GregR wrote: Not actually sure how you re-route a 30km track to make it a 4 day "experience"
Original they were going to continue the walk to Disaster Bay. The heritage assessment came up with some Aboriginal sites. I think they are still hopeful they can negotiate some extension in the future.
Since the commercials around the potential revenue were probably locked in early to get the approvals, they didn't want to revert to a 3 day walk. The 4th day is suppose to be checking over the historical lighthouse then going up to the Disaster Bay lookout (assume that would be a road bash). The plan also mentions some undefined cultural experience on that day.
The whole walk can be done in a day, I can't imagine stretching it out to 4.
The plan mentions a budget of nearly $8M. I can't see it stacking up as paying its way. I don't see the rational of setting up new camps with hut accommodation (near) Mowarry Point and Hegartys Bay. It would seem a better experience to stay at Saltwater Ck and Bittangabee and less environmental impact. The walk is only 10km per day so staying at Saltwater Ck and Bittangabee gives some more options for relaxation and hanging around. The beach near Mowarry point is ok to swim in good weather (no surf just a tiny beach and don't mind the great whites at the actual Point itself), but it it not that relaxing compared to Saltwater Ck where there is the creek itself to explore, sitting on the dunes in most weather, walking around the extensive rock platforms etc. It seems to be an artificial construct to make the walk feel more remote and for the walkers not to feel ripped off when they realise what they are paying in comparison to simply car camping at SWC and BTB. The cost of supporting 3 full time rangers at the huts (and Green Cape) is just too much. If the walk is not a commercial success the cost of these rangers will impact on the NPWS budget elsewhere. Better in my view to use the existing campsites and extend the successful camp host system.
On the whole the changes just seem to have a commercial feel about them. I think the walk could be promoted with a positive impact on coastal tourism but with less environmental impact setting up new huts.
It is currently a very nice walk and the re-routing plan should make the walk a bit better as it will follow the coast more and pass a few more features. So that is nice.
The main reason it is not widely popular (though I think on average there would be 6-10 walkers on each section now) is it is an 8 hour drive to get there and for most people it is either a 40 or 60km walk retracing steps as there are no transport options at the end unless your group is big enough for a car shuffle. This will be the biggest issue for any promoted "great walk". Will there be a commercial return for providing this service? Otherwise it will die.