Perched in the treetops of Mt Archer, the Treetop Boardwalk and park revitalization conducted by Rockhampton Regional Council and Design+Architecture has ensured that the picturesque mountain-top doesn’t go astray. Capitalising on the location, a local council’s vision has turned a beautiful natural landscape into a go-to picnic, event and tourist locale.
The project's key deliverables include the construction of a new outdoor amphitheater and elevated boardwalk, as well as a playground for children and picnic facilities for those who want to revel in the park’s views. The 200-seat amphitheater plays host to a view of Rockhampton and the Fitzroy River, enabling the community to host weddings, fitness classes and local concerts.
The revitalisation of Mt Archer has resulted in an array of tourists utilising the amenity on offer. Social media has drawn plenty of visitors to the site from afar, boosting tourism numbers and justifying the revitalisation program. Public accessibility and sustainability were also crucial components of the design in order to ensure the space would provide spectacular, disability-accessible views with minimal impact on the natural environment. This was achieved with sweeping pathways and sandstone retaining walls that follow Mt Archer’s existing natural contours and negated the need for any local flora to be removed.
Universal design principles are on show with the elevated boardwalk, that is wheelchair-friendly and non-obtrusive, allowing all visitors to fully immerse themselves within the landscape. The existing terrain has remained intact, with the boardwalk only touching the slope when needed. It weaves through the trees like the Mundagara or Rainbow Serpent (Fitzroy River), that lies at the bottom of the mountain.
The boardwalk offers a range of experiences in each section. Various lookouts and informal gathering spaces provide opportunities where locals and tourists can explore, learn and connect with nature and share the many stories of the local region. The materials have been thoughtfully curated in order to minimise the risk of fire and to increase sustainability and longevity. Concrete was used for the footings, galvanized steel for the balustrades and structure and native ironbark timber for the boardwalk and handrails. To honor the traditional custodians of the land, local indigenous Darumbal art is gently weaved into parts of the balustrading, edged on aluminium and stainless steel.
To complement the amphitheater and boardwalk, a play-based park featuring a range of natural, indigenous inspired play equipment and abundant outdoor seating were also installed, making Fraser Park a true family-friendly destination. A network of inter- connecting concrete walkways provides easy, disability-accessible access to all features of the park including a new, sustainable amenities block, welcome area, and car park facilities. The Rockhampton Regional Council and Design+Architecture have devised a space where tourists can properly take in the surrounding views, while adding infrastructure that allows for an increase in community events that are a drawcard for local residents and tourists from surrounding areas.