage assessments on the proposed corridor, as part of the Review of Environmental Factors. This work commenced in November so if you are out in the park you may notice survey markers and monitoring as part of this important work.

These investigations will identify the significance of likely environmental and heritage impacts of the proposed new and upgraded infrastructure, the measures required to mitigate any adverse impacts, and will inform the preparation of the masterplan. The Review of Environmental Factors and the draft masterplan will be exhibited for public review and comment in 2020.

New interpretative technologies to be explored for Tomaree

Interpretation is a key focus for the Tomaree Coastal Walk project and NPWS has engaged an Interpretation consultant to develop new and innovative technologies to ensure visitor information and stories are engaging, site sensitive, appropriate and accessible to all.

Interpretation at Tomaree will foster public appreciation of the park's natural, historical and cultural values, incorporating the significance of the park and playing a pivotal role in enhancing visitors experience. Interpretation will come in all forms including, digital innovations and programs and the tried and tested mediums such as park signs, information panels and wayfinding.

Interpretation will be developed in collaboration with Aboriginal owners and other key interest groups and individuals, and will also contribute to the masterplan.

Tomaree Head walking track, Tomaree National Park.

Next steps

  • Environmental, cultural and historic heritage assessments for the proposed route corridor are being carried out over the next 6 months, as part of the Review of Environmental Factors.
  • A landscape architect contractor has been engaged to progress the project design as part of the masterplan development, which will be informed by the environmental and heritage assessments. The draft masterplan will be exhibited for public comment in 2020.
  • Interpretation consultants will investigate new and innovative interpretation in collaboration with Aboriginal owners and other stakeholders, to promote the parks' natural and cultural values.
  • Ongoing consultation with stakeholders including the local community.