THE Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail will extend a little further along the Surf Coast through a $44.1 million commitment in next week’s State Budget.
The funding includes $23.8 million towards the extension of the trail by more than 40 kilometres, from Fairhaven to Grey River.
It will provide never-before-seen views of the Great Ocean Road and its surrounding coastal and hinterland landscapes with five swing bridges and upgraded facilities.
Another $2 million will also be invested in increasing the capacity for camping on the Surf Coast.
The funding, announced earlier this week, will deliver the first three stages of the project – Fairhaven to Lorne, Lorne to Wye River and Wye River to Grey River (south of Kennett River).
A further $18.3 million over two years will allow the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority to upgrade visitor facilities and infrastructure such as toilets, viewing platforms, trails, beach access and car parking.
The works will also include the installation of smart nodes at key locations along the Great Ocean Road to provide free public Wi-Fi, and sensors for the efficient management of energy and waste collection.
It is anticipated that the extended Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail will attract an additional 50,000 people to the region in its first five years, and an extra $47 million in visitor expenditure.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the Andrews Government was investing to improve the visitor experience right along the Great Ocean Road to get more people out into nature and enjoying the coasts, parks and scenic landscapes that make this area so treasured.
“That means better facilities and places to stay, and ultimately a better experience.”
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said the Great Ocean Road was home to some of Victoria’s most well-known destinations, and the extended coastal trail would welcome thousands of new visitors to the region.
“This investment will allow people to see more of this spectacular coast, create local jobs and drive the region’s recovery from coronavirus.”