While there will be no international travellers this year, Parks Victoria is still anticipating large numbers of domestic visitors to the iconic site this summer. Last year, daily visitor numbers during the Christmas week reached 15,000.
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger, Michael Smith says Victoria Police will also have an increased presence, undertaking safety patrols to ensure speed limits and traffic directions are observed.
“For the benefit of our staff and other visitors, we’re asking people to continue physically distancing and wearing masks when required, and of course follow the directions of traffic controllers and Park Rangers," Mr. Smith said.
“While 2020 has been a very different year, we’re still expecting high numbers of visitors to the Twelve Apostles during the Christmas and summer holiday period," he said.
“To get the most of your trip and support local businesses and communities, I’d encourage people to visit early in the day and then explore more of this beautiful part of Victoria.”
“Nearby are many natural attractions like the Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs and London Bridge, as well as accessible towns like Port Campbell, Timboon, Princetown and Cobden.”
With COVIDSafe Summer restrictions in place and people being asked to physically distance, practise good hygiene and wear a mask when required, Park Rangers will be monitoring the narrow boardwalks and lookouts at the Twelve Apostles. If restrictions are not being maintained, a queuing system for access to lookouts may be implemented.
To support visitors, Park Rangers will be onsite providing information and guidance, physical distancing signage will be installed and cleaning will be increased at toilets and in public areas.
Traffic and road safety changes:
24 December 2020 – 3 January 2021, then weekends through January.
· Roadside barriers: To prevent illegal roadside parking, barriers will be installed along the Great Ocean Road, from approximately 200 metres west of the Twelve Apostles visitor centre to 300 metres east of Gibson Steps, and 200 metres each side of the Loch Ard Gorge carpark entrance.
· Speed limit reductions: To ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers, the speed limit will be reduced to 40kms along the Great Ocean Road, from approximately 200 metres west of the Twelve Apostles visitor centre to 300 metres east of Gibson Steps, and 200 metres each side of the Loch Ard Gorge carpark entrance. The speed limit will rise to 60kms in these locations outside of operational times (approximately 11am-6pm).
· Traffic control: Signage and dedicated traffic control staff will direct vehicles on the Great Ocean Road and in car parks to ensure safe and smooth traffic flow into and around the precinct