Tasmania’s most visited national park is struggling to cope with the influx of visitors, with people being warned of overflowing car parks and delays due to traffic congestion.
Freycinet National Park is a key tourist draw for the state, attracting 272,000 visitors in the last financial year, up from 186,000 in 2011/12.
Parks and Wildlife East Coast parks and reserves manager Donna Stanley said access to the park, particularly Wineglass Bay, has become increasingly congested over the past four years.
December 23 to mid-January and the Easter period are particularly fraught periods, she said.
“This year however, the concentration of visitation has increased through late November and we expect it will not ease until after Easter,” Ms Stanley said.
Ms Stanley said the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) will monitor traffic flows this summer to inform how they manage the influx of visitors into the future.
Additionally, “PWS is currently planning a new track between Richardsons Beach and the Wineglass Bay Tracks car park, which will provide alternate options for accessing the start of the Wineglass Bay walking track.”
PWS took to Facebook this week to warn people to expect delays and congestion between 10am and 2pm suggesting people “consider visiting before 9am and after 4pm when the day is cooler”.
It also said roadside parking is limited due to the narrow roads, and “walking to the Wineglass Bay tracks via the road is not recommended”.
Public comments on the Facebook post suggested implementing a shuttle bus service, similar to that which operates at Cradle Mountain where visitors park further away and are shuttled to the main park access.
Ms Stanley said PWS staff are on hand to help maintain traffic flow through the car park during peak times, and suggested visitors plan ahead to help ease congestion.
“Leave towed vehicles such as caravans and boats outside the park – there is no space for these at the car park and limited space at the Visitor Centre overflow car park or Ranger Creek car park (which is generally used by campers),” she said.
“Car pool with friends and family where possible.”
Failing this, she suggests other locations in the park which are easier to access, such as Cape Tourville, Sleepy Bay, Honeymoon Bay, Richardsons Beach and the Friendly Beaches.
Minister for Parks Matthew Groom was asked for comment.
Source : The Examiner