Works have begun on McGregor Coxall’s masterplan for Shipwreck Coast, a rugged span of coastline along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. McGregor Coxall was engaged by Parks Victoria in 2013 to create a masterplan for 28 kilometres of the coastline – including Port Campbell National Park and Bay of Islands Coastal Park – in an attempt to “protect the region’s extensive natural and cultural assets and region’s extensive natural and cultural assets and provide rich and engaging visitor experiences to support a sustainable tourism industry and the regional economy.” It will also provide an important opportunity for traditional owners to express their connection to country through an extensive process of consultation.

The resulting masterplan was developed in close consultation with both the local community and a multi-agency group led by Parks Victoria and comprising Corangamite Shire, Moyne Shire, Tourism Victoria and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect.

“The Shipwreck Coast Master Plan is a bold and visionary document which aims to protect, enhance and celebrate one of Australia’s most recognisable and visited natural attractions – Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast,” says Lisa Neville, Victoria’s minister for environment, climate change and water.

“The Master Plan will guide investment in facilities and infrastructure over the next 20 years to enhance the liveability of local communities, develop international quality visitor opportunities, and conserve and restore the region’s biodiversity and landscape character. It is the culmination of a five-stage consultation program with local and regional communities, and representatives of the conservation, industry and transport sectors as well as Traditional Owners.”

The first stage of the masterplan concerns the area of coast near the Australian tourism icon, the Twelve Apostles. To balance conservation needs and enhanced tourism infrastructure, McGregor Coxall have designed a new pedestrian bridge over Campbell’s Creek, several walking trails, a replacement lookout for Castle Rock, and a “Twelve Apostles telecommunications, WiFi and digital interpretation platform”.

The Victorian government has set aside $9.8 million towards this first masterplanning stage, which is set to be delivered by 2020.

“This investment is the first step in bringing the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan to life and is being made in recognition of the importance of the Shipwreck Coast for the state’s $21-billion visitor economy,” said the Victorian government in a statement.

Significant future stages of the project include a large-scale set of stairs connecting Loch Ard Gorge to the beach, a new lookout point for the Blow Hole, a Coastal Hinterland Touring Route that connects the region’s “diverse gourmet and landscape experiences”, and a variety of new visitor pods and visitor experience centres along the coastline.