New look Tidal River
POPULAR tourist destination Tidal River was finally re-opened to visitors last Friday, much to the excitement of Parks Victoria and Gippsland businesses.
Not only has the campground been restored to its former state following the devastating floods in March this year, it has been greatly improved, with a brand new visitors information centre and fully refurbished eco cabins and lodges.
Member for Morwell and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business Russell Northe officially re-opened Promontory Road into Tidal River in what he described as a “significant day for Wilsons Promontory”.
“The re-opening of Tidal River and the facilities we have here today was impeccable, given the upcoming school holidays when this destination is so popular,” he said.
“It’s not only a popular destination in the perspective of our local Gippsland communities, but there’s also a greater benefit to this region that’s both economic and social.”
Mr Northe acknowledged it had been a tough few years for the national park, as well as the surrounding
“Across Gippsland we’re probably used to it by now; we’ve had to contend with fire, flood, landslips and everything else over the past few years and it’s really tested our resolve,” he said.
“It’s just amazing to see, and this is another example, the resilience of our communities and our ability to work together and provide good outcomes as we have here today.”
Mr Northe also announced a $125,000 grant for Discover Gippsland through the Coalition Government’s $2.5 million Tourism Floods Recovery Program to promote regional tourism.
Discover Gippsland CEO Terry Robinson said while there is still a long way to go before businesses no longer feel the impact of the floods, the grant was a great start.
“That’s a great decision and great amount of resources; we can work with the industry, council and Parks Victoria so that we get the best use of those funds and they’re used effectively for the industry in the long term,” he said, adding the grant would be used to promote the entire region, with focus on Wilsons Promontory.
“It’s a new and improved Prom in many ways. I think the Prom will be a key part of it as well as South Gippsland and what it has to offer.”
Parks Victoria regional manager Chris Rose paid tribute to his staff members, who have worked tirelessly over the past six months to get the campground back up and running, as well as contractors and VicRoads staff.
“So much of what you see here today has not only been replaced and refreshed, but the things you don’t see have as well,” he said.
“All of our power supply, our sewerage treatment plants, our water supply, and all the essential infrastructure and emergency requirements that go towards making this a safe and enjoyable place to visit have had to have work done.”
Mr Rose also announced the opening of a number of walking tracks, including Lilly Pilly Gully, South Normans, Fairy Cove and Tidal Outlooks, as well as Squeaky Beach, which has been repaired ahead of schedule in time for the holidays.
“If people do come here over the next few months, they can be guaranteed to have a great experience,” he said.
“The walking tracks further south will remain closed until we can do some work on them, but we’ll have a series of tracks open Cup Weekend, another series opened for Christmas and another series open for Easter.”
Local business operators attended the reopening, excited for the influx of visitors on their way to the Prom for the holidays.
Joan Morris from Prom Gate Vista Cabins said it had been a “long off peak season”, but said after the reopening announcement, the number of enquiries began to increase.
“Some days I’d walk past the phone and pick it up just to make sure it was still working!” she said.
“But it’s starting up slowly and I think visitors have had a great opportunity to see other parts of the region while Tidal River has been closed.”
Parks Victoria staff were delighted to see campers arrive as early at 9am, with all 17 cabins and around a third of the 250 campsites booked for the holidays.
First through the gate were Ferntree Gully residents Harry and Nanda Roelofs and Noel and Afra Thornhill.
Mrs Thornhill said it was amazing to see some of the landslides along the Promontory Road.
“I don’t think we realised from watching the news how bad it was until you come here and see the damage,” she said.
“But it looks beautiful now, I think Tidal River looks even better than it used to.”
The group said they will definitely come back regularly in the future.
“This isn’t too far away and there’s so much that you can do,” Mrs Roelofs said.
“At the moment there are a number of tracks closed so we’ll have to come back and do the others when they open.”
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