Loch Ard Blowhole Lookout
Last updated: September 2023
- Tenders for this project are currently being evaluated. An update is expected during September.
- Works are expected to start on the project later this year.
The Loch Ard Precinct is a large, diverse landscape and coastal environment with multiple destinations and features of visitor interest.
The Victorian Government is investing $8 million to build a new lookout at 'The Blowhole', near the Loch Ard Gorge. The lookout will provide a new visitor experience at this tucked away site, nestled amongst native vegetation.
This project is within the Port Campbell National Park on Kirrae Wurrung country, and the design of the lookout has been led by Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation.
The new lookout design respects the environmental and cultural characteristics of the site. It is subsumed into the landscape and curves around the edge of the blowhole without impeding the symbolic breathing of the whale.
Above: Artist’s impression of the Loch Ard Gorge Lookout, Credit: Denton Corker Marshall
Improved access tracks curate the approach by concealing and revealing views so visitors experience the blowhole and native vegetation from a range of locations.
The former Blowhole Lookout was removed several years ago due to potential visitor risks posed by the natural erosion of the limestone rock. Geotechnical investigations and extensive community and industry engagement have informed the approach for the new Blowhole Lookout.
In addition to this project is the $108.15 million Twelve Apostles Precinct Redevelopment. Being delivered by Regional Development Victoria, this investment will change how visitors experience the region. It will provide streamlined access to nature’s greatest attractions, while protecting the environment and cultural history at this spectacular location.
It will be safer and easier to enjoy the areas’ stunning natural assets, draw domestic and international visitors, and encourage visitors to stay longer, transforming a day visit into an overnight stay in the Shipwreck Coast region. For more information visit: www.rdv.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/twelve-apostles-precinct-redevelopment
Managing Country Together
This project is being delivered on the Traditional Lands of the Eastern Maar.
Parks Victoria is working in partnership with the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) on the project.
Visitors to Victoria’s south-west will have a new view of the dramatic coastline from the ‘Blowhole’ in the Port Campbell National Park. This project will provide a safer and more accessible experience for millions of visitors that will come to this iconic location into the future.
Cultural heritage and environment
The coastal environment of the Port Campbell National Park is spectacular but fragile. The new Loch Ard Blowhole Lookout will ensure the landscape is protected while allowing visitors to enjoy the spectacular view over the blowhole.
Geotechnical investigations and extensive community and industry engagement have informed the approach for the new Blowhole Lookout, mitigating risks posed by the natural erosion of the limestone rock.
Community and economy
This project is part of Stage One of the Shipwreck Coast Master Plan, which is expected to support approximately 120 ongoing jobs, add $12 million to the regional economy and increase the annual visitor spend by $14 million.
The Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) is investing $8 million to build the new lookout, via the Tourism Infrastructure Program. This investment forms part of the $24.5 million investment in Stage One of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan.
Subject to assessments and on-ground and construction industry conditions, works are expected to begin in the second half of 2023 and be completed in 2024/25.
This timeline will be updated with more detail as the project progresses.
Environment and cultural heritage management
This project received a permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and a cultural heritage management plan has been approved by Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. A planning permit has also been received from Corrangamite Shire Council.
Who are we working with?
- Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC)
- Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA)
- Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR)
There are currently no temporary access changes.
During the construction period, we’ll need to close access to a section of the ’Living on the Edge’ walking track near The Blowhole. The works will not impact the other tracks and viewing areas in and around Loch Ard Gorge.
For the latest information on park conditions and any other access changes in Port Campbell National Park, visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/port-campbell-national-park.
- Saddle Lookout
- Shipwreck Coast Master Plan
- Media release September 2022: A new view of our famous Shipwreck Coast
Why is a new lookout being built?
Projects being delivered as part of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan will improve opportunities for visitors and strengthen the local economy, providing employment opportunities through sustainable tourism.
A previous lookout at the Blowhole was removed several years ago due to potential visitor risks posed by the natural erosion of the limestone rock. The new Lock Ard Blowhole Lookout will provide a better experience at this spectacular part of the Port Campbell National Park, improving accessibility, ensuring visitor safety and protecting the fragile environment.
What will the local community experience during construction?
Intermittent road closures will be necessary throughout construction. For the latest information on park conditions and closures in Port Campbell National Park, visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/port-campbell-national-park.
When will the project start/finish?
This is a complex project on challenging terrain. Subject to on-ground and construction industry conditions, the lookout is expected to be completed in 2024.
Was there community consultation on this project?
During 2018, Parks Victoria sought public feedback on the concept designs for the lookout, in addition to another lookout at The Saddle and a pedestrian bridge at Port Campbell.
How are the environment and cultural values being protected during construction?
Environmental controls have been established for this project following permit approval from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. A cultural heritage management plan has been approved by Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. These controls will ensure minimal impact on the surrounding landscape.