Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
The safety of visitors and staff is Parks Victoria’s highest priority.
Following advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer about public gatherings of over 500 people outdoor and 100 people indoors, Parks Victoria has closed a number of high visitation sites for public safety.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, Parks Victoria staff will monitor visitation rates with the possibility of further changes to park closures, pending advice from health authorities.
Currently closed sites
- Accommodation and camping at Tidal River within Wilsons Promontory National Park will be closed from Sunday 22 March, while limiting the number of day visitors from Monday 23 March 2020. Lighthouse accommodation, and remote camping sites throughout the park remain open (subject to normal operational procedures). View the Wilsons Prom frequently asked questions below for more information.
- The Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre and lookouts will be closed to visitors immediately. The carpark and toilets at the Visitor Centre will remain open. Access to the Great Ocean Road and other visitor attractions are currently unaffected.
- 1000 steps/Kokoda Memorial Walk andLyrebird Track in theDandenong Ranges National Park have been closed until further notice.
- The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden and William Ricketts Sanctuary have been closed until further notice
- The penguin viewing platform at St Kilda Pier has been closed until further notice – fencing is now in place along the breakwater preventing access to the penguin viewing platform. The pier remains open.
- Mackenzie Falls in the Grampians National Park will be closed for the duration of term two school holiday period (28 March – 13 April 2020).
- Tours in the Buchan Caves at the Buchan Caves Reserve and tours of the State Coal Mine have been suspended until further notice to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers. The Buchan Caves Reserve and campsite remains open.
- The historic mansion at Werribee(excluding the hotel) will be closed to visitors, but the gardens will remain open.
Other parks may be closed for different reasons, such as bushfire impacts or park management work. Check the change of conditions for the park you plan to visit.
Programs and events
Parks Victoria public programs, including ranger-led school excursions and events, will be postponed for the period from Tuesday 17 March until further notice. This includes school excursions, Junior Rangers activities, Australian Heritage Festival, welcome walks, guided tours, citizen science and Parks Victoria led volunteer programs.
The Department of Health and Human Services publishes public information and advice on coronavirus. This information is updated regularly. Visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 for information and resources.
Why have you closed these sites?
The advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer is to ensure that public gatherings of 500 or more people do not occur. These sites are extremely popular and regularly see over 500 people visiting at one time. Parks Victoria has decided to close these sites as a measure to protect the health of visitors and staff.
How long will they be closed for?
A time frame for closures has not currently been set. Parks Victoria will keep these sites closed until the advice from the Victorian Chief Health Office indicates it is safe for large public gatherings. Until then, Parks Victoria will monitor daily advice from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Is all of Otway National Park / Great Ocean Road closed?
Only the Twelve Apostles viewing area and visitor site is closed. The other sites managed by Parks Victoria along the Great Ocean Road remain open.
Is all of Dandenong Ranges National Park closed?
Only the 1000 Steps, the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden and William Ricketts Sanctuary are affected by closures. All other sites within the Dandenong Ranges National Park remain open.
Why don’t you close all parks in the state?
The advice from the Chief Health Officer refers to gatherings of over 500 people. Parks Victoria has therefore closed sites that receive high visitor numbers. Given many other parks have low visitor numbers they are ideal places to visit, provided visitors take social distancing precautions.
I have a holiday booked and I’m staying in these areas. What do I do now?
There are many other parks across the state that provide an enjoyable visit to nature. Getting into nature is good for mental and physical health. While we encourage everyone to continue to visit, we ask that you put your health and the health of others first. If you have any flu-like symptoms, please follow the guidelines from the Victorian Chief Health Officer and remain at home.
Is my health at risk if I visit other sites that are not closed?
We encourage visitors to follow the health advice provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. Many of our parks are large areas in the open air allowing for reasonable distance between visitors. While we encourage everyone to continue to visit, we ask that you put your health and the health of others first. If you have any flu-like symptoms, please follow the guidelines from the Victorian Chief Health Officer and remain at home.
Wilsons Promontory National Park Information
Is Wilsons Promontory National Park closed?
Wilsons Promontory National Park is not closed, changes apply to overnight accommodation and campsites at Tidal River, opening times for day visitors and to certain amenities across the park, the rest of the park remains open.
What are the impacts to camping and accommodation bookings at Wilsons Prom?
At this time no further bookings will be taken for accommodation and campsites at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park, and all existing bookings will be cancelled and refunded in full. This is effective immediately, so will apply to all bookings for the Easter School Holidays. Bookings to the Lighthouse accommodation and remote campsites remain open at this time.
I am camping at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National this weekend, what do I do?
The local ranger team are advising current guests at accommodation and campsites in Tidal River that they will be required to pack up and leave on Sunday 22 March 2020. We understand that this is inconvenient and frustrating for our guests, but we ask for patience and to work with our team as we enact these changes. There is no need to ask for a refund, these will be processed as soon as possible.
I have a booking at Wilsons Prom after the Sunday 22 March, do I get a refund?
Yes. Parks Victoria is contacting people who have accommodation bookings at Tidal River to arrange full refunds. Affected campers do not need to contact Parks Victoria to receive a refund, however if you wish to speak to someone, please contact Parks Victoria via email at [email protected].
What hours will Wilson Promontory be open?
Wilsons Promontory National Park will be open from 7.00am to 7.00pm for day visitors, with a limit of 1000 day visitors across The Prom each day. All day visitors will be actively encouraged to disperse across the park and beaches and adhere to social distancing guidelines. The last vehicle entry will be at 5pm.
What remote camping sites are at Wilsons Promontory National Park?
- Stockyard Campground – to be closed due to issues with the septic system.
- Wilsons Promontory Lightstation(subject to normal operational procedures).
- Overnight Hike, Southern Section, Halfway Hut
- Overnight Hike, Southern Section, Little Waterloo Bay
- Overnight Hike, Southern Section, Oberon Bay
- Overnight Hike, Southern Section, Refuge Cove
- Overnight Hike, Southern Section, Roaring Meg
- Overnight Hike, Southern Section, Sealers Cove
What visitor services will be available in Wilsons Prom?
- The Visitor Centre building will be closed, but a popup visitor centre will be set up outside.
- The Tidal River Café / Take Away will be closed.
- The Tidal River General Store will be open. Pre-packaged food and sandwiches will be available, but no cooked food.
- The cinema will be closed.
- Key visitor locations including Mt Oberon will be open.
- Toilets and amenity blocks at Tidal River will be open and will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
- The Mt Oberon Shuttle bus will still operate.
Are tourism operators still open in The Prom?
Visitors are advised to check with tourism operators who use The Prom to check availabilities.
How will you stop people staying in the park after 7pm?
Parks Victoria staff will patrol after 7pm and ensure visitors have left the park. Additional contractors may need to be hired to assist with patrols and entry security.
How will you prevent more than 500 people being in parts of Wilsons Promontory at the same time?
Rangers will be on site at the entrance to the park, managing vehicle entries. We will have temporary signage advising of changed conditions. All day visitors will be actively encouraged to disperse across the park and beaches and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
What is the total number of visitors allowed within Wilsons Promontory National Park under these changes?
The total number of day visitors, accommodation and campsite guests, and staff allowed in The Prom at any one time under these changes is 1300 people in line with social distancing guidelines and approval from the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
Parks Victoria Information Centre. Phone 13 1963
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